During our trip to the USA we realized that Airbnb in the USA is different from Airbnb in Europe. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that the accommodations we chose were the ones where these differences were noticeable. Anyway, we were a little surprised at the beginning, but then came to the realization that Airbnb in the U.S. is probably just different.
Here's what our Airbnb experience was like in Europe
We like choosing Airbnb because we love meeting the locals. We like to talk a few words with them, let them give us some insider tips and tell them a little bit about us. During our stays here in Europe, for example in Horsens, it was also like this.
Most of the time we were personally welcomed by our hosts or even picked up from the train station. Everywhere we were greeted with small welcome gifts in the form of snacks or sweets. On the one or other occasion, we have also brought chocolates or left a small gift to say goodbye. Often, after leaving, I had the feeling that I hadn't just stayed at someone's house, but had met nice, warm people.
This is different with Airbnb in the USA than in Europe
Because of these positive Airbnb experiences in Europe, we decided to stay in this type of accommodation in the US as well. Before we left, we bought some chocolate from Germany to give to our hosts.
But already the check-in was quite different everywhere in the USA. We were not personally greeted, but were given instructions in advance to check in on our own for all accommodations, regardless of city. Sometimes it was the code for a key box, sometimes it was the code for the keyless door lock.
On the one hand, this was good, because we were completely flexible about our arrival time. We did not have to worry about delays etc. because we knew that no one was waiting for us. Then in the Airbnb app, I simply indicated that we had checked in and that's how the host knew we had arrived.
Hardly any contact with the hosts
At the beginning, in the first accommodation, we still expected that we would get to know the host personally at some point. Just as we knew it from Europe. However, as time went on, we realized that this probably wouldn't be the case. The contact was limited to a few messages via the Airbnb app, because we had some questions.
That's how it was in the next accommodations as well, even though the descriptions said "as much or as little contact as the guest wants"." Well, we had expected more contact, but in the end it didn't matter to us. We saw the lack of contact as a respect for our privacy, which wasn't so bad.
For many hosts in the USA Airbnb is a business
Of course, as an Airbnb host, you want to make money. This is the case all over the world. But in the US I had the feeling that more hosts than in Europe make a big business out of it. And rent out their rooms, apartments and houses in a big way. We've stayed in Airbnb accommodations in the U.S. that were more like a hostel than an apartment in some cases, and even though the description said "my apartment".
However, we have also stayed with someone directly in the house in which he actually also lived. He also rented only this one room, so it was not a huge business. If we had stayed longer than two nights, we would have met him in person and then we could have given our chocolate to someone.
The chocolate from Germany accompanied us on our whole trip to the USA until the last day. Before we left for the airport, we gave it to a homeless man…
Meeting the locals after all
If you do want to meet the locals, you could book a discovery through Airbnb. These are tours or activities that locals offer. It's a great way to see a city or neighborhood from a local's perspective, rather than as a tourist. Although we didn't use it, I think this option is pretty cool.
Here in Europe there is already that, but I have the feeling that in the USA there is generally a larger selection of activities, because simply more people join in. It's the same with the restaurants you can book through Airbnb.
My conclusion about Airbnb in the USA
Even if it was different than expected or previously used, it was not necessarily worse. In the U.S., there is generally more choice when it comes to accommodations, discoveries and restaurants that can be booked through Airbnb.
Also the independent check-in by means of number codes is actually quite relaxed, because you are more independent and just more independent. The next time we travel through the USA, we will definitely stay in Airbnb accommodations again. But we leave the chocolate at home. 😉
Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb accommodation in the USA? Did you also notice differences to other countries?