Air B&B – Hype or Gain?

So being sick at home does have one advantage, I figured. I get time to read alll sort of stuff and articles I otherwise would not have the time to look at.

Today I came across an interesting one on a Hungarian news site – unfortunately it is only in Hungarian (14M Hungarian speakers right on – see here:  Index.hu : Air B&B!) , and since I am originally from Hungary it was not so hard to read.  The content got me pretty much hooked up, as tt explores and offers insights on the reasons why Air B&B is not as popular (in Budapest, Hungary)among real estate owners as it used to be.

Before going into that, let me briefly tell you what Air B&B actually is, hopefully most of you know this already cause if not I would start wondering where you have been living for the past 8 years or so. Anyhow; AIR B&B is a homestay network giving people a  chance to rent out rooms, apartments and the like for a relatively short period of time (whatever your definition of short term is) instead of having to book a hotel room for probably much more money or less privacy during a holiday or a work related stay (read more about it here: Wikipedia Air B&B or here Air B&B Official ).

So practically imagine you listing a room in your own house or your holiday cottage on a web site for people to rent for a few days or week. Would you do it? Would you trust your house to be out there on the internet for people to see, for anyone to rent? I know lots of people would probably be reluctant and just not do it, but in favour of this service I have to say there is a whole identification process through ID / Passport before being able to register, and on top of that the tenants can just say no.

According to the article, Air B&B is facing a drop which will show on a long term rather than in the short term. Owners are usually worried about the value of their property dropping due to misuse and parties. All very valid reasons, I also would never ever rent out my property to strangers on such a short term, but maybe that is just me being skeptical. I can fully understand why the business is dropping, even though I think this might rather be the case in big central cities. On coastal areas people own beach houses and lodges, so I would imagine those are rented out to families with kids (think Fincas in Spain 🙂 ) who usually cause less problems than young bachelors looking for a one night stand in Eastern Countries.

Going forward, lets take a look at the interesting side to me, that of the consumers, in this case that of those booking the places.

I personally have no full experience with Air B&B yet, but I did book 2 apartments already for part of my stay during my next holidays (which I will share once 100% confirmed). I am a bit skeptical about this as I said, and I am the kind of person who would rather travel less but fully pamper herself.. So yes, I like nice dinners and nice hotels. Don´t get me wrong, I would go for a lodge in the middle in the jungle too, but I would extend my encounter with nation to a nice place on the beach afterwards. I would also go to a retreat in some temple for a while, but I wouldn´t go on a “weeks long” backpacking trip. And this really shouldn’t be seen a critique to those doing that, but I need that extra bathroom hygiene. Paranoia and all. But anyway, back to the booking part. We are building a house this year, which, let me tell you, does decrease that travel budget a whole lot, and so I told my husband I was in for the compromise. This, translated, means booking a bit from Booking.com, a bit from LHW and a bit from Air B&B. Fair enough.

To my surprise Air B&B is very easy to navigate you have LOTS of detailed information and it is super easy to communicate with the owners of the apartments. Prices may vary, it all depends on what you are looking for. I think overall it is still less than a hotel, you can even choose for a place with towels, hairdryers and all sort of things a woman can’t really live without. The only problem with the listed prices is that at check out you do get extra costs such as cleaning and booking fees, I wonder why these hidden costs are not calculated in the listed price anyway. I think it would be better to have the listed price being the check out price, and at check out to have the price break down so you can see the split.

Overall I am not sure I would book a holiday entirely through Air B&B, on one hand I like the feeling of being home away from home, but on the other I like to treat myself with a few extras during those days of the year I don´t actually have to work !

So guys, I don´t want to revel too much about my next trips as things are just not fixed yet, but I am very excited and I will for sure write a few words down, might even need some help. Stop 1 is in a couple of weeks!

Please do share your experience with me and let me know how it went, I am very curious and excited at the same time!

Love

xoxo

Pete

ps: don´t forget to check out @thepeteway

Dubai: lost between sand dunes and black gold.

In my almost 30 years old (or young) life I have seen many stunning landscapes, unbelievable architectures, and I´ve met so many people..some happy and some less happy (surprisingly, the poorer the country the more smiles greeted me).

But to be honest, regardless of the many impressions I collected from all around the globe, I was still astonished when I touched down in Dubai: an island of hope in the middle of a deserted place.

The city itself is very modern; I think it probably offers the latest technology in the world.

The looks of it is quite futuristic, many skyscrapers, glass buildings.. like New York .. yes, New York minus the historic buildings.

There are endless options to dine and drink out, many clubs and even more beach clubs. And yes, the shopping possibilities are endless, for prices which I have to say are lower than here in Frankfurt. Dining out didn’t prove to be that expensive either, unless you want to have an alcoholic drink. Alcohol has ridiculous prices, I know all the wines I drank and I can assure you I would pay a quarter of the price here in Europe
🙂 but again, when it comes to wine I can understand, the bottles are sometimes hard to fine and rare, they have to be cooled to a certain temperature (which has to be held constant) and some wines are not always easy to find, plus they have to be imported,  there are high taxes and let´s face it, it is a muslim country..so price (almost) explained right there.

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On top of the Burj Khalifa

I was fascinated by the Fountain show, which I had the pleasure to experience both from the top of the Burj Khalifa and from right in front of it. The first few impressions passed my mind really quickly, but at some point I got lost in the magic, and I started to enjoy what took place in front of me. I stopped thinking, it was like everything else stopped as well. I forgot about all the people around me (and believe me, for someone like me who doesn’t enjoy masses, they were just a little too many people there)..I got lost in the water ´s movement to the rhythm, ironically I can´t remember which song was on, but I think it was something by Enrique Iglesias (though to be honest I am not a big fan of his!). So anyway my point is, if you are in Dubai do go to the fountain.

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View of the Fountain from the top.

I also loved the Aqua World at Atlantis, the Palm. It was lots of fun, but the slides did hit my stomach at some point and I started to nauseate. Just as a note:  I don’t do any weird amusement park games to start with, so I am happy I made this one through.

Ok fine, I didn’t try all the slides. There is one, the Poseidon – or, the free fall, like I like to call it – which I wouldn´t try for all the money in the world. My husband (yes, I have been married for a couple of weeks now – yay) did that one twice! This was partially my fault, as I was supposed to film his fall, but I accidentally pressed something wrong on the phone and it turned off.

The point of the slide is to walk up to one of the highest points of the park (I did the walking up part; it was really worth the view, so do it even if you know you won´t slide!) and then the people responsible for this lock you up in a capsule. After a brief countdown the ground disappears from below you and you just fall, and fall and fall until you land in a pool. Idiotic, I know. I don’t need that kind of adrenaline.

 

Another thing I loveeed about the city was the “old” town.  No skyscrapers there, just workers and probably economically not so advantaged people. But I didn’t care; they were all nice to us.

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Old Town Dubai

The Gold market was very interesting, and so was the Spices market. Just as a side note – handle handle handle! We got ripped off like never before. Usually we are relatively experienced travelers who can handle down prices at local markets. This time we were probably exhausted due to the weather, the many things we have done and the hype the air conditioning gave us. We did go to the market and we did buy a few spices (which I better use soon) – we even bought some nuts and some dates (really not that many) for the astronomical “never again” price of 100€. Yup. So take care people !

 

 

 

We saw so much and the above are just a few of the highlights! Anyhow .. regardless of all the glam and the surreal life, I still wouldn´t live in Dubai. I know lots of people do it for the money, you earn more, spend less and can later on build a whole new life free of debts pretty much anywhere you want.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong in loving the city or wanting to live there, but it is just not me. I could probably bear a maximum of 2 or 3 years working in Dubai, not more.

I need seasons; I need sun, rain, wind and snow. I need a cold Christmas and a warm summer. I want to feel happy to go somewhere warm when in my country we have negative temperatures.

I have the need to sit in my garden, or enjoy a pool without sweating. Walking instead of driving, picking flowers, and fruits from fields. I need fresh air, and green. I need nature around me, mountains, lakes, life. I don’t want to feel that the only thing which really counts is money and I don’t have the need to drive a Lamborghini through the desert (though I probably wouldn’t mind owning one, but then again, somewhere with no speed limit J )

I can´t imagine running from one AC to the next, and even though I loved the glam, I need to be able to go down buy groceries in my pajamas (note: hair, mani and pedi done, but those jogging pants …. Gotta love them!  )

One more thing I missed is history. I love history, I always did. If there´s no nature then I need history. I love old buildings, whether in Colonial or Victorian style, Baroque or Gothic.. I love them all. And I love walking in tiny medieval streets, between bricks and stones. I love local bakeries, walking to get my fresh bread on Sundays and I love cultural preservation.

Moral of the story: Dubai is definitely worth a visit (or two, or three), but it is not the place I would move to if I had a choice. I know for some this might sound harsh, but I guess this is a matter of opinion and taste.

What about you? Did you ever go? If you have any suggestions for my next visit, or any comment you think could change my opinion just share it!

Lots of love xx

Pete