my first airbnb experience

Recently, I wrote about Airbnb and what it’s all about.  

Then, I did a side-by-side comparison of hotels vs. Airbnbs for those who aren’t familiar.

I’m happy to say after years of only staying at hotels during my vacations, I finally booked my first Airbnb and I’m so glad I did!

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I was very happy with my Airbnb lodging choice. My hostess was very laid back, accommodating, and responsive before, during and after my stay.  I had a few questions before I arrived and we were able to communicate securely through Airbnb’s email service.

Since I was traveling alone and my plans were pretty fluid, I contacted Jackie to find out what time I needed to check-in. She said that there was no specific check-in time (*check-in policy varies by host) and asked that I give her an hour advance notice so either she or her husband could let me in.

As it turned out, once I arrived in Charleston, I decided to explore the downtown historic area for the afternoon, then head to the Airbnb at the end of the day.  I texted Jackie and told her my plans and asked if that would work for her. She told me she had dinner plans and wouldn’t be home when I arrived, but she would leave me a key.

After a full day of exploring, I made the 20 minute drive to North Charleston.  The house was located in a quiet residential area, set back far from the main road.


As I walked up to the house, I began to hear loud barking.  I wasn’t surprised since her listing mentioned that she had two dogs (and two cats).  The key was where she said it would be and I let myself in.

Although one of the dogs sounded scary, I knew from reading the reviews of Jackie’s listing that both dogs were friendly, so I chalked it up to them being good guard dogs.  

Once inside, I met the dogs: Knox was easily befriended after a quick sniff of my hand and let me pet him right away; however, Stella was much more hesitant. They both followed me upstairs and hung out in the hall outside my room.  Although Stella had stopped barking at me, she refused to let me pet her. Instead, she laid on the floor outside the bathroom, refusing to make eye contact.

The Bedroom

The room was exactly as pictured and described in the listing: there was a beautifully made bed with nice linens, plenty of pillows, and an extra blanket and set of towels placed on the corner.

The closet had a dresser inside in case visitors wanted to unpack their things. There were also books and other goodies.

The Bathroom

The bathroom was really clean; it almost looked like no one had ever used it. I was tired pretty tired after a long day of walking around and wanted to take a bath; however, I was a hesitant since I had (mistakenly) booked a room with a shared bathroom.

If anyone came home, I didn’t want to be walking around the house in my towel.  My exhaustion won out and I decided to risk it, After soaking in the tub for a bit, I felt MUCH better.

Airbnb - North Charleston, SC

I climbed into the comfy bed and settled in for the night with my laptop, caught up on a favorite TV show, made some plans for the next day, and called it a night.

The next morning, I heard the hostess downstairs, so I got up, dressed, and went down to the kitchen to meet her.  She was very friendly and welcoming.  We chatted for quite awhile (nearly 2 hours!) and got to know each other.

When we chatted, I was happy that Stella came over to me several times, put her head in my lap, and let me pet her. She’s a rescue dog, which explains her initial apprehension around strangers.

I also met her other pets – two cats – an orange tabby with a white mustache named Pierre and a fluffy multicolored cat whose name I forgot (Doh!).

My Airbnb hostess had to leave for work before I was ready to leave and asked me to lock up and leave the key for her.  I packed up my things, said goodbye to the animals, locked the door, and hid the key.

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After my first experience, I will definitely stay at Airbnbs on future trips.

One of the cool things about Airbnb is that both the guest and the host get to review each other after the stay is complete.  This double-check system is great for both parties:

  • Guests get insights into what other guests have experienced at each listing
  • Hosts learn about a potential guest’s conduct at other Airbnbs, allowing them to decide whether or not they want to welcome them into their home

While it can be a little uncomfortable or weird staying in someone else’s place, especially the first time, I think it all depends on how you approach it.  The key is to be respectful of the host(s) and their home.  Once you break the ice, your stay might be even better than you hoped!

One of the cool things about Airbnb is that both the guest and the host get to review each other. Click To Tweet

Aside from the financial benefits, I think most hosts genuinely like meeting and learning about people from all over and want to help make their stays as enjoyable as possible.  They will also interact as little or much as their guests wish.

Will my next – and all future Airbnb stays – be as good as this one?  Maybe, maybe not.  

But not knowing is all part of the travel experience, isn’t it?!


Have YOU ever stayed at an Airbnb?  If so, how did you like it?  
Share your experience in the comments below.


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