Airbnb-ing is an awesome way to travel. It’s cheap, efficient, and you can learn a lot from your host about the local area (sometimes they’ll even knock back a bottle of wine with you).
All that being said — as with any travel —rookie mistakes can and will happen. This week, let’s talk about how important it is to set a clear arrival plan with your host beforehand. To drive this point home, we’re going to take an extra special trip down memory lane just for you.
Warning: Extreme awkwardness to follow
Picture this: It’s a hot, Italian afternoon. Sweltering hot. Like so hot you’re at risk of turning into a human puddle. And you just hiked halfway up a mountain to get to your Airbnb.
You’re standing uncertainly in the courtyard of what Google Maps tells you is your new accommodation. There are two buildings: A big, mansion-like one…and a one-roomed stone ediface that looks a bit like a goat hut.
You booked the goat hut, because chronic cheapskatedness is for real.
Another side effect of chronic cheapskatedness is that you opted not to pay for an international SIM card, so you have no way of contacting your host—but you’re not quite sure what to do next now you’re here.
You double-check your arrival instructions. Nothing. Just the address of the goat hut.
“Hey, Fi.” Your sister taps you on the shoulder. “The door is open.”
You turn to follow her gaze, and she’s right. The door of the goat hut is indeed slightly ajar. What’s even more promising is that there’s a big iron key in the keyhole.
“Do you think she left it open for us?” Your sister sounds uncertain, but you’re a more confident kind of gal.
“Must have,” you say, and barrel in to throw down your rucksack and flop like an overcooked haddock on the little bed.
Your sister seems to have preserved more energy than you, so she closes the door, strips down to her sports bra, and begins pulling wads of paper towels from the holder on the counter. She stuffs one handful under her left armpit, and begins using the other handful to pat herself dry.
The door creaks open, and you both turn towards it while time seems to move in slow motion.
Evidently not expecting anyone to be inside, your host has opened the door and is frozen like a deer in headlights — staring at your half-naked sister and her wads of sweaty paper towels.
There’s an awkward silence, then your host turns and starts running away. Yes, actually running.
“No, wait!” Your sister gives chase, still gripping the paper towels.
“Wait! You can come in! It’s okay.” She’s flapping her arms wildly as she disappears from view, running across the courtyard after your alarmed host.
You’d have been perfectly fine with never seeing either one of them again, but your sister wins the chase and reappears in the doorway with a very anxious looking Italian woman in tow.
The woman is pointedly avoiding looking at either one of you, so her introduction is addressed to the wall slightly to the left of your head.
“I did not know you arrived,” she says. “I did not expect you to just come in.”
And that, my dear travel friends, is why you should always, always have a clear arrival plan in place.
P.S We’ll have our complete guide to glampacking Italy coming your way soon, so stay tuned!