Since Dave is rarely able to take off time from work to travel, we focus our vacation planning around extended weekend vacations. Nashville has been on our radar for a while because it is within manageable driving distance from Chicago, which makes it a very budget-friendly vacation. Since we didn’t have plane tickets to book, the main planning we did in advance for our weekend trip to Nashville was for our lodging.
We decided to use Airbnb for stress-free, affordable lodging. It was my first time using Airbnb, so I was a little nervous, but it ended up being a great experience. If you’re not familiar with Airbnb, the concept is easy. Hosts offer up a room (or maybe even a spare couch) available for you to rent for x number of days. Travelers may select homes using filters based on location, dates, price, number of guests, and room type preference. It’s an awesome way to feel more like a local and less like a tourist when visiting a new place.
Set Up a Profile
Before browsing Airbnb, I needed to set up my profile. I uploaded a picture of myself, and wrote a profile that would paint a picture of my personality to future potential hosts. It’s important to give your host an idea of what your personality is as a traveler. Are you an early-to-bed-early-to-riser or a night owl? Do you prefer hanging out/exploring the city with your host or do you prefer to do your own thing? Do you plan on bringing a pet or a small child on your travels? All of these criteria are important to mention because it will help your host get to know who will be staying in their home. The profile is especially important to be completely filled out when you first start using Airbnb because you don’t have any credibility yet; you could be a crazy person for all anyone knows! I know I definitely considered the hosts’ profiles when making a decision on which Airbnb to stay at for our long weekend trip to Nashville. Hosts definitely consider the same when choosing who to welcome into their homes.
You might be asking, “Is Airbnb safe?” or “How do I know my host isn’t a crazy person?” Airbnb has an awesome review system, which is a great way to find out if your host checks out. After setting up my profile, I read so many reviews. Too many. I noticed that a lot of reviewers tend to veer high in the five-star rating, so I realized that a three-star review probably means the experience was less than savory. It was comforting to see all of the positive reviews of the homes open in Nashville, which left me with a ton of tried-and-true options from which to choose.
On the flip side, hosts can also read reviews that other hosts have left about you. Obviously, since I had just started an Airbnb account, I didn’t have any of that credibility yet because no one had ever left me a review. Airbnb has you covered, though. I synced my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google accounts to Airbnb to help prove my not-a-crazy-person identity. I also had the option of requesting character references from friends who are already using Airbnb. I had a huge list of friends to choose from, which were picked up after I synced my Facebook account. I requested references from friends, but I didn’t end up receiving any in time for my first Airbnb booking. Still, it’s great that there are so many options to help both hosts and travelers alike feel safe using Airbnb.
Once I filled out my profile (I may have taken it way too seriously and included ~critical~ information, such as my favorite musical & favorite food), it was time to start browsing for a place to stay. After playing around with the filters, we found an adorable little home about a 15-minute drive north of downtown Nashville. Since we would be driving, this was the perfect match for us. Once you find a spot you would like to stay, the next step of the process is to press the “book” button. From there, the host will review your request message. Barring any red flags or availability changes, the host will approve your request and your credit card will be charged. After confirmation, your host will also tell you the exact address information. You can also communicate with your host via Airbnb to coordinate arrival details. I downloaded the Airbnb app, which made communication with our host even easier. I communicated with our host regarding our exact arrival time, and our host told us where we could find the key to the house.
We were able to snag a room in a cozy home with a super soft bed for only $39 a night. Such a steal! There may or may not have been a surprise bird living in the house that the hosts forgot to mention in their posting. 😉 But that did not detract from our experience at all. Our host gave us a few great restaurant recommendations to get us started, and gave us the space to get ready for bed. Dave and I are active travelers, so we had big plans for our long weekend in Nashville. Our Airbnb provided us with exactly what we needed for our weekend trip to Nashville: a safe, comfy bed, a place to shower, and an affordable price tag.
After our long weekend in Nashville with Airbnb, we checked out by leaving the keys on the table (as discussed with our post), and it was time to write a review. Airbnb will send you a reminder email that it’s time to leave feedback for your host. So, we logged into Airbnb to write a a positive review while our host did the same. And that was it! Staying in Airbnb for our long weekend trip to Nashville made our stay easy and affordable.
Dave and I had such a positive experience with our Airbnb weekend trip to Nashville that we plan to book our lodging through Airbnb for our next trip to Spain next month. Have you ever used Airbnb? What has your experience been?