If you have never used Airbnb as an accommodation provider, you really are missing out on some great experiences. I recently enjoyed a one month backpacking trip to Thailand. I booked 27 of my 29 nights of accommodation through Airbnb before I set off for my trip, leaving two nights free so that I could enjoy a bit of flexibility with regards to my travel plans.
This photo was taken on my last day in Thailand where I spent three nights at an apartment which I booked through Airbnb. The lady next to me is Natty. She was one of a small team of locals employed to help run this block of apartments which are hired out to travellers and foreigners, some of whom were long stay guests working locally.
Staying with Airbnb hosts provided me with an opportunity to get to know the local people. In Chiang Mai I stayed with Panote and his mother's partner Noi plus their two dogs Bongo and Pony.
Panote and his wife Natt built two self-contained rooms, both with bathrooms attached, on their property just over a year ago. They advertise only through Airbnb and enjoy hosting a steady stream of guests. Natt works for TomTom Industries in Bangkok but returns home most weekends.
Panote graduated from Chiang Mai University with an engineering degree. He also worked for TomTom Industries up until last year when they opened their Guesthouse. He now juggles running their Guesthouse with two other sideline businesses that he runs from home. He repairs and installs CCTV cameras plus does shoe repairs for locals. They hope that one day Natt will be able to give up her job in Bangkok, along with the 11hour commute each way, and help run their guesthouse.
In Ayutthaya I stayed at the Chommuang Guesthouse which is run by Mary and her husband Jay.
I arrived in Ayutthaya at around 7pm after a 10 hour train ride from Chiang Mai. It was raining very heavily but as I got out of my taxi outside the guesthouse, I was greeted by Mary who was standing on the footpath with her umbrella open, waiting to walk me inside and help me with my backpack. I was blown away by this selfless gesture.
Their guesthouse has only been open for 9 months. Jay is an engineer and he planned and oversaw the conversion of their two family homes into a 9 room guesthouse. This was a 10 month project for them. Prior to running the guesthouse Mary worked for an import / export company. She had worked for this same employer for 20 years. As a part of her role, she communicated with customers all over the world and slowly developed basic skills in a number of languages which comes in really handy now as she hosts foreign travellers from all around the globe.
Their guesthouse offered hire bicycles for only 50 baht per day as well as a laundry service which was incredibly cheap. It cost me 70 baht to have a large bag of clothes washed and dried. This is equivalent to about $3.
Mary introduced me to her brother Willie who owns and runs a guesthouse just two blocks away. Willie was keen to chat and tell me about all the local attractions. I got the impression that he has been like a mentor to Mary and Jay as they work on developing their new business.
During my final days in Thailand, I had booked to stay in an apartment complex in Bangkok which was owned by a New Zealander. On meeting Grant, we chatted and soon realised that we shared common friendships with people back in New Zealand. Not just one person, but several.
Together with two Thai business partners, Grant leased a block of apartments, spent almost a year renovating them and now rents them out through Airbnb and Booking.com. Grant loves the lifestyle this affords him and the fact that he is able to provide employment opportunities for their small team of cleaners and receptionists.
These are just some of the many experiences I enjoyed through booking my accommodation through Airbnb. I have previously stayed at 4 and 5 start hotels where I was treated well by hotel staff, but those experiences just don't compare with what I experienced in Thailand booking through Airbnb. Knowing also that you are contributing towards helping local people gain financial independence was a huge plus for me.
If you are considering travel in the future, or would like to earn some extra income through renting out a spare room or your whole home, then read the article listed under this website's Create Income page. If you click through and sign up on the link provided then you may qualify for a $45 travel credit.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and yes, at the end of my trip I added up all my accommodation costs and for 29 nights they came to a total of $535 Australian Dollars, which works out at an average of $18.50 per night and that included Airbnb's processing fees.
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