Airbnb-d

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I’ve always known of Airbnb to be an enjoyable experience. It’s the idea of couch surfing taken up a notch. Beautiful homes owned by friendly hosts generous enough to share their neighborhood with you.

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Coming back from our DC trip, Vergs and I made our way back to Virginia without a place to stay. All hotels were booked, even the ones inside the Naval base – trust me, we called them all. 

We were nearing the acceptance of possibly having to spend our second to the last night in the car until we thought about Airbnb. 

Isn’t it short notice though? We’ll be in Virginia in the next 2 hours.

It’s worth a shot. Also, we have no other options.

Okay.

While Vergs drove, I set out hunting for the right place. Too small, looks scary, too far from the base, too expensive… I narrowed our options and set out to message each of them, praying that they’d get back to us in the next 30 minutes. Two declined – one was out of town, and the other couldn’t accommodate the last minute request. We understood, it was way too much to ask anyway. 

We were down to our last option. And fortunately, he said yes. All he asked for was an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour to get the room ready. Honestly, we were too grateful. Had he asked for 2 hours, we would’ve probably still said yes. 

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Something was wrong with the Airbnb website though. For some reason, we couldn’t get through to the confirmation part. We spent almost 2 hours in the NEX parking lot, calling Airbnb’s customer service, restarting the app, and checking the page, but it still wasn’t working. Finally, after 3 grueling calls and a platter of sushi – we got hungry in the car – our confirmation went through and we were on our way!

We had the most amazing host who made us feel right at home the very second we got in. One step into the house and Vergs and I were flabbergasted. Candles were lit up, scents of pumpkin spice and cinnamon were in the air – what a pleasant welcome!

Mark, our host, had such a knack for having people over that he’s actally prepped with all the essentials. Welcome message in a frame, travel-sized toiletries, candy, and a wifi password – check and check! I vaguely remember him telling us that he just had a guest check out the day we checked in. Guess that means his pad’s a goldmine for anyone looking for a room in Virginia.

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Since Vergs serves in the US Military, we got the Military Special rate of just $50 a night. If you aren’t enlisted, don’t worry, the rate’s still great considering the amenities and Mark’s amazing hospitality. I think the regular rate’s priced at $60 per night.

For more information, click here for Mark’s Airbnb listing.

On the way, I remember telling Vergs that our host had three dogs. Three Italian Greyhounds to be exact. Vergs isn’t that keen on dogs, so it took a bit of begging on my end for him to agree. 

We arrived, met Finn, Zippy, and Jackson, and fell in love. They’re all rescued Italian Greyhounds with so much love to give that I completely understand why Mark couldn’t resist and ended up adopting his rescues for himself. 

Forgot to take photos of Mark’s beautiful babies. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to return to Virginia and stay with them again.

To be honest, I don’t know what to be more amazed with: Mark’s many roles or his beautiful abode. 

He dabbles in interior design by day, manages a restaurant at night, serves parent to three beautiful rescue dogs, and still squeezes in time to entertain as a regular host in Airbnb. His time management skills must be off the charts, because during my short stay at his place, never once did he seem stressed nor agitated. 

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Taken from Mark’s Airbnb profile:

I also provide a continental type breakfast EVERY morning of your stay! Bagels, danish, muffins, yogurts, assorted fresh fruits (seasonal), coffee, teas, juices, etc. I want you to feel welcomed! Feel like cooking your own breakfast? SURE! The kitchen is open for your use!

True enough, we had a pretty heavy breakfast spread. Vergs and I were full from the danishes alone. It was such a salivating sight seeing all the other options on the platter. 

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And I guess that’s one of the things I love about Airbnb. It’s about the generosity of strangers opening up their homes to friends they’ve yet to meet. It’s about telling guests to feel at home at your place and meaning it. If you want orange juice, there’s a carton in the fridge. You need a hairdryer? Let me go upstairs and let you borrow mine.

It’s about making friends and understanding the value of respect. It’s about treating people the way you’d want to be welcomed if you were in their home. That means putting away your own dishes even if you’re the guest, because you’re staying with a friend – not a nanny. 

Most of all, it’s about trust. Someone who doesn’t know you has graciously opened his door and given you a place to stay for the night. They’ve given you consent to raid their fridges and to use their bathrooms – so take only what you need, say thank you, and clean up after yourself.

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They say that a person’s house serves as his/her very own comfort zone. The fact alone that someone has welcomed you – a complete stranger no less – as a guest is courageous, generous, and an act of great humanity. 

Well done, Airbnb. The idea behind your company is brilliant.