First time for everything: Airbnb

Air bed and breakfast aka Airbnb is an online market place where people rent out entire homes or rooms for a set price. I’ve always heard about Airbnb and decided to use the company as a cheaper alternative to hotels during my trip to Nashville and Memphis, TN.

I have heard various stories about African Americans being discriminated against while attempting to rent out a room. For example they would request a room,  and the host would respond and say the room is unavailable. The person would then ask a friend of a different race to request the same room and somehow the room became available. As a result of the discrimination, Innclusive formerly  known as Noirebnb was created by Zakkiyah Myers and Rohan Gilkes.

Due to hearing about discrimination on Airbnb, I decided to look for African American host when choosing a place to stay. While searching on Airbnb I looked for location, price and positive reviews. You can send private messages to your host if you have questions about the property, check in etc. Host usually respond quickly. If it is your first time using Airbnb please use this code www.airbnb.com/c/tiffanyh5 for a discount.

I told my mother that I would be staying at a Airbnb for the first time and my host was male. She immediately became panicked and questioned the safety of staying with other people. However, I felt very safe in each location. Below is my experience with each host.  

I arrived in Nashville Tennessee at approxmiately 11:30 pm, my host lived about 25 minutes from the airport. My host Derrick text me and informed me he had a early morning and would leave the key under the mat. I arrived at the location but it was difficult to find the house number because it was not located on his mailbox and it was dimly lit area. I eventually found the address and the key was indeed under the mat. The room I stayed in was very basic  and good for one night. It was a child’s room with a bunk bed.  I assume that maybe the host had children who come over on the weekends. I make this assumption because I did not hear any children while staying the night but saw toys and bikes at the home. I heard my host getting ready for work but never had the opportunity to met him face to face. The cost of the room was $39.00 a night.

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My second airbnb was in a residential location with a majority of the neighborhood being African American from what I observed while driving down the street. Before arriving, the host sent me a text informing me that the key was under the mat. I loved the decor, it was very artsy and I loved the various colors throughout the room. I later discovered the host is an artist and painted the art in the room. The room was big enough for a bed and couch. I loved the couch because it felt like I had a living room inside of the bedroom. On the table near the bed, the host left a letter with detailed information about things to do in the city. In addition the other note talked about the WiFi, use of kitchen, bathroom etc. While reading about the home, I was told there was a pit bull named Sasha that enjoys cuddling. I knew there would be dogs in the house but I was not aware of the breed of dogs. After telling her I was afraid she agreed to keep Sasha in the room during the remainder of my stay. In addition I failed to print out my Grey Hound bus ticket. The host agreed to print out the ticket and placed it on the kitchen table. I also left my phone charger and the host has agreed to send it via postal mail. The cost of the room was $67.00 a night.

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My third Airbnb was located near downtown Memphis, TN. Most people cautioned me about the neighborhood but I’m glad I stayed at this location. One side of the street is the projects (low income subsidized apartments) and the other side where I stayed was town homes. I arrived and the host Kenneth informed me that the door was open and the key was on the kitchen counter. The house was very cozy and also had art throughout the home. I had my own bedroom and bathroom. I was allowed to have access to the kitchen and laundry room. As a result  of accidently leaving my phone charger at Airbnb #2,  Kenneth offered to drive me to Walgreen’s to purchase a iPhone charger.  After wards he gave me a mini tour of Memphis pointing out various land marks such as the local college, Beale Street, museums, churches etc. The only thing I did not care for, was the cameras located in the hallways of the home. Other than that I loved the location and loved the host. He went above and beyond as a host! I would recommend his home to other guest! The cost of the room for two nights $167.

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This was my first time using Airbnb and I was pleased with my host and accommodations. It is definitely  a cheaper alternative to a hotel and you feel like a local instead of a visitor. Also if you have a spare bedroom, you should consider renting out a room on Airbnb or Innclusive to earn extra income and meet with other people.

37 Comments

  1. Like the cray cray I am, my first time dealing with AirBNB was -out- of the country. lol However, I had no problems. I ended up doing AirBNB in Mexico City, Cancun, Toronto, Colombia, and some cities in the US. I don’t think I faced any discrimination although -one- time in Toronto seemed to have some shady business. Maybe I was just blessed. Glad you got to experience it for yourself!

    CJ | thirty30courtney.com

    • You are not crazy, just adventurous. lol. Oh no, shady business!? I’m glad you made it out if Toronto Okay. Those sound like excited destinations. I cant wait to try internationally, it seems like they would be nicer in those destinations vs. stateside. Yes you are blessed to have traveled so many places, as you know some people never travel outside the city!

  2. These all look like cute places! The kids room was kinda cute, but my back and a bunk bed? Probably wouldn’t go well for more than one night. I loved the artwork in the last two spots. So nice of him to show you around. Very cool!

    • The kids bunk bed wasn’t to bad (a little creaky as most are) but then I only spent one night. Yes I thought it was cool that the host was artist themselves and used that to decorate the rooms. I’m so glad he showed me around because its nice to at least put a real face to the person you are staying with.

  3. Girl! Good for you! I am such a scaredy cat! I wouldn’t be comfortable just staying at someone else’s house. If I ever need to rent a room on the cheap, I’m going to encourage my friends from out of town to rent me out a room at their place, lol! I’ve heard a lot of great things about it, but it would take a lot of nerve pills for me to get used to it.

    • LOL, I’m a scary cat when it comes to certain situations as well. The good thing is that some host allow you rent out the entire house. Yes I rather stay at a friends house, I always look to see who I may know in the city before booking a room. Do it, just for the experience! Make one of your friends try it with you and split the cost.

    • Def give them a try. I specifically looked for African Americans to avoid the discrimination I have been hearing about. Although there is the possibility of something happening I mostly hear positive reviews. If something is wrong they are able to refund your money. Give them a try, let me know if you need the link for a small discount.

  4. I would love to give this a try. My family would probably die, though. I hosted an exchange student for about 10 months back in 2010 and was very pleased with than outcome. My family thought I was crazy but eventually ended up loving the young lady. I love adventurous tries! Thanks for sharing!

    • Nice, my aunt just had an exchange student but only for the weekend. She was trying to encourage me but I said I’m not sure. Did you feel obligated to hang out or do stuff all the time with her? Glad it turned out well. My mom was scared as well but since it went well this time, hopefully she will be less nervous next time. Same for your family, they will be ok. LOL I’m way more adventurous while traveling then when at home.

  5. I’m glad you had a good first experience with Airbnb! I’ve had all good experiences even though I’ve heard about the discrimination others have experienced.

    • Do you know anybody personally that has faced discrimination. I was talk to other people on Facebook who say they only know of people with positive experiences and the discrimination piece was blown out of portion. Not sure if its any truth to that statement or not.

  6. Wow!! I’ve been so nervous about trying out AirBNB, but I’m so happy to hear that you had so many excellent experiences using the service!! I think I’ll wait for Innclusive to come around, but that second house with the DOPE paintings may make me change my mind! LOL

    • I’m so glad you came to check out the blog post! I was a tiny bit nervous but felt comfortable after the first house. When you try Innclusive, let me know about your experience! I know that was my first thought when I walked in “this room is dope”

  7. I’ve never used AirBnB…I hadn’t heard about the discrimination either. So Sad! Glad you had a nice time…I loved the art work in the locations you stayed in especially the middle finger. I probably wouldnt have it up in my house but I loved it!!! LOL!!

  8. This is my first time hearing of an Air BnB. Wow! I would be so nervous to try this, but I think this is a great alternative to staying in a hotel. I am glad your experiences went well. I don’t think I would like the cameras being in the halls (3rd home in Memphis), either. That would bother me, too.

  9. I’ve never used a BnB but I am curious about them. I love the decor or BnB #2, that is so my style. Glad to know you had a great experience. They must be really safe to leave the keys under the doormat.

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