Why Using Airbnb To Go To The Super Bowl Was The Best Decision I've Ever Made

martha house in indianapolisThe room I booked through Airbnb

Photo: Tony Manfred/Business Insider

Airbnb is this thing where people rent out their houses or apartments for short periods of time.So when BI decided to send me to the Super Bowl long after all the hotel rooms in Indianapolis had been gobbled up, it seemed like a perfect option.

Airbnb is one of those “sexy” start-ups that has raised boatloads of cash. But not everyone has had such a great experience using it. SAI reporter Matt Lynley tried to use the site when he first moved to New York, and it was an utter disaster.

As is the case with sites like Ebay or Craigslist, the quality of your Airbnb experience probably comes down to how lucky you get with the seller. Lynley got burned, and his experience was terrible.

On the other hand, I lucked out, and as a result my travel experience to Indianapolis was more pleasant than I ever could have hoped.

Learning how to navigate the website was simple, and it didn't take me too long to find a place once I got browsing

Like a lot of people, I leave any website that takes me more than 60 seconds to figure out how to use.

But Airbnb was generally simple. The one drawback was that the bolded title of each listing was often misleading (pretty much every one had 'INDY' and 'SUPER BOWL' in it even if the place was located outside Indianapolis).

But other than that, it was easy to click through and find a place.

Eventually, I settled on a place that cost $200 per night. It seems like a lot, but seeing as some hotel rooms 20 miles away were going for $400+, I'd call it a steal.

My eventual landlord confirmed my purchase after just 16 minutes

I booked my trip on Jan. 23 -- less than two weeks before the Super Bowl -- so I was stressed out that I wouldn't be able to find a room in Indy.

Luckily, I booked the room at 5:31 p.m., and by 5:47 p.m. my landlord had confirmed my purchase.

Boom! Just like that I was ready to go

But that doesn't mean I wasn't worried about some stuff: Worry #1: Would my room suck?

The place I rented had pictures online, but could I really trust them?

Nope, the room was big enough and had a desk so I could get some work done

The room was nice. Wood floors, a huge bookshelf, and big comfy bed.

It didn't have a TV, and there was no room service, but overall I'd say it was better than staying in a hotel room.

Worry #2: Would it be awkward if I came home late?

Like a lot of people in Indy, my landlords rented out one of their guest rooms for the weekend.

So I was staying downstairs while they were upstairs.

But I was planning on covering the Super Bowl weekend party scene. So would it be annoying when I stumbled in late on Friday and Saturday night?

Nope, I was paying the big bucks, so I came and went as I pleased

This is Hot Dog the cat. He hung out on the porch the whole time and eyed me up every time I came home at night.

I came and went as I pleased, not really disturbing anyone.

Worry #3: Would the people be weird?

Nope, they were super friendly and we even went out for drinks on my last night

I imagine this isn't the case for a lot of Airbnb customers.

But I lucked out. If the people I was staying with weren't as friendly, my trip could have very well been a disaster.

I saved a lot of money on food

My landlord's fridge was fully stocked.

For breakfast everyday I had a bagel, which saved me the money I would have spent on Starbucks or whatever had I stayed downtown.

There was also a bunch of beer in the fridge, which was nice.

I was staying three miles out of downtown, which ended up being a plus, not a minus

I was anxious that I was staying out of the downtown hub of Super Bowl weekend.

But staying further out let me experience what Indy was actually like. There was a free shuttle five minutes away that I took into downtown. It was quieter and less hectic out where I was staying. And there was a cool, quirky Mass Ave. neighbourhood with bars and shops right around the corner.

I could check in and out when I wanted to, which came in handy when my bag got lost

I had to wait at the airport an additional two hours when I got there because my bag took a two-hour detour. But it didn't matter because I didn't have a set check-in time.

The same thing held true for the day I left -- no rushing out of the room early in the morning.

Overall: I'd recommend it, but it's still riskier than getting a hotel

I had a great experience.

But I wouldn't say it was typical.

If my room was further from downtown, or my landlords were grumpier, it all could have turned out differently.

My advice: Use it for when you want the local flavour that a hotel can't provide. But be sure to check out the reviews of your seller before you book your trip.

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