I love my own personal space and privacy to the extent that I think it might even be a problem.
So the idea of staying in an Airbnb has never taken my fancy. I’m turned off by the idea because I wouldn’t want someone coming into my house and making themselves at home. And visa versa makes me feel just as awkward.
Recently I was given the opportunity to cast my doubts aside and try it on a trip was to Port Douglas, in far northern Queensland, courtesy of Airbnb.
I can honestly say I wouldn’t have opted to try a listing from the sharing platform had it been my own choice, so yes, getting it for free got me across the line.
When I arrived the host had left the keys on the table to collect — she works in town and was just a phone call away.
The place was a beautiful old-style Queenslander, surrounded by lush green, tropical plants.
So far, so good.
Opening the front door I feel a slight sense of intrusion, as though I was doing the wrong thing. But before long I was checking out the rooms, finding favourite reads on the bookshelf and sussing out the pool for a quick dip.
The homeliness that had me so apprehensive was now making me relax.
The biggest difference for me was, instead of being in a hotel — the typical work trip — where know what to expect and have a routine: check in, dump bags, have a shower, order room service and get back to work, I was refreshed by this new experience.
Over the two-night stay I was able to understand the appeal. It can be cheaper, in a less touristy location, and you actually do “feel at home”.
As a result, I’ll probably give it a go off my own bat now. But it would have to be an entire house, shared with friends or family. Or a apartment to myself. I don’t think I would feel comfortable staying in a private room of a house, an alternative option available on the site.
Here’s a look at the place that changed my mind about Airbnb.
Here we are. I've just walked through the cute picket fence. As I look back to the roads I notice it's one of the last standalone houses on the street, which full of multi-storey resort complexes.
Walking in the front door, you arrive in a casual lounge area. The beach-retro vibe automatically sets the scene for the Port Douglas lifestyle.
I'm still not sure if I would feel comfortable putting my feet on the lounge like a would at home, or a hotel.
Off the central lounge area are two bedrooms. This is the master. Air-conditioning is welcome up here.
The main bathroom. Surprised to see that it came with a hairdryer more powerful than in a most hotels.
At the end of the room, to the left, is a massive kitchen. This is my favourite thing about staying in an Airbnb. Restaurants are great but I get sick of eating out every meal. Sometimes when you're in a foreign place, it's comforting to cook a familiar meal.
Beyond the kitchen, the house drops down to the split-level living area and out onto the patio and pool
The second bathroom is down here with built-in laundry. The ironing board it out because I had to iron a shirt.
Looking back to the house from the outdoor entertainment area, it would be easy to imagine having a barbie and kicking back with friends.
Choosing the beach route, these are the signs that greet you. Welcome to northern Queensland, hope you bought your stinger suit.
* Business Insider travelled to Port Douglas as a guest of Airbnb.
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