I stayed in my first Airbnb -- here's why it took me so long and what it was like

Photo: Sarah Kimmorley.

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.

Baby steps.

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.

The building is a quaint Queenslander, surrounded by lush greenery and tropical ferns.

Considering it's high-rise neighbours, it's pretty secluded.

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.

Simple and cosy, there are multiple places to kick back in the sun with a good book.

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.

And this is the second bedroom, roughly the same size.

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

It's light and breezy. There are DVDs to watch or books to read.

The second bathroom is down here with built-in laundry. The ironing board it out because I had to iron a shirt.

The pool is partly covered by shade, and super-inviting in the 28°C heat.

Looking back to the house from the outdoor entertainment area, it would be easy to imagine having a barbie and kicking back with friends.

The next morning I took a walk. Standing at the end of the street you can either go to the beach.

Or into town. Both walks take no longer than five minutes.

Choosing the beach route, these are the signs that greet you. Welcome to northern Queensland, hope you bought your stinger suit.

This is Four Mile Beach at approximately 6.30am -- stunning!

* Business Insider travelled to Port Douglas as a guest of Airbnb.

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