Lessons Learned: A Year of Airbnb’s

Airbnbs seem to be a new trend- those who have not experienced it may be confused by the concept. This online market and hospitality service enables people to locate lodgings from hostels to vacation rentals, private homes and apartments, condos or hotels. The company is only a broker, allowing private individuals to rent to those needing a place to stay or wanting to experience a city as a resident and not just a guest.

A correspondent recently returned from a year long trip around the world, spending 95% of her time in Airbnbs. She says she learned a lot about vacation rentals. A seaside studio on the coast of Dubrovnik, a Pinterest-worthy loft in Prague, a top-story flat overlooking Parliament in the heart of edgy Bucharest — those are just a small sample of the Airbnb apartments that she called home during her 2016 travels.

One thing that she found to be true about every Airbnb, regardless of its location, is that the kitchen is the heart of the home- even when it is not your permanent home.

When staying in the homes of others, it is easy to miss your own bed, your full wardrobe, art and books that are familiar. So, when feeling a little homesick, it is always easy to find comfort in the kitchen. After orienting herself to the location, she would check the kitchen to see what she had to work with. 

After acquainting herself  with the assortment of utensils, pots, pans, and heating elements, she would take a trip to the nearest grocery store stocking up on familiar favorites or interesting new ingredients. Then, rather than a first meal out on the town,  she would prepare a home-cooked meal and enjoy it in her new — albeit temporary — home.

It became a travel ritual not possible in a hotel room, staying with friends or family, or on a cruise. It was unique to staying in Airbnb’s, and reminded her time and again that food — and the process of making it — is central to our lives, whether at home or abroad.