For the past few months since deciding to go to Canada, I have known that that, obviously, I will be needing some sort of accomodation. I have therefore been keeping an eye on Air B&B listings alongside other other rental websites and HelpX for accommodation/ farm work. I have arranged my first HelpX placement for my first three weeks, but then need to start looking at what I do next. Do I work? sight see? another HelpX? I thought I might book a week or so in Toronto for a tourist week where I can cross some of my bigger ventures of my list. I thought Air B&B a good place to book as cheaper than hotels, dont have to share a room like in a hostel and its a little safer I think than a random room from gumtree type sites when Im in a place I dont know.
I spend some time looking through all my shortlisted listings and eventually composed the perfect message to send to a host to see about making a booking. The price was £30 a night – a little steep, but I think for a tourist week, it is nice to have a room with an ensuite and I feel more confident paying to get a place that looks a bit nicer until I know more about areas etc. Anyway, for four nights at £30 a night, the total cost was £174!!! Something I didnt realise was that in addition to the £5 cleaning fee (I saw this on the listing), there is also a 3% currency conversion fee and a £23 service fee. The host also pays a £23 fee. This is extortionate!! That is a service fee of over £5 a night to make the booking. I love the idea of Air B&B, but am really disappointed by this and it has made me a little wary.
Having discovered the above, I am not one to be put off that easily, I am pleased to say I have now managed to make a booking with a cheaper listing. Still managed to get a nice looking place (it even has a gym in the building!), but it is a little further out. The girl seems lovely and I cant wait to go there. I have a week booked for £154. It looks so nice, I contemplated booking a second week, but didnt want to pay out more money in service fees when I can spend it on exciting and fun things in Canada! Hopefully by then I will feel more confident with the local area and will need to assess if I can afford to book more Air B&B accomodation or if I book through a site with a more reasonable fee structure.
With regards to the ease of booking and use of the website, other than not making viewers aware of this massive price increase earlier int he process, I found it a really user friendly site that definitely fills a gap in the market.