Traveling like a local sounds cliche to me but can’t ignore how this line keeps me grounded when experiencing new things in a different country. I become more accepting and ready for discomfort. And as I evolve in my travels, I become more intrigued on how it feels to live, eat, sleep and wake up in a local house.
Local House as Travel Accommodation. A house that I can throw my stuff around and lounge on the spacious floor, a kitchen where I can cook meals and a bathroom for myself.
I learned from travels and research that hotels are indeed capitalists in spite of little things I can only do with their amenities. I stayed many times in hostels and guesthouses and I can still say these are still the accommodations that worth of every peso I pay. However, the catch with hostels and guesthouses is I always need to make sure my stuff are secured.
I want a place where I can say I am home but I am traveling.
The ads of Airbnb are often portraying a sense of cultural exchange between two individuals – the host and the guest. The host prepares the house to become a home for the guest. And the guest will spend his days living in a local neighborhood.
The homey setting for a cultural exchange is the reason why I chose Airbnb in Fukuoka. I can unwind and sightsee the city as slowly & as ease as a local spending her typical days.
Our days in Fukuoka went by unhurried. Coffee in the morning and home-cooked meals in the evening. There were extra clean towels & bedsheets to use whenever we needed. Big packs of body soap, shampoo & conditioner kept in a cabinet. I used up a bottle of detergent when I did my laundy. Kitchenware are just enough for our cooking skill. Heh!
The neighborhood is packed with inexpensive restaurants and cafés. A small bake shop opens just before lunch & by the time we’re back by 7 pm it is already closed. The garden café that sits along our side is so pretty in the evening because of its soft warm light, concrete white walls & drips of flower veins. We had frequent grocery stops in a 24-hour supermarket two blocks from our home so we could cook our meals and stock up the refrigerator with juice & ice cream.
One night I decided to go to Ohori Koen for an evening jog. I walked from our house confidently without a phone, map, GPS & yen. Heh! I lost my way. Twice I went inside a subway station to locate myself. I think I walked about 1 hour that night completely lost. But then you know what, while I was walking in and out of the suburban’s streets, I learned that I was living next to a neighborhood of chic minimalist houses with wide slopes of quiet roads. And then next neighborhood has so many small local stores, cafes, bakeshops and restaurants. And then I arrived on a main street for buses and subways and brightly lit streetlights.
At that moment I felt like I was roaming the city like a real Japanese.
The house and the neighborhood are what make the Airbnb stay worthwhile. In some good chances, the hosts are available to bond & walk with you around. Some would still prefer hotel and others would go for Couchsurfing instead. I might still go for guesthouse or hostel in general – at least for now. But definitely Airbnb would now be an option in my next adventures.👯 👣
My Airbnb is located in a residential area 10 minutes walk from Akasaka Station and, as you may have already imagined, it is not in the city center so walking (or biking) was part of my expectation.
- Each house available in Airbnb offers different amenities depending on the host but from what I observed in Fukuoka or Japan, almost everyone is offering a pocket wifi which is very helpful when you roam around the city on your own.
- Always consider the weather and location when looking over the amenities so you will book the house that meets your needs.
- Don’t hesitate to contact the host. I was able to book mine even it was not opened for reservation yet only because I initiated the conversation.
- The pricing of Airbnb is confusing with the foreign exchange, the cleaning fee, the daily cost & discounts involved. So I would advise you to confirm the price first with the host before you make payments.
- And do not make any payments outside Airbnb!
- Because Airbnb houses are owned by locals – exact address is secured from you until your reservation is confirmed.
- You need to write the name, address and contact number of your host on your visa application form and immigration form so make sure to have them with you always.
- And of course, as a guest of any house (in any culture), be mindful of the house rules. These are for your safety and your host and also to your neighbor’s convenience.