So You Need Housingby A. Olivo
You have a regatta coming up in a few months, or maybe weeks. You are looking through hotel options, maybe through your Marriott/Hilton/IHG points currency, but you are finding that the hotels are just not that close, or maybe are too expensive. Not to worry! We have an alternative solution, the housesharing platform, Air BnB. If you've never booked an Airbnb, or booked one for a regatta, this guide is for you. This article is for those who a) want to minimize costs and/or b)maximize their housing strategy for their Opti sailor. This article is NOT about why you shouldn't book an Air BnB rental, because we assume you know the pitfalls of renting someone elses property!
Disclaimer: We are in no way affiliated with Air BnB, and we were not paid/compensated in any way to write this article.
Advantages of booking an Air BnB rentalSo why even bother to look through Airbnb listings anyways? Well, for starters, Airbnb has been disrupting the hotel and housing industry for a reason - and that is cost. You can get an Airbnb rental with 2+ rooms for a typical weekend regatta for the same price as a double room in any average hotel. The average price/night of a hotel room in the United States has been rising and is now $136 per night.
Another major advantage of booking through Airbnb is the amenities that houses afford. If you search properly you can find bookings with Washer and Drier, Pools, Full Kitchens, etc. After all, you are renting someone's property! They are most of the time not hotel rooms or travel lodgings so you will find the comforts of home and the space of home.
A third advantage to Airbnb, is often times you'll be at a venue and hotels are not very close, but if you look through Airbnb, you'll find properties much closer to the event. This is not always the case but when it is, it is so helpful to have housing very close to the venue. Examples: Florida Yacht Club, US Sailing Center Martin County, and Grosse Pointe Yacht Club.
How To Search (Properly)
|Filters Are Your Friends!|
- Fridge and Laundry access - nothing is worse than having wet smelly gear in your room and hungry sailors roaming around. After all, you are a savvy Opti Parent and want to maximize your regatta weekend! A fridge and laundry will ensure your sailor has dry gear and snacks in the morning.
- Queen size beds - Do you want a good nights sleep? Then make sure that the Airbnb rental has at least one queen size bed if you are sharing a bed with another person. You'll wake up better in the morning!
- Separate sleeping/living areas (no studios!) - There are two reasons for this, 1) having a separate space for kids to sleep/hang out in is great because it lets the kids have their kid time with other friends or if you have siblings coming along. 2) because it lets you have some Y.O.U time! Don't forget that even though you're there because of your Opti sailor, you need some quality time as well! Get some work done, invite some other parents over or just get rest away from the kids. Obviously if you have very small children they require a lot of attention but it's always great to get back to your rental and not have all the activity in your sleeping area.
- Outside area to dry off wet sailing gear- This is the corollary to laundry access, kids will come off the water with wet, or sweaty gear and you should always air dry your gear before stowing it anywhere - it helps it last longer, and keeps it from developing "Sailor Stench", which if you've ever been to a regatta before, you'll know what I mean at first sniff. If its just wet with saltwater or lakewater, throw it in the washing machine with no detergent for a rinse, or if you have a hose at your rental hose it off with fresh water and air dry.
We usually pull up the address of the venue in Google Maps alongside the Air BnB search in order to see distances and neighborhoods related to the Airbnb locations
Do Your Due Diligence!So you think you've found a great deal on an Airbnb rental, it's close to the venue, price is good, but something is just...off. Often times sailing venues are surrounded by rougher neighborhoods and you may not know it as you are not familiar with the city. We urge you to do your due diligence and message the owner, and ask questions! Be gracious and courteous as these interactions can affect your rating at the end of your stay. Check out city guides and search for information on the neighborhood you're staying in in order to be as informed as possible about where you're staying. An example is renting an Air BnB in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit is a fantastic city but there are absolutely areas that are rough and economically depressed. Grosse Pointe Yacht Club is oftentimes a host for many USODA events, but the neighborhoods surrounding Grosse Point are lower-income neighborhoods and there are many cases of Airbnb rentals that were misleading.
When communicating with the owner, check out the reviews of the rental especially the negative ones as many people leave 5 star reviews without leaving feedback that could be useful. Unrelated to sailing, but to the point of doing due diligence, I once stayed in a Paris flat that was a 6 story walkup in the center of Paris and I did not know! But one of the reviewers mentioned it and I could have saved myself the pain of carrying heavy suitcases up 6 floors of stairs.
Lastly, if something doesn't look right it, or it sounds too good for the price it often times is. Remember, you are renting from private owners or companies that are not necessarily hoteliers. The experience is completely different from a Hotel so don't expect the same treatment.