Me: Let’s go on a holiday! 🤓
AirBnB: 😆 Screw you.
Imagine this. Pristine beaches of white sand, endless stretches of blue water, the sound of the crashing waves acting as accompaniment — calming and intriguing all the same, people going about their daily affairs, a bunch of tourists lazing around the beach in a bikini or sarong, lovers kissing as the sun lowers itself into nature’s aquamarine, groups of friends loitering about Instagramming stories, updating their WhatsApp statuses and wondering how the hell they ended up getting their lazy bums to a place as beautiful as this, travellers going live for their next blog post or simply soaking in the happiness that is, right then, right there. And all of us, talking and laughing, fascinated by the beauty of it all and taking in the holiday mood, sincerely wishing it never ended.
And I, somewhere there, in the middle of it all, trying to do nearly the same things, when…..
Stop, stop, stop! I let my imagination run riot, too fast, too soon. Sigh.
Anyway, I was talking about Gili Trawangan, commonly referred to as Gili-T — a party-goers Paradise and one of the many beautiful islands of the world. A lot of planning that involved speaking to a travel agency who gave me a touristy itinerary, and numerous Lonely Planet site visits later, I decided to ask a friend who asked a couple of her friends and soon we were a bunch of four, all excited to embark on a trip for which we were still planning. We knew just one thing. We were hell-bent on going to ‘the-beach-with-the-swing’ in Gili-T.
We decided to check out AirBnB for Gili-T since all other reservations for all other places were made, via AirBnB, of course. For those of you who know me, when I love a product or service, I love it way too much and wouldn’t let even competition sway me.
Getting back to AirBnB….
AirBnB is designed brilliantly —a clean interface with budget filters, map-based reservation reviews, cheaper fares, instant bookings, filters for English speaking hosts and most of all, genuine people with genuine homes. It’s made lives easy for everyone who doesn’t like being new to a place, like me.
I went through most listings, rejected some for the distance, some for the budget, others for food options, a couple of them for the lack of two bathrooms (yes, really!) and a bunch of them simply because the host did not have great ratings. A couple of days later, two of them made the cut, from which we decided to pick one.
While I did save the booking for the dates we had planned for, somehow the listing became unavailable to me. I was irritated but was stubborn about the place, because come on, two bathrooms and an amazing breakfast menu take priority over anything else!
After a lot of logins and re-logins later, I booked it for another date, just so I could get in touch with the host. Thankfully, Antonia the host was helpful enough to get the dates changed (because guess what, there was a bug in the product itself!). While I’m thankful we managed a nice vacation in a nice place, I’m also disappointed.
Disappointed, because all I wanted to do was chat with a support agent from AirBnB who could get my issue sorted, right then, right there! 🤷