My First Airbnb Experience

This is a sponsored post! Meaning the cool people at Airbnb — the title sponsor for the Brooklyn Half — reached out to me before the Brooklyn Half Marathon and asked if I’d be interested in staying in one of their Brooklyn rentals the night before the race (they gave me a credit to use toward the rental) so I didn’t have to schlep from the Upper East Side to Prospect Park at like 2 AM the morning of the race. You bet I did. So while I don’t typically do sponsored posts, this was something I actually thought was cool and wanted to do and want to tell you about today. Into it? Great.

Good, great, grand, WONDERFUL! Name that movie.
Good, great, grand, WONDERFUL! Name that movie.

I am happy to report that my Airbnb experience was easy and awesome, and I will 100% use Airbnb again. Honestly. If it weren’t awesome or if I weren’t planning to use it again, I would tell you. Lying is too hard because then you have to remember all your lies and keep the cycle going. Exhausting.

So like I said, I was offered a credit to use toward an Airbnb stay the night before the Brooklyn Half. I rang up [GChatted] my best tiger girl Lucy, who was running this as her first race, and was like, “Hey, remember when you used to live in Brooklyn but now you’re a west coaster and you’re running this race and you need a place to stay and my apartment is far as F from the race start?” She was like, “Yeah.” Then I said, “Want to have a sleepover with me in Brooklyn?!” She said, “Let me see if I have any better options, but if not, then sure.”

No, J/K, she was super psyched. Her friend Jana came, too!
No, J/K, she was super psyched. Her friend Jana came, too!

Here’s how it works:

  • You create an account on the website. It’s very easy.
  • You do a search based on where you want to travel/stay.
  • The results pop up.
  • You look at all the pictures and read the reviews.
  • You pick the most outrageous, fanciest, swankiest apartment you can find. YOLO!
We live here. NBD. EXCEPT HUGE BD.
We live here. NBD. EXCEPT HUGE BD.

The whole booking process was easy, just like booking any hotel or restaurant reservation online. Nothing fancy to report here.

Lucy and I chose to stay at this place in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, about 1.4 miles from the race start. The apartment listing name? “The Notorious B.N.B. {Biggie}.”



Lucy and I left the Upper East Side Friday morning with all our crap (i.e. the requisite 19 outfit options) to head to the expo, and then we Uber-ed our way to our home for the weekend.

And…holy shit.

This place was bonkers crazy. It was a four-story brownstone that stretched an entire block. We stood outside looking up at it like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

In West Contoocook, not born but raised, in the sticks is where I spent most of my days. Chillin out, maxin, and dancin' all cool, I was definitely never shooting b-ball outside of any school. I WAS TOO BUSY, I HAD DANCE.
In West Contoocook, not born but raised, in the sticks is where I spent most of my days. Chillin out, maxin, and dancin’ all cool, I was definitely never shooting b-ball outside of any school. I WAS TOO BUSY, I HAD DANCE.

(Check-in time was in the afternoon, but the owners live there and said we could drop our bags off anytime. We communicated a few times via email and our host, Jessica, was super responsive and nice.)

We dropped our stuff, gawked at the first floor, and then set off to see Pitch Perfect 2.

Their entryway > my entire apartment.
Their entryway > my entire apartment.

About the movie: I laughed the whole time, but I was a littttttle disappointed with the final performance. I wanted something more explosive and less about a battery powered light device. But I downloaded the soundtrack immediately and have been sending Lucy Dubsmashes every night since. (LMK if you want me to send you one of my Dubsmashes. I’m obsessed, addicted, and terrible at them because I always start laughing.) So…clearly didn’t hate it.

After the movie, we went back to the apartment and moved up to the fourth floor. I’ve never been in an apartment in New York City or anywhere that has a fourth freaking floor. It was a walk-up, and we got to the top with Host Doug, and he goes, “Wow, you guys are really out of breath.” And I was like, “YEAH, DOUG, WE ARE TAPERING.”

There were three bedrooms just on our floor, and I got the big one and we called it “The Parlour” all weekend. Or at least I did.

Chillin out, maxin, relaxin all lazy.
Chillin out, maxin, relaxin all lazy.

There were also two doggies there, and even though they weren’t allowed on our floor, we still went downstairs to play with them a lot.

<3 <3 <3 Woof woof <3 <3 <3
<3 <3 <3 Woof woof <3 <3 <3

I had always been a little weirded out by staying at a bed and breakfast, but this wasn’t at all weird. We had our own keys to the apartment, just like we would at a hotel, and it was really kind of special getting to stay somewhere super local and in a nice, quiet neighborhood instead of in a standard Hilton.

While the rest of our November Project teammates were stressing over which subway to take from the UES to get to the start on time, we snoozed in a little later and even had time to swing by Duane Reade for some last-minute Imodium on the way to the start (that damn stomach bug had me all nervous and I wanted to take all the proper precautions).

Just a short Uber drive from our fancy abode!
Just a short Uber drive from our fancy abode!

Jessica and Doug, the hosts, apparently make a kickass all-organic breakfast every morning at 8 AM, but we were already at mile 7 by that point, so we didn’t get to eat it. Sad.

It was also amazing getting to go back to the apartment after the race to shower and change instead of making that endless trip back home directly from Coney Island. We had a super fun little staycation, and I apologize to the people on the third floor if we were singing “When I’m gone…when I’m goooooooone…you’re gonna miss me when I’m gone” too loudly the whole time. We were just really excited.

I borrowed this stick and pretended I had answers.
I borrowed this stick and pretended I had answers.

Finally, and this one is a no brainer, when you’re staying at someone’s house, it’s a home. There are amenities, and most importantly for race travel, there’s a kitchen. You can cook your pre-race dinner and toast your pre-race bagel! Hotels in NYC are expensive as hell (trust me, I just looked up the price of every single one doing wedding host hotel research), and the Airbnb options are way cheaper. If you’re running the New York City Marathon, I seriously recommend seeing what’s available on Airbnb near the start or finish. (Let’s not talk about how much I had already spent on this race just to get to run it…)

This is how we were greeted when we got back from the race. OOOOMMMGGGG.
This is how we were greeted when we got back from the race. OOOOMMMGGGG.

The only sad part about the experience was when it was over. Aw. And also when we got back from the race and were heading to brunch and our Host Doug so kindly asked how the race went. Not important, Doug. Look away!

"Enthusiastic" = "Please STFU, we're trying to sleep and you won't stop pretending you're Beca and Fat Amy."
“Enthusiastic” = “Please STFU, we’re trying to sleep and you won’t stop pretending you’re Beca and Fat Amy. But also you are totally welcome to move in with us, just let us know when you’ll be arriving with all your running shoes and your bike and your giraffe.”

If you haven’t tried Airbnb, here’s a link to get $25 off your first rental. You’re welcome. I love you.



15 Responses

  1. AirBNB has changed my travelling world! We stayed in an amazing Brooklyn apartment for 9 days when we came over for a friends wedding. 10/10 would highly recommend, and so much more affordable than hotels, espesh in NYC. We also used it on the North Shore of Oahu and it was so worth it. We’ve always had the loveliest hosts. I can’t imagine using hotels now! Also a teeny bit guttered I missed out on running into you in NYC (coz its so small right) coz you were in Haiwaii getting engaged and then left there the day we arrived!

  2. If it weren’t for AirBnB there’s no way I’d be able to afford most of the traveling I’ve done. My sister is an AirBnb host & turned us on to the site.

    Yours was definitely an above average experience, though!

  3. Ali, my mom just heard about AirBnb and loves the idea but is convinced it must be a scam! I am sending her this link. P.S. Your blog is my favourite. Of ALL the blogs (and there are so many!) (I’m not even exaggerating in the name of niceness, it’s true.)

  4. I think those pictures alone have just convinced me to use AirBnB…. now I just need to find a place to travel! 🙂 Great review! Hope you have an awesome MDW!

  5. I’m very grateful to have had great experiences with AirBnb. I’ve been a guest in Helsinki, Paris, London, and twice (soon to be three times) in New York.

    I love having more space and often better amenities than a normal hotel!

  6. I AirBnBed to run the NYC marathon in 2014 and it was THE BEST. We had a 1 bedroom apartment near SoHo for $220 a night. It was super easy to take the subway to the ferry for the start from the apartment. I 1000000% recommend doing it when travelling for a race. Having a kitchen and a space bigger than a hotel room for all your running shit is WORTH IT.

  7. that place looks all sorts if ridiculousssss. boggles my mind that people live like that here in NYC! love it. i ran this race too and had a blast!

  8. FRIGGIN’ LOVE AIRBNB. I’ve had nothing but amazing experiences! I always end up meeting the coolest people/hosts and get real honest recommendations about great places to sightsee or eat or visit, so I just LOVE the whole thing. My favorite Airbnb to date was probably my first, stayed the weekend in Austin in a pimped out Airstream in someone’s backyard. SO.MUCH.FUN.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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