Airbnb is such a wonderful ingenuity ever made for traveling. Rentals have long been here but an organized way of booking a local home hit a spot here in Airbnb. I remember first trying it out in 2013 (or was it Roomorama?) for our trip in Japan but settled for hotel at that time and then finally trying it out in San Francisco, California last November.
It takes time finding the one that best suit your needs and of course budget. I read reviews and researched the area, in general (safety, etc) and its location relative to points of interest or where I will be spending most of my time on. For me, what’s most critical for this trip is accessibility to transportation. We did not have relatives or friends to take us around. Thankfully, unlike other places, San Francisco has good transportation system (bus, trams, trains, taxi, Uber/Lyft) which made traveling here easy!
Booking an apartment in Portola District was a risk. It’s a little far off from the city center when you check out the map so it’s not a popular base in San Francisco. But it turned out a wonderful stay which I could not find any faults. Bus 8 or 8X ($2.50) is our main line going to City Center (Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf, Ferry Building). This also brings us back to Portola at night, latest 8pm from Union Square. If we find ourselves still out past 8pm, we would take Uber or Taxi ($25) back to our apartment. The Uber app here has a carpool feature which charges less than getting own Uber car. Also, I was told by Heather, Lyft (Uber’s rival) has better service. I suggest downloading this app before coming to US. I could not set up mine properly while there for some reason so I wasn’t able to try it.
The apartment we stayed in is owned by the lovely Heather who is so pleasant and thoughtful. She would check on us daily if everything is going well or if we need any help. She met us on our check in for quick orientation. The apartment is spotless and clean! It has one bedroom, living room, shower room and a fully equipped kitchen with bistro table with stools for dining. We were able to cook our meals here. The apartment can accommodate 3 persons, the third one sleeping in the sofa bed in the living room which has a large flat screen TV (extra sheets and pillows provided). Fast wireless internet is included too and the flat has heater for winter months.
The bathroom has full tub and shower (great water pressure too!). Towels, hair dryer and hand soap are provided. Bath gel, toothpaste and shampoo are not included. I wasn’t able to inquire about the laundry though because I didn’t need one at that time.
There is an enormous variety of cuisines within walking distance. Pharmacy, grocery and fresh market is also nearby. From the bus station, walk straight up and you will find a quaint breakfast place which serves good food (their pancakes are really good!).
I highly recommend Heather’s place. Am sure there are a lot better but if you want to save time from researching then this will save you! I guarantee you a wonderful and easy stay in San Francisco. Money back guaranteed, kidding 🙂
Here’s the link to her account with rate published on it. https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2461006
Till my next Airbnb discovery!