The Night AirBnb Saved Us! After our stop over in Dijon, France, we set on the road towards Switzerland. We were excited to get onto a new country, but also sad to be leaving France. We felt like we could have spent weeks driving around the French countryside. It is absolutely gorgeous! We assumed that going to Bern, Switzerland, would be the best route, but we made a spontaneous decision to head south. It was roughly the same distance, and we wanted to see the famous Lake Geneva. We had no accommodation booked, mostly because we weren’t even sure where we were going. Something happened, and I’m not really sure what that “thing” was, but the next thing we knew… we were at the lake, it was getting dark, and we were feeling pretty tired. Eli was moody but not wanting to go sleep, and we weren’t getting any responses from the Airbnb requests for that evening. We started looking at hotel options in the area that we were in, but NOTHING was below $250! That was way more than we wanted to pay for a late night check-in, especially since we would probably leave early the following morning.
We found a little cafe and sat down for some dinner. The cafe was a little dodgy, but there was free wifi, and they had pizza. So we sat there, trying to figure out what to do. It seemed that we had few very few options… and even less time to make a decision! It was one of those nights – where you’re too tired to make a decision, where things don’t seem to be making sense, and where your child is cranky (the cherry on top!). While we were driving, I got to see glimpses of the sunsetting over Lake Geneva, but Justin didn’t see much at all. We really just wanted to go down to the lake, but organizing a place to sleep was, of course, our main concern at that time. Before we knew it… it was completely dark outside, we were REALLY tired, and we were both frustrated with how this day had ended. By 11pm we still didn’t know where we were sleeping. Our only hope was to opt for one of those pricey hotels, but when we tried to book them from our phones, the prices would shoot up to over $300. In hindsight, I wish we had known how there would be plenty of days were we would spend much less than our daily budget. It wouldn’t have mattered in the long run how much the hotel cost that night. But one week into a two month trip, that isn’t something that you can predict.
As we started the car, and began reversing, a message popped up on our Airbnb app. A lady about one hour away said that she was still up, and we were welcome to sleep there. WOW…I can’t tell you how happy we were!
We arrived at this family home just after midnight. The couple were so incredibly kind and welcoming. We were so relieved that we hadn’t given in and gone to one of the overpriced hotels around the lake. We were shown to our room, where a small toddler bed had been prepared for Eli. Everything about this stay was PERFECT! I remember thinking that the patterns, the pillows, and the score pieces in the room reminded me SO MUCH of home. It felt like a little piece of South Africa was in the room.
The hosts, the house, and all the little details. In the morning we made ourselves coffee – there was an espresso machine in the bedroom – and then ventured downstairs to meet our hosts properly. They had two young daughters, so Elijah ended up playing in the backyard with them for hours. The husband was South African (suddenly the guest room decor made sense!), so we all had plenty to talk about. Justin enjoyed chatting with them while I sat upstairs making some rough travel plans for the next few days. The family ended up inviting us to stay for lunch. What started as a “late night save” turned into a full day of fun and laughter. We shared a meal around their dining room table, drank wine, exchanged travel, life and “parenting abroad” stories, and then finally packed up and got back on the road.
The couple told us that we were only the second guests that they had received, and the first through the AirBnb website.
We assured them that most guests would be out of the room at the crack of dawn, and they wouldn’t have to always serve lunch. We all had a good laugh!
This was one of the most amazing AirBnb experiences that we have ever had. Many hotel companies advertise on AirBnb, and unfortunately that takes away from the original idea behind the website. This personal experience that we had in Switzerland was one of the best way that you can travel. We only paid about $50 to stay for the night, and they treated us like family… Which is, of course, PRICELESS!