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Old 10-22-2014, 10:21 AM   #41
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That has nothing to do with it. It is the name discrepancy that is the issue. Their email says one name and the VBRO message has a completely different name with no explanation as to why.
Fair enough.

As others have pointed out, it's not unusual for Chinese people to adopt English-sounding names. This is particularly common among more affluent Hong Kong Chinese.
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Old 10-22-2014, 11:00 AM   #42
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Stayed in three different Airbnb's in September. Didn't have any problems, but I can see where it wouldn't be for everyone.

One was the masterbed room of a home, hosts and their adult son were also in the house. Was fine, we came and went. The little interaction we had was fine.

Second was a small apt all to ourselves, one block from the beach. Great location and everything included, it was just like our own home with all the fixings. Only problem was there were a few roaches in the kitchen.

Third place was the second bedroom in a beach condo, owner was a retired bachelor who would cook us dinner. Had many great night time chats. He also had other guests while we were there, which was fine but a little different.

I researched several places and had email chats with each one before booking. I was of the mindset if it didn't work we could afford to pay for a hotel room.

It did save us a ton of money over hotels too.
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:25 PM   #43
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I would think sharing someone's house while the owner is home would be awkward (to say the least) .... Really not interested in sharing the bathroom in the middle of the night (or in the morning - for that matter)
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:42 PM   #44
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I would think sharing someone's house while the owner is home would be awkward (to say the least) .... Really not interested in sharing the bathroom in the middle of the night (or in the morning - for that matter)
Those are my thoughts too, though if you're more of a social person, you could get to meet some interesting people. Former super-groupie Pamela Des Barres, author of "I'm with The Band" rents out a bedroom in her house in Marina Del Ray, CA for what seems like a reasonable rate. Perhaps she slept with Jimmie Page in this room

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/204826
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Old 10-22-2014, 01:55 PM   #45
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The shared apartments tend to be much cheaper than the "entire home" options. But I'm also uncomfortable with sharing my sleeping space with strangers... But I can see where I would have done it in college when money was super tight.

I use airbnb as another source, along with vrbo, and generic google searches for vacation rentals. I'm currently looking at airbnb apartments in venice. Some are also listed on vrbo, and have private websites as well. It's just another platform to market vacation rentals (or rooms for rent.)

I guess the room in a home thing is very similar to a bed and breakfast. Many B&B's have shared bathrooms.
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Old 10-22-2014, 02:55 PM   #46
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I had private/exclusive use of a bathroom in all the places I stayed. It was one of my requirements.
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Old 10-22-2014, 04:18 PM   #47
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I would think sharing someone's house while the owner is home would be awkward (to say the least) .... Really not interested in sharing the bathroom in the middle of the night (or in the morning - for that matter)
I suppose it depends on the layout of the house.

We have rented out our basement like this a few times. People had exclusive access to the guest bedroom and restroom. They could come and go as desired via a side door directly accessing the basement. We shared access to the TV/family room. There were no problems. We charged about $100/night. Free breakfast.

Now, the people that came home drunk, puked in our wastebasket and left it for us to clean up-there was a problem.
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Old 10-23-2014, 04:32 AM   #48
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Think it's because there is a misalignment with the name of the home owners versus the name signed in the email. So not about ethnicity.
My interpretation exactly.
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:00 PM   #49
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I have been traveling with some young friends recently who have spent three months traveling from California to the east coast. They spent most of those nights doing Couchsurfing, with mostly very good results.
They registered with the website, set up profiles, and then sent inquiries to folks in the places they'd planned to stop along the way. They got to meet some very cool people and had the chance to see these cities from a local's perspective, including a crystal reading in California, going to the state fair in Oklahoma, and to a gun range in Baton Rouge.
I don't think I'd follow their lead (I'm too old to sleep on a stranger's couch, lol) but was impressed with how well it worked for them. Only one place was sketchy, in Albuquerque, and they just stayed in their campervan instead of in the guy's house that night. But it became one of their go-to funny stories from the trip.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:16 PM   #50
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This sounds like a very good idea. How do you determine what you offer?
Partly set by our budget, but also was about 30-40% of the rack cost. I would not insult with a super low offer.

For example, we rented an adorable cottage in the Sonoma wine country - with it's own hot tub, fireplace, it was a studio. It was listed for $800 - it was January/February - I offered $500, she came back with $600, but this was inclusive of taxes and cleaning. It was the key area we wanted. She was happy - it was going to be empty. We stayed 2 weeks.

You have to be flexible - we pick various towns. We are looking right now and rentals on AL shore - so many ads already say $100 off and such. Traveling off season really pays.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:17 PM   #51
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So the nice things about these Homeaway/VRBO systems is you can create a template and just send the same thing out to many people with no effort.
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Old 10-23-2014, 07:28 PM   #52
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BellBarbara -- Thanks for the tips. In person I'm a terrible negotiator but I can actually see myself trying this via email.
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Old 10-24-2014, 07:30 AM   #53
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Yes, it's easier in email. I just tell them we are retired and on a limited budget. I am also sure to compliment their property before I ask for the discount. Make sure to tell them about yourself: I usually say: late 50s retired professionals, clean non smokers, no pets.
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Old 10-26-2014, 03:08 PM   #54
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For example, we rented an adorable cottage in the Sonoma wine country - with it's own hot tub, fireplace, it was a studio.
I realize there are many rentals listed on many websites, and things do change over time...but it sounds like you liked that particular cottage. Feel free to send me a private message or e-mail with the place you stayed at so I can bookmark it when I eventually make it out to explore California wine country.
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Old 10-31-2014, 05:27 PM   #55
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We retired earlier this year. Just returned from a five week UK cruise/vacation and missed our doggie! Also, we are interested in saving money. I'm not interested in staying in a home with owner, but we would love to start travelling with our small dog and renting a small apartment or cottage, which would probably be cheaper than hotels, and more dog friendly. Would VRBO or AirBNB be better?

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Old 11-15-2014, 02:28 PM   #56
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I just received an email (message) inquiry back from a VBRO house I was interested in staying at next month in mountains near Southern California. The email had the price and other information and was signed "Best Regards, Jane and Henry." Who according to some of the 23 reviews are mentioned as the owners. All very positive reviews. The problem is the email is through the VBRO messaging system and the subject line is "Hang Xu has replied to your message." Huh? Who is that? I went online to the county assessors site and it has two owners listed for the property, one being Hang Xu and the other another Chinese name. So I am guessing one of two things:

1. It's a scam or
2. They are husband and wife whose legal names are Chinese but use American names on VBRO. or
3. ??

It is probably legit but there are other properties nearby so I don't think it is worth the risk.


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Just a quick follow-up, after rethinking this we ended up booking this place. The owner was very responsive and gave more detailed information in the email. They also gave us a great deal so we were able to enjoy a nice long weekend in the mountains. The only other hiccup was when they sent me payment instructions for Paypal the email said I would get a Paypal receipt with the company name similar to XYZ Imports but when I got the actual receipt it was G & G Industries. Other than that I received my full damage deposit back yesterday so all is good.


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Old 11-15-2014, 02:33 PM   #57
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I'm lodged for one week AirBNB now.


Pros- The host is an interesting guy and the other guest is a cute Spanish girl


Cons- The property is a little on the run down side
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Old 11-15-2014, 06:24 PM   #58
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I realize there are many rentals listed on many websites, and things do change over time...but it sounds like you liked that particular cottage. Feel free to send me a private message or e-mail with the place you stayed at so I can bookmark it when I eventually make it out to explore California wine country.
Moore - sorry we were traveling. Here is the place. Def recommend it.

Glen Ellen Vacation Rental - VRBO 439707 - 1 BR Sonoma County House in CA, Fabulous, Private Cottage, Walk to Glen Ellen. Second House Optional.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:13 PM   #59
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To Deb-I haven't used air bnb, but on VRBO you can select filters to add and one of them is "dog friendly". On VRBO, there is usually a minimum stay, and the longer you stay, the cheaper the per day rate. Feel free to negotiate a lower rate with the owner.

For stays of one or two nights, it is usually best to just stay at a hotel that allows dogs. There are several websites that show pet-friendly hotels and there is a filter on tripadvisor.com for pet-friendly. Our dog's favorite hotel has it's own fenced in dog park. We like Drury Inns and Suites, so you might consider that chain if one is in the area you are traveling in. Some chains let pets stay for free and some have really high pet fees (like $100 even if you are only staying one night!). If you like B&Bs, some of them allow dogs.
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