Today I saw a post on Facebook, it went along the lines of... 20 years ago we were saying 'don't talk to strangers', 10 years ago we were saying 'don't meet someone from online alone' and now we are saying 'go find some random online and pay them to take you somewhere in their private car'.
It made me think about my recent trip.
I took my Mum and kids away. We went to Brisbane and Moreton Island. And I completely blew my Mum away with the use of Uber and Air BnB. Even TigerAir. Being more of a road trip and caravan traveller, she'd never heard of them.
It used to be travel agents, hotel bookings, Qantas and taxi services. How things have changed. Now we can stay in peoples homes - whether it is a full-time holiday rental or a room in their home, use our phone to book a ride with someone who is using their own car to make money and book flights without the frills of yummy aeroplane food (haha) to cut costs.
It was the first trip where I have relied on mostly Airbnb and Uber. How did it go?
Uber works great. All the drivers I rode with were helpful, drove safely and got us where we needed to go on time. I like seeing where they are (even though that in itself can prove frustrating when they show up just around the corner but still take 5 minutes or longer to get to me), I can see a photo and find out about the driver before they arrive and at the end of the trip I can say thank you, goodbye and get out. No need to wait around for credit card payments.
Airbnb. It's hit and miss. I've had some great experiences with them - staying in some very cool Melbourne pads on previous trips. On this trip, I booked two apartments. The first was great - very good communication prior, during and after the stay, neat and clean and a nice vibe. The second wasn't so good - a lovely apartment but too dirty to stay in. I contacted the owner but her response was not to come clean (it seriously looked like it hadn't been cleaned for a few weeks with dust, mould, food bits, sticky stuff on the floor, soap on the shower floor) but to say that with what we paid she could not present the home 'impeccably clean'.
Air BnB was very helpful. They communicated between myself and her and ended up giving me a refund. So, although I ended up having to book another apartment for that night at a higher cost - we had clean beds to sleep in and felt comfortable.
Would I use Air BnB again? Yes, I would. But I'd check reviews and communicate my standards a bit better before arrival. Booking through a hotel gives me more assuredness of some sort of cleanliness standards.
TigerAir performed well for us too. On time, friendly and, unlike previous trips, I was prepped for the bag weight checks at the gate (no more frantically layering of clothes). If only I had realised before standing in the boarding lineup in Brisbane that I had to go get my bags weighed and stickered first. After waiting for about 5 minutes another passenger told me. Oh well, we are all going to arrive in Adelaide at the same time, it doesn't matter what order we board.
Do I like the new way of travel? Yes, I like the options it gives. More choice. More convenience. And with more cost options, it opens up travel for more people. Or for people to travel more.
And I do believe that travel is the worlds best classroom. For all ages.