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When I was a preteen, I was often asked: “And what kind of job are you planning to do?”  I would ironically answer: « just like 007! » That provocative reply gave me an indescribable satisfaction. The priceless fun to watch the expression of all faces suddenly in the grip of an unexpected shock, often followed by a (predictable) “Sor-sorry?” (Stuttering) or a frozen silence… skyfall ! I couldn’t say if the reason was related by my birthday (7th of May at 10:07) or the fact 007 had an ambiguous relationship and philosophy with authority -freeing himself from all laws and granting himself to all rights … lucky man! 😉 Ah, this Abs fab’ Freedom to destroy a dozen of Aston Martin cars, blow up all casinos (literally & figuratively), the right to drink hectoliters of vintage Bollinger in enchanted places with the company of super-sexy girls (most of the time with a super-zero IQ ;)in an super-altruistic mission to save the world from super-Villains !
I’ve realized that 007 is not just an archetype of a simple misogynist /macho but a multi-faces entity challenging time and death not to sink into depression.  Beyond the delusion of pretending to be like the Star of the 007 saga, I can’t stop myself to dream about places where the iconic agent is assigned. When I’m plan my next trip I’m always looking for a place where I would sip a Vodka-Martini (ignoring duties and worries) a place that would gave me this irrepressible desire to be tasted a second then a third time (like a Dom Pérignon 1955 – Analogy of a Gastronomic fan of 007 😉 In short, an exceptional place that would even inspire the desire to…Live and let die! As today’s topic is not an analysis of Bond psyche but the disruptive Airbnb and the only question is: “How can be sure that our target (location) will be similar to its virtual description?!”

Tiahura - Moorea

I – The quest for the perfect location = Thunderball mission! …with the Spectre of a explosive headache! 😛

If most of our travels find their interest in anticipation of perfect vacations…the logistic to find the perfect rental implies a real pressure. That it be a studio, villa, cottage or a castle, “the place” suppose to satisfy all our fantasies & expectations is not as simple as a child’s play, even with the absolute weapon: Internet ! Indeed, in a 2.0 world, jumping onto the web has become a natural reflex but there’re still 2 important points: the time spent and authenticity of the target (including the budget – as We’re not On Her Majesty’s Secret Service with an unlimited bank credit from the MI6 , Sorry James! 😉
 
For many years I belonged to the «If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” category. A dangerous philosophy with a vicious result: the Cornelian choice of the rental. I’ve filled more than hundred of Excel travel planners” and … Never (say) never again!
If I had been paid for all nights spent to compare / reading hundreds of advices & comments – while faithfully filling my dashboard with “pros” / “cons ”  – I would be as rich as Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO ! Today, for safety reasons, I recommend a 2-Step Process: an Upstream work in solo of 2 or 3 rentals glorified by previous travelers and a confirmation from a real Pro!  If people feels that calling a travel agent -or a real agent specialized in seasonal rentals- seems useless, outdated, and even anachronistic in 2018 … fatal error! I really insist on this step to show that despite thousands of internet in formations, we are never safe from a terrible disappointment or a nice discovery! 
Despite my experiences I’m still blown-away by a phenomenon that persists: a free advice! 
 
Yes, there’re generous professionals not only paid to estimate your request but ready to help and suggest an alternative, for free! Two agencies have proved me this fact. “Comptoir des Voyage” when they suggested me a new lodge in Tanzania (free of comments on Internet) & “Reva Dreams Travel Agency” by suggesting a location as Royal as (Casino) Royal!  In brief, the traveler that I am (organized-perfectionist-fussy-superpain-intheass 😉 will never be immune from a misjudgment or safe from a mistake. So, one advice from a real Pro is always better than thousand advices read on the Net !

II. Airbnb: A view to a kill?

Logo Airbnb

Since a decade, the American platform has revolutionized the world and the result speaks for itself: 300 million travelers have used it. Everything would be fine in the best of all words if…the best was not the enemy of the good and Airbnb is a “perfect” example! After the “bravos”, it’s shame and disgrace! Revolts and trials from Paris to Barcelona, New York, Tokyo, Berlin and San Francisco, its critics are legions! From the complaints of the locals to hotel owner’s anger, dramatic experiences of clients or owners, incivilities, scams, fake ads… What to believe and who to trust?!

Even if the majority of stays are running in good conditions, some travelers and owners are victims of nightmarish situations. Just read all testimonies on Internet, on both sides! Client VS owner:  0-0! Draw! (If you want to get a partial list of traumatic experiences, just type – in disorder -:”Airbnb + fraud or vandalism, devastation, ruined apartment, devastated house, scams, robberies, fake ads, squatting, lawsuits, Supreme Court etc.” ADVICE: Before to read this depressing list I suggest to prepare yourself a really strong cocktail -with adulterated whiskey or 90% alcohol -and don’t forget to watch a 007 movie after, just to stop this pernicious idea  to cancel your vacation or… kill yourself (in my opinion… Die another day for a more worthy cause! 😉

As I’m not 007 or a Superhero, I am not immune to “a lack of nose”, so read a short list of my Bad Trips (and for some situations, I would have killed… to get a License to Kill! 😉 The “lovely” tarantula in a comfy position on my bath towel; the angry viper whistling under my bed (Tanzania. I’ll never forget the gentle support of all the staff – not responsible for the local wildlife – the they offered me a bottle of champagne to help me recover… or knock me out!? 😉 The owner who breeds hens – probably genetically modified!?- to cackling and laying eggs, day and night (House / Brazil / Discount on the total amount after 2 horrible nights) The crook without faith & without law who “forgets” to mention the broken shower and suggests me to use my neighbor’s one ! (Apartment /Tel Aviv. Just try to imagine my face… Direct refund! The walls are probably still shaking having regards my cries for this outrage) Speaking of “walls”…as thin as cigarette paper just for the “fun” to participate at the intercourses of my right-hand neighbors’, such as counting the points of disputes of my left ones ! (Apartment in Rome) The “Castle” that would better suit to a Horror movie set (Spain / I stayed 1 night instead of 3. Financial loss !) The (fake) Luxury Suite which would be more suitable for a couple of “Lilliputians” (Prague. They changed my room after a hour) An uncomfortable and very old mattress (House / Zanzibar / partial refund at my return, after 10 nervous emails!) The apartment with moisture, dirty bathroom and an unusable fridge (Thailand. Big financial loss- all the rentals around where fully booked!) If holidays mean indifference (of the owner), urgencies, expenses and mistrust…Let’s stay home!  But beyond this exhaustive list of limited seriousness -compared to really nightmarish situations read on Internet – I consider myself lucky! But …wait a minute; I’ve a terrible doubt suddenly. Indeed, if You only live twice, can I set up future misadventures? 😉

Logo REVA Dreams Travel

Conclusion: If you want to feel SAFE: travel covered & insured! A complementary travel insurance is strongly recommended (our Visa card could not cover all incidents and we’re not the lucky owners of an Amex Centurion like 007!) My second advice is to push you to be absolutely sure of the total involvement and immediate availability of the owner (or the rental agency) they practice Anticipation, having already lived or apprehended all scenarios! Indeed, a tiny detail can be as destructive as a cluster bomb: check everything… from the aircon to the comfort of the mattress, the fridge or the electricity meter.

I must end on a positive note: My last experience when I was in Moorea in Airbnb (managed by Reva Dreams Travel) …Imagine my pleasure to see an Internet technician 6 hours after my wireless connectivity broke! That’s what I call a real “Customer Service” & it’s worth a toast …with a Dom Pérignon 1955, of course! Cheers 007!

 
From Russia with love (or anywhere else!) and because The world is not enough, we can imagine a Moonraker Airbnb on the moon, soon!  And we can even hope to rent in Mars and beyond because…Tomorrow never dies!
 
(P.S. For those who have already booked their next holiday rental based only on pictures without an investigation about the owner’s seriousness, I advise them to prepare a strong cocktail -Shaken, not Stirred! – As a kind of Quantum of Solace! Cheers !)
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