For those of you who don’t know already, Airbnb is a peer-to-peer website for people to list, find, and rent lodging. It’s a good alternative to hotel accommodation, particularly in places where hotel prices are high.

Here’s a bit of airbnb history from Wikipedia:

Shortly after moving to San Francisco in October 2007, Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia created the initial concept for AirBed & Breakfast during the Industrial Design Conference held by Industrial Designers Society of America. The original site offered short-term living quarters, breakfast, and a unique business networking opportunity for attendees who were unable to book a hotel in the saturated market.

At the time, roommates Chesky and Gebbia could not afford the rent for their loft in San Francisco. They made their living room into a bed and breakfast, accommodating three guests on air mattresses and providing homemade breakfast.

In February 2008, technical architect Nathan Blecharczyk joined as the third co-founder of AirBed & Breakfast. During the company’s initial stages, the founders focused on high-profile events where alternative lodging was scarce. The site officially launched on August 11, 2008.

Airbnb now has over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 190 countries and the company is valued at $20 billion.

We wanted to stay in Burbank as it sounded like a nice neighbourhood, that was also a short ride from the movie studios, Hollywood and many of the events arranged for the 30th Anniversary of Back to the Future celebrations.

I found this ad on the airbnb website: Our bright, beautifully furnished 2bd/2bth condo sits on a tree-lined street just mins from Warner Bros, Universal, ABC, NBC & Disney Studios. Underground parking, gym, hot tub, on-site laundry, BBQ grills. Just 10 mins from Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

Price was $147 per night. And that was a good price for two rooms, both en suite, a living room and parking. Hotels in the area were charging more than that for a standard room, plus parking.

I booked ten nights. I suppose my only concern was what if the place became unavailable, perhaps due to a change in the owner’s circumstances or some damage caused by a previous renter – it isn’t like a hotel, where they can just offer another room. As it was, everything was fine well except the dishwasher, which Nikki had advised in advance was broken.

The owner, Nikki, was really friendly and helpful in our communications. Closer to the date, Nikki sent a detailed self-check in document that provided lots of information. Nikki also offered to have someone meet us when we arrived, but we decided we’d be okay.

The apartment was clean and tidy, with plenty of provisions in the kitchen and bathrooms. The Wi-Fi was fast and easy to connect. Nikki had also written a longer guide about the apartment with plenty of tips about bars, restaurants and shops in the surrounding area. It was great to have shops, bars and restaurants within walking distance.

Nikki and I used WhatsApp to communicate with each other and she was always quick to respond to any questions or issues I had.

We got a bit carried away with our Avis rental and took a giant Ford Expedition SUV. This was too high to fit in the underground car park and so we parked in the street. Not knowing all the US/Burbank rules resulted in three separate $48 parking fines; too close to a fire hydrant, parked facing the wrong direction and just when we though we knew the rules – parked on the day when there was street cleaning. So bring a smaller vehicle!

This was a good experience from Airbnb and I’d certainly book Nikki’s place again if I was visiting LA.