When travelling having a roof over your head is the number one priority. You want to feel comfortable; obviously, and no place is like home, but being away from home you try to find a place that is as comfortable as much as possible. My time living in Valencia hasn’t been as simple as I would have liked and it went a bit pear shaped. So here is my experience trying to find a place to rest my head in Valencia.
A friend that turned
I came to Valencia to live with a friend. He had a spare room, so I said: “why no!” He helped me to settle in and took me to Turia (the river park). But that was the only place he showed me, even though he told me he would be my tour guide once I got to Valencia. Instead, I had to find my own way around. I used Couchsurfing and meetup to meet people and find things to do. Click here to learn how to use social media to meet new people. Ironically I had discovered more places and things to do in one week than he had done in 7 months of being in Valencia. Furthermore, he kept bugging me to book flights as soon as possible, then once I got there he locked himself in his room was rude.
3 week later….
He kicked me out. The problem was that the buzzer stopped working, there was only one key between us, and I had run out of data. Therefore we couldn’t communicate to check where each other was. He ordered me to get credit, but the data plan was monthly, so I would have to wait for the next month to top up. He was not happy with this answer and told me to have a solution. I wasn’t too bothered, as I knew the time he came home so I could meet him at the flat so I didn’t see the issue. Then he demanded me to stay in the flat all day until he came home. I was completely outraged and refused. The next time he spoke to me, he told me to leave. Talk about making mountains out of molehills.
Thereafter, I stayed at the Home Youth Hostel and I liked it there. The girls on the reception were very friendly and helpful and even told me where to get cheap Paella, excellent. The hostel had normal beds, no bunk beds, and it was very clean. I stayed in a room with two other girls. On my first night, there was an Italian and a Swiss girl. We went out to have tapas but it started to rain so we just find somewhere nearby. It wasn’t the greatest restaurant and the prices weren’t to my liking, but I enjoyed the company. On my last night, I shared a room with a Polish and a Germany girl. However, I stayed in while they went out. It had clean rooms and bathroom, with nice staff. The only thing that annoyed me was that you couldn’t cook before 8pm. I’m not used to eating at Spanish time, so this wasn’t good for me. The rooms had been booked out so I had to find another place to stay. Other hostels were more expensive because they raise their prices as I was planning to book from Friday.
I stayed in an Airbnb accommodation and I thought my accommodation saga would be over, I had what you would call an Airbnb bad experience. The host was nice and showed me the flat. There were two other people and him living in the flat. I didn’t know the living situation with the other two and thought that they were a couple, thus I thought they slept in one room and he slept in the other, as there were three rooms, but then I woke up to see this…
I was surprised that he was sleeping in the living room. The other two were not a couple thus had a room each. To my knowledge, this goes against Airbnb policy, but I didn’t say anything. Furthermore, the flat wasn’t clean. There was black stuff in the sink; I couldn’t guess what it was. Then there was the bathroom; there was a concoction of smells including damp, dirty towels and urine.
I had to mentally prepare myself to go to the bathroom. The fridge also smelt of food that had a second death, basically rotten food. Plus he used a dirty dishcloth to wipe the dishes. Believe it on not I stayed there for a week, as I had paid for it. After I left I complained to Airbnb via Twitter and they said the situation I was in was against their policy. Additionally, they said that I should’ve contacted them immediately, but I didn’t know about this policy. Even so, they gave me a $15 voucher, basically a one night stay. Was that it? Furthermore, the host claimed that I broke one of his floor tiles and charged me £15 (€14). As I rejected this he lowered it to £5 (€4), which I rejected again. Airbnb didn’t charge this to my account.
Knight in shining armour
A guy I met through Couchsurfing hangouts, told me a few websites for rentals. There was one that I had already been told about, but I didn’t enquire further because I couldn’t afford the deposit. But he told me it’s worth a try and to tell them my situation. As he spoke Spanish he said he would speak on my behalf, which I was very grateful for. Within 20 minutes of searching, I had a place to stay. The owner is a Colombian woman with her daughter and two other girls renting. The following day I went to the flat and she invited me to eat with her.
I thought that this was very kind of her and I couldn’t imagine being treated like this by a Spaniard. The food was GOOD, I only had a sandwich before this point. The flat is clean and she’s a lovely lady, didn’t speak a word of English and I didn’t speak Spanish, as thanks to Google translate (IOS/Android) we were able to communicate. You’ve got to love technology! Click here to learn about useful apps you need when travelling.
All in all my accommodation situation has been an adventure in its self. This was not the plan, but as a traveller plans count for nothing as you’ve got to be prepared for anything. The ideal situation would have been to live with a local person via Couchsurfing, click here for more about it, but I was unsuccessful in getting a reply in Valencia. In the end, I reported the situation to Airbnb via Twitter (power to the Twitter complaints) and they were on my side and gave me a voucher. At least that’s something. But, hey, every experience is a learning experience.
- When booking a hostel note that book for only the weekend the prices will be high, so if possible book starting the weekend and check out beyond the weekend i.e. Friday to Monday/Tuesday.
- Sometimes you can get a discount if you book for a week or a monthly.
- Book directly from the hostel, as third parties add their commission.
- When using Airbnb if you feel that something is not right, check their policy and inform them immediately and they can hold payment to the host.
- Make sure that you ask any question you had before you book the accommodation.
- If possible visit the accommodation before you book, however, this isn’t always possible. I have done this in the past and I was glad that I did so, but on this occasion in Valencia, this was not possible.
- If you can avoid sharing with the host, renting the whole house is better especially when you’re in a group, it can be worth the money.