Arriving During The Fair
I wrote the other day that planning our trip to Colombia at the last minute had backfired. The main reason for this was that we decided to visit Medellin during their largest annual festival, Feria de las Flores.
While visiting during the fair is amazing from a cultural perspective, it gave us slight problems when booking flight tickets & hotels. The fair runs from August 1-10 and with our arrival on the 8th, we were coming on the final weekend.
Luckily I was able to piece together the Holiday Inn Express for Saturday (tonight) and Four Points by Sheraton for Sunday on points (neither was available for both nights), but there simply weren’t any hotels that I could book with points for Friday night. In fact, the cheapest hotels were around $200.
Airbnb To The Rescue?
Naturally I started to seek other solutions and turned to Airbnb for cheaper options. While Airbnb is a fantastic service which allows you to rent apartments or even rooms from private individuals, it utterly failed me in this situation.
The reason for the failure? Everyone I contacted on Airbnb eventually responded to say their space was full. Unfortunately these people never updated their calendar to show the room as occupied. Each time I tried to book a room, a hold was put on my card and I couldn’t try to book another room until my request was denied.
After over 24 hours and four cancellations, I gave up on Airbnb. Thankfully I use a number of tools and turned to Travelpony which didn’t have any hotels listed days before when I searched.
Travelpony Saves The Day
Fortunately this time I found a new hotel option out by the airport. It was the luxury Movich Hotel Las Lomas which is owned by the same company as the Intercontinetal here in Medellin.
On Travelpony the hotel was going for $157 including taxes which was about $40 cheaper than anywhere else. While we had to spend our first night outside of the city, it was a beautiful hotel and I was even able to use my Travelpony credit.
We finally reached the city of Medellin today and I can tell you it is fantastic. Today we spent some time walking around and tomorrow is the big parade that concludes the Flower Festival. We can’t wait.
While Airbnb is a very useful service, I wouldn’t recommend using it for last minute bookings since it can take awhile for people to respond and there often is phantom inventory being shown.
With that said, we have enjoyed Airbnb in the past and I am glad that Travelpony was able to get me a last second hotel at about a 20% discount. If you haven’t used either of the services, Travelpony offers $35 off of your first booking and Airbnb offers $25 off.
Note: If you sign up for either service with the links in this post, you receive your credit and I receive a $25 credit as a referral. You certainly don’t have to use my links, but if you do, I sincerely appreciate it!
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[…] had mixed experiences earlier this year when trying to use airbnb for last minute travel, however I did use it in Valparaiso, […]
Yeah, we’ve used Airbnb several times with great success, but the whole calendar thing can definitely be a bit frustrating at times. I hadn’t heard of Travelpony until now, but I’ll definitely check it out now.