After reading many Airbnb horror stories over the years, I was a bit hesitant to book one during my recent trip to Kosovo. Accommodation in Prishtina wasn’t originally part of the plan. I had arranged to stay with friends. But then my generous hosts in Kosovo got sick, and my other friends have two small kids and not enough space for an extra guest. Time for Plan B.
The first two nights were spent in a cheap hotel (for which I paid €80 cash). This turned out to be less than stellar. Airbnb rates for a small apartment in Prishtina are very good, so I decided to roll the dice. It had been years since I’d used the platform. And I’d only done so once.
Booking an Airbnb Day of Arrival
I complicated the situation further by not planning ahead. It would have been easy enough to pay for another night at the hotel, but I was eager to get into a different space. I potentially set myself up for failure not booking at least a day ahead. I’ve booked hotels day of arrival, but never an Airbnb. Would this be problematic?
My initial approach was to look for Airbnb hosts with a short response time. There were more than I thought there would be in this category, so this seemed like this might be less of an issue than expected. I settled on a small unit in the city center along the Sheshi Zahir Pajaziti, the pedestrian street in the middle of Prishtina. The apartment was ~$40 per night, which was both cheaper than the hotel and it looked much better.
I fired off a message to the host. He got back to me within an hour that, yes, I’d be able to stay there that night. Sweet.
Airbnb Win: Nice Downtown Studio Apartment in Prishtina
It took several hours for him to have the apartment cleaned, but they got it done in time. I say they, as the host actually had COVID-19 and was quarantined, but his parents live in the same apartment building and handled check-in and the one issue I had during the stay. Communication overall with the host and his parents was excellent. They had the key in hand for me when I arrived and showed me into the place.
The apartment itself was simple, but nice. Much nicer and far more spacious than the hotel, and it was even a hair cheaper after fees. With a comfortable room, tiny kitchen, better shower (although it is a wet floor bathroom), and even a washing machine, I thought it excellent. There was even a tiny balcony that looked out over the Sheshi.
One of the best feature of my Airbnb is how close it is to the main pedestrian street. There are tons of cafes, restaurants, and stores. You’re no more than a 20-minute walk from most sights in the city as well. It’s an excellent central location in Prishtina. You do have to climb 3 flights of stairs to the apartment, but that doesn’t bother me.
I did have one issue: the internet was out for a couple days. I prolonged this by not being in the apartment much, so the host couldn’t have the modem swapped. It was finally fixed the day before I left. Luckily, I had internet access down the street, and there is free (but fairly slow) internet along the pedestrian street if you just need the basics (email, messaging, etc.).
This Airbnb experience turned out well, and prices in Prishtina are excellent. My only other AirBnb experience was in Quebec City with my wife in 2016 where we rented a tiny apartment instead of a hotel. That stay was great as well. This makes me a bit more hopeful about Airbnb, although I do believe is still important to thoroughly review the accommodations. Airbnb corporate is known for not handling guest issues well.
What are your best Airbnb experiences?
Unit I rented: Studio apartment, in Prishtina