We were heading for Los Angeles but I still hadn’t found a place to stay. We wanted to sleep near Venice beach to relax, enjoy the sun and watch surfers. All youth hostels and hotels were fully booked. So I decided to put Airbnb to the test.

We made up our Airbnb profile in no time and started to look for hosts. Airbnb suggested to contact multiple hosts in order to quickly find a place to stay. We contacted 3 hosts around Venice Beach and Santa Monica. Four hours later we got turned down once but had found two other hosts eager to welcome us.
We decided to stay with Sarah, a british actress and comedienne who had moved to Venice Beach to make it big in Hollywood.

Sarah was into vegan food and chanting the Nichiren buddhist Nam-myoho-renge-kyo while checking her emails. 

Her place had flashy colored walls and a big garden which was excellent for chilling out. Everything was clean yet a bit messy at the same time. It felt different from staying at a B&B or hotel. I felt like I was staying at a friend’s house; even though I had just met this person.
We were welcome to hang around the living room and store our food in the fridge. We got a set of house keys so we could come and go as we pleased.
Sarah even had two bikes set aside for us to bike along the coastline. This turned out to be an excellent way to discover Venice Beach.

Biking around Venice Beach Canals

Biking at the Venice Beach boardwalk

I felt like I was living in LA like a local. Pretty amazing.

The only downside to the Airbnb system is the cost. The extra service fee (6-12%) increases the bill quite a lot. You also need to check if there are any additional cleaning fees and deposits. I ended up paying €267 for 3 nights. I’m pretty sure I could have found a cheaper hotel or youth hostel if they hadn’t been fully booked.

But then again I wouldn’t have visited the great local restaurants and pubs Sarah had recommended.
And I also wouldn’t have gotten that glimpse of what it’s like to be living at Venice Beach.

Café Gratitude
Café Gratitude food