Iesha Small

writing, career pivots, side hustles

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My 11 star Airbnb experience

Forget a bottle of wine and fancy coffee table books what do we really need for accommodation for business travel?

In my previous life as a teacher it’s fair to say I didn’t do a great deal of overnight travel for work. I did once have a trip to Poland sponsored by the British Council about something related to community safety and of course there were a few residential with the kids at the end of the year but that’s about it. 2019 has seen me travelling and staying overnight for work more than I’m used to. Most recently was a trip to British Columbia in Canada exploring some of the reforms they’ve recently made to school curricula and assessment.  We travelled all across the province and stayed in 5 different sets of accommodation over 10 days. The varied experiences along with some of my earlier experiences in the UK this year got me thinking about what my perfect accommodation for business travel needed to have.


  • Wifi – it’s 2019 and it’s a work trip, not really sure what else to say here
  • Iron- I don’t generally use one at home but when supposedly smart clothes have been crumpled in a suitcase even I have some shame

Nice touches that I’ve experienced from different hosts:

  • Chocolate and personalised hellos written on the white board in the entrance.
  • Slippers on the bed along with the usual towel
  • Complimentary bottled water
  • Guide books of the local area
  • A “welcome to the flat” bottle of wine
  • Toothpaste (sadly not always a given)
  • Watching home made Chinese dumplings

Night time essentials

All of the above are really nice but the number one thing that people really want when they are travelling for business is a good night’s sleep. Sometimes you’ve been travelling for hours and perhaps Bumbleton-upon-Sea wasn’t top of your bucket list destinations. Even if you are lucky enough to be working somewhere you’ve always wanted to go it’s still pretty much work o’clock all day often from pretty early to very late to justify the trip.  Often there is work-related socialising in the evening so you need a decent night’s sleep and this is where some accommodation (especially if they are Airbnb and under a certain price range) can fall down. Below is what I want but haven’t always got:

Black out curtains. Anything at all to block out the light streaming in through the windows early morning

A comfortable bed

Walls and a ceiling that are thicker than cardboard so that next door or your colleague breathing doesn’t keep you awake or wake you up.

A bedside light that can be turned off without getting out of bed

A lockable bathroom door without a peep hole in it- amazingly this has been missing in shared accommodation I once had the pleasure of staying in

Morning essentials

Sometimes breakfast isn’t available but the first two…nope haven’t always had those…

  • Working hot water
  • A powerful shower
  • Granola, natural yoghurt and a fruit will do nicely thanks. Porridge with a banana also welcome.

What I’d secretly love

The following are not essentials but if a host included them I’d definitely think they were something special:

  • A dressing gown- yep I’m secretly 80 years old and I don’t care
  • An eye mask- just in case the blackout blinds and curtains let a minute amount of light in
  • Some earplugs (not prev used)
  • Shoe polish
  • A personal mini fridge in each bedroom

What next?

I really love my sleep (and my food) so anything that shows a host or hotel has thought carefully about that impresses me. If you have to travel for your job what are your essential requirements and what world make it an 11 star experience for you? How is this different to what you need when travelling for pleasure?

Inspiration for this post

I get ideas from everywhere. This post was inspired by recent work travel but also two other key items that I’d come across ages ago but had been floating in the soup inside my head


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My 11 star Airbnb experience