This is part one of a two-part, review of Wimdu.com. I was provided with a voucher for the purpose of reviewing their services during my stay in Lima, Peru. All opinions are my own. Click here to read part two.
After traveling around the world for 15 months, I was certifiably burnt out on hostels.
The lack of privacy, the noise, the revolving door of new personalities.
The final straw was a Colombian girl who tried to rob me blind while I was at staying at a Medellin hostel.
After that, I immediately found a room to rent through a friend and spent five relaxing months with an apartment I could call home.
Now that I've turned traveling the world into a full-time job, I'm looking for ways to balance the need to keep moving, with the desire for creature comforts, privacy, and the security of my belongings.
Wimdu is a new, short term apartment rental site that connects property owners around the world with holiday and business travelers.
They invited me to try their services earlier in the year, however, I wanted to wait until I was traveling again.
Today I'm leaving the mountains of Huaraz for the beaches of Lima, where I thought it'd be fun to give Wimdu a try.
This is the first time I've used an apartment rental site, so I'm curious to see how this turns out.
I've been Couchsurfing for five years, but as much as I love that community, I'm increasingly interested in having a private place to call my own, whether that's for one week, or one year.
The Search Process
Earlier this week, I began scouring Wimdu's listings for apartments in Lima.
Getting started is as easy as entering your destination, preferred check-in and check-out dates, and the number of guests in the search box on the home page.
A simple way to search, and a clean design, made the process of reviewing apartments a pleasure.
The results are displayed according to recommendations, however, you can also sort them by price and distance (from the location you entered).
I sorted by price and then used additional filters in the left column to further refine results.
For Room Type I selected “Entire Home/Apartment”, for Neighborhood I picked the trendy “Miraflores” and under Amenities, I checked “Wireless Internet”.
The results update accordingly, and there's a little Google map in the upper left corner with numbered markers that correspond to the available properties.
From this view, I began checking out the individual properties. As always, titles play an important role, and I found myself gravitating toward an apartment entitled “Jacuzzi with ocean view”. Sweet!
As you can see in the screenshot above, you get all the vital info nicely laid out for each listing.
Tabbed horizontal navigation lets you see an overview of the apartment, made up of photos.
By the way, is that a rooftop infinity pool I see in the bottom right?
The Calendar tab is a visual display of the apartment's availability.
The Map shows where in the city it's located, and the Amenities tab is self-explanatory.
Along the right side, you've got the price, and some basic info about the property, and renters' policies.
Below the property details is a Host box which indicates the owner's response rate and a field where you can type your questions to him/her.
If the owner puts together a good listing, you probably won't have many questions.
Further down, there's more space for additional information about the apartment.
For this property, the owner mentions a tax is not included in the cost, the need for the renter to inspect the apartment upon arrival (for damages), and the amount of the required security deposit ($150).
The Booking Process
After reviewing a bunch of similar apartments, I ultimately settled on the apartment in downtown Lima with the rooftop jacuzzi.
When I clicked the “Book It” button, a pop-up appeared with a default inquiry written to the host inquiring about the availability.
I think this is optional, as I didn't get the pop-up on at least one other property for which I clicked the booking button.
I sent the message and heard back from the host via a message in the Wimdu system confirming the apartment's availability for my preferred dates.
Wimdu's messaging system doesn't allow you to include contact information in the messages until the apartment has been booked and paid for. I'm guessing this is a security feature.
With the green light from the host, I was then able to book the apartment. I was happy to see PayPal as a payment option, in addition to major credit cards like Visa.
Again, the easier a site or service can make my life (in this instance, the payment process), the more likely I am to continue using them.
Once the payment was made, I received another message from the host.
We each had a few questions for one another, and we set up a time to meet at the building where I'll provide the security deposit in exchange for the keys to my one-week bachelor pad in Lima's most popular neighborhood.
So far, I've found Wimdu's site and service easy to use. The next test will be when I go to meet the host, get the keys, and check out the property in person.
Will it live up to the photos in the listing? And just how nice is that ocean view from the rooftop jacuzzi? Stay tuned to find out.
Dave is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Go Backpacking and Feastio. He's been to 66 countries and lived in Colombia and Peru. Read the full story of how he became a travel blogger.
Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:
- G Adventures for small group tours.
- World Nomads for travel insurance.
- Hostelworld for booking hostels.
- Rail Europe for train passes.
Wednesday 26th of October 2016
Our disastrous experience with Wimdu We have been cheated by Wimdu: we rent an apartment in Reykjavik for 4 people, two nights, in June 2016. We were unable to check in there. The host address was incorrect and the contact telephone was not registered (checked by local police). Wimdu charged immediately, but the host gave no sign of life ever, despite our repeated attempts to contact him, to discuss the details of check-in. Wimdu has not wanted to take any responsibility despite being the only money and communication managers with the host. We tried to inquire in the area about the apartment but nobody knew anything, neither the police. We had to find an alternative accommodation and the next morning we contacted Wimdu via its website, several hours before 24 h indicated by them as a deadline to pay the host. The service customer only serves to pretend they have, because they do not solve anything. Their excuse was they had already paid the host. This service is diffuse and they give preset answers, without capacity for solving problems and taking care of the quality of their offer, (they still are offering the same apartment). It seems they do not have any interest in keep customers. Wimdu is like a web of contacts that you do not know how many are real.
Friday 19th of August 2016
I used Wimdu several times already. Beginning of this month I booked for my next holidays in October. Always worked fine, super easy-friendly, and what I love the most - they always give me voucher after I review my last stay! (obviously it is a marketing strategy) but I don't care, I still get the discount!
Thursday 11th of August 2016
I actually had a nice experience with Wimdu - everything went without a glitch until i arrived at the apartment. The host was not present to do the check-in and i tried contacting him, and after that i contacted Wimdu and got a quick and efficient reply. The problem got solved on the spot, as the agent on the phone with me contacted the host and in the end i had a very pleasant stay. I feel comfortable in booking with Wimdu as i know i can contact them when needed.
Wednesday 1st of October 2014
The worst experience ever!!!! We have booked an apartment through Wimdu and just a day before travelling we received an email from them that due to some unknown reasons our booking has been cancelled. Tried to call their call centre for over an hour before I finally got through just to hear that they will investigate the matter but they can't help me resolve the problem. Tried to call them next day for an update without the success. Ended up travelling without having the accommodation booked and had to spend our first day of holidays looking for a room! Very stressful experience overall and will never use them again!!!!!!!
Wednesday 27th of February 2013
Started listing on Wimdu after AirBnB was subjected to new tax demands by our lovely government. If ever I've disliked an organization, this would be it.
1. CONTROLLING If AirBnB is that cool older sibling who trusts you to know what you are doing, Wimdu is that nagging one who is consistently looking over your shoulder to make sure you're responding to every single inquiry and punishing you with leeeeengthy politely-written essays - oops, emails - and the deactivation of your listings if you're 1/ not, or 2/ declining, even if a male is requesting a stay in a space with the heading "all-female."
I know when I receive a Wimdu message. My inbox has this cool way of notifying me with a message with the heading "New message on Wimdu." I think it's called an "e-mail." It even contains a snippet of the incoming message if I click on it, which I do to see if it's another male hoping to get lucky and score a stay in the female room before bothering with logging in to respond and whatnot. I don't need big brother Wimdu to get all up in my face with a 3-page letter every time I don't respond or decline someone. Either I'm full or am considering long-term residency applicants so don't have the space for short-term stays at the moment. Stop needing to look over my shoulder at every turn.
2. INCOMPETENT Twice now, I've had calendar blocking issues. On dates that had never been touched on Wimdu. Marked as unavailable. Thing with dates marked as such is that you can't click on them on the otherwise interactive calendar. So you can't change them to, well, available. Tried five times with refreshing plus five more on the drop-down calendar submission form below it to no avail - the screen didn't even register that any information had been submitted for review or otherwise. So I relinquished to contacting support.
Two days. It took two days to clarify that the calendar was not interactive and, hence, could not be changed on the host computer end. Wasn't the description above clear enough? You tell me, readers, you tell me, because Wimdu support obviously wasn't getting it. And after the two days:
"Please give me the exact dates, price and minimum stay and I can [change availability] for you." Dates not available had been specified in the email you just responded to. Dollar amount listed on all available dates on the calendar. Minimum stay, none, as it has always been in my default settings.
Did I mention that I had two separate guest reservations on standby waiting for this process to be completed, which I made clear several times in communication? Both ended up booking with us via a different service provider. Did I also mention that I'd had a similar issue on AirBnB last year but it was a glitch from my calendar updates rather than an "out of nowhere" unavailability, and AirBnB took care of it as soon as I contacted them?