Good Hosting

Kelsey Breseman
4 min readJan 26, 2024
Photo by Eileen

Twelve years ago on our Chile trip, Rick and I would often imagine an ideal backpacker place: something simple, good wifi but not too many frills. Cheap but nice. Since then, we've hosted and been hosted dozens if not hundreds of times. But Portugal feels the most like someone else has played that game: making a vision, following through.

The rooms are simple but the Wifi is strong. The free tea in the lobby is loose-leaf, tisanes as well as proper teas. In another home, a host has a rack for surfboards in the foyer: not my dream, but someone's.

There are few places to eat in these off-season surf towns, and food isn't cheap in general, but the pizza place in Fonte do Vale makes their crusts with sourdough, and the €11 deconstructed burger platter in Carrapateira looks better than nice dinners I've had out in big cities. The house wine is €2.80 and good.

Dana was the first to open my parents' house as an Airbnb, back when she needed more money for college. A shrewd businessperson, she intentionally set rates below market for the area for the first months, and offered sumptuous breakfast service to her guests. Fresh cookies were placed in the room.

I ran the place as a high-throughput guesthouse a year or two later, an income stream between travels, on fresh listings of the same rooms. Everyone else was out on travels, and I gave the hotel-like…