It's no secret that Airbnb is completely changing the way in which we travel. Many travelers across the globe are ditching the traditional hotel bookings and heading straight to Airbnb instead.
What is so great about Airbnb is that it connects travelers to real-life locals for a more authentic travel experience. When people travel, more often than not—they're looking for more than just an all-inclusive vacation at a resort or a stay in a hotel with room service. While those means of traveling are awesome—Airbnb allows you to live more like a local.
Whether you're staying for a couple days, a week, a month—you will feel more at home in a suite that offers more personality than a hotel room.
You can choose to stay in an Airbnb that has shared common spaces, because why pay more when you only need a bedroom? Or you can choose to have an entire place to yourself. Usually equipped with a kitchen, this option allows you to bring in ingredients from local shops and make your own dinner at 'home.' This invaluable experience gives you a glimpse into the everyday life of the people who live there.
Travel is so much more than just flying to a new place. It's about exploring all your surroundings, trying new cuisines, learning about various cultures and living like the locals do.
Airbnb is the perfect platform to explore just that. But there are also some things you need to keep in mind before booking your stay. Don't worry—we've got you covered.
20 Know What You're Looking For - Search High And Low
Airbnb is an awesome tool that allows you to choose from a wide variety of listings. Obviously they have listings for homes, but they also have options if you want experiences or restaurant recommendations. For your stay, you can choose to have the entire place to yourself, a private room where you share some common spaces or a shared room where you stay in a shared space with other people.
Think about how often you will be at 'home' and how much privacy you need.
Check off the options that most apply to you. Airbnb also allows you to choose from a variety of property types, including: house, hostel, loft, cottage, bed and breakfast, apartment, villa, chalet and more. Simply check off the kind of accommodation that most appeals to you.
19 Sign Up - Create A Profile
Let the host get to know you a bit before you book your stay there. It's important to add a photo and some general information about your interests on your profile to help achieve this. Hosts want to see that you're a real person so it's a good idea to link in your social media accounts as well.
It also helps to write a description that shows a bit of who you are so they can make activity suggestions for when you're staying in the area. Establishing a good relationship with your Airbnb host is of utmost importance throughout the duration of your trip so this is a good place to start.
18 Narrow It Down - Apply Filters
What kind of experience are you looking for? You need to be very specific when searching for a rental. You can tick off filters that line up with exactly what you want to ensure you only see results that apply to you. Make sure to select a price range that fits within your budget and the number of rooms, beds and bathrooms you need. Don't forget about amenities like a hairdryer, WiFi and anything else you'll need during your stay.
Also check off any facilities you'd like the place to have, like a parking spot or a pool. Hosts specify house rules—if you're looking for a place to have a party, is suitable for your pet, or where you're able to smoke—make sure to check off the boxes before searching.
17 All About The Location - Choose Wisely
One of the more tricky things about booking a place with Airbnb is you won't know the exact address until it's confirmed. This rule to protect both parties and it's a good thing to keep in mind before actually booking a property. While you won't be given the exact address, you can learn roughly where it's located.
The site allows you to view the distance between the property and major attractions in the area. This will give you a good idea of where it is and how long it will take you to get from point A to B.
16 Try To Book With A Superhost - A Safer Route
When it's your first time booking with Airbnb, it may be a good idea to book with a Superhost instead. Certain members get a badge identifying themselves as a Superhost when they have an impressive record on Airbnb. These hosts are generally of the highest quality and are ranked based on multiple assessments made four times throughout the year.
They are judged on a number of factors including response time and having no cancellations. These types of hosts prove to be the most secure and respond quickly to your inquiries which is definitely comforting when it's your first time booking.
15 Know What Others Think - Read The Reviews
One of the most important things you should do before booking your stay on Airbnb is to do your homework on the host and their history. Airbnb makes this part easy because you can see exactly what past guests have thought about their host and the property in general. A review system is in place which is based on a number of factors.
These include: location, check-in process, cleanliness of suite, overall value, host communication skills and accuracy as a whole. Guests can also rate a property from 1 to 5. This gives future guests an inside look into the host and the property and whether or not it's a good idea to book with them.
14 Get In Touch - Message The Host
One of the most important things during the Airbnb booking process is to have good communication with your host or potential host. Use the built-in messaging system to get in contact and ask them any questions you may have to help you make your decision.
You are able to contact the host anytime throughout the booking process which is comforting especially when it's your first time using the platform to book your trip. It's also great because Airbnb has a record of all the conversations you do have just in case something changes. This also helps to establish a relationship with your host early on.
13 Attention To Detail - Carefully Review The Photos
Much like an online dating profile, photos may not always be exactly how they appear. They might be taken with angles that show it's larger than it actually is. Make sure there are lots of clear photos of the property before you book so you won't be disappointed upon arrival.
You want to know exactly where you will be staying and should have a good idea of the overall layout of the suite. If they leave out a photo of a specific room that's also a red flag so be careful and carefully review the photos of the listing before you choose to book it. Better safe than sorry!
12 Double Check - How Many Rooms Are There
One common mistake that people make when booking on Airbnb is making assumptions. For example, when reading 'sleeps four' yet, in fact, there's only one bedroom. At first glance, you may think there are two or even four bedrooms included in the listing but a lot of the time it could be a pull-out couch in a common space.
There's nothing wrong with that but depending on the type of trip you're looking for, it's important to know exactly what you're getting yourself into. Especially when you're traveling with a big group—you want to ensure everyone feels comfortable with where they're sleeping.
11 Look Out For Hidden Costs - Be Careful
When you're looking at the price it's really important to make sure it reflects the dates you're actually going. Also keep in mind that taxes will be applied. Quite often, a number of Airbnb hosts will also charge a 'cleaning fee.' Make sure to keep all these costs in mind before actually booking and make sure it is still within your budget.
There's nothing worse than incurring a whole lot of extra costs you weren't expecting and can't afford. Being mindful of this will ensure you don't have any surprises once you arrive and that your wallet can rest easy.
10 All About The Dates - Be Flexible
If you have the privilege of being a bit more flexible with your trip, it'll help you in the long run. It's a great idea to book your accommodation before your flight so you can be a bit more flexible with the dates. Depending on where you're traveling, some of these places are in really high demand and it's important they line up with the exact dates you will be there.
You also can save a lot of money by being more flexible with your date range so keep that in mind when you're searching through different properties. Why spend extra money if you don't have to?
9 Knowledge Is Power - Your Stay Might Be Illegal
A lot of the backlash that has faced Airbnb is around illegal subletting. Some of the hosts advertising their listing on Airbnb might be doing so illegally. While this shouldn't necessarily deter you from booking it because that's for them to deal with—it's a good thing to keep in mind.
They always say knowledge is power, and it's a good idea to know what you're getting into. While it's not always breaking the law, sometimes the host is just slightly bending the condo rules by renting their place out. Keeping this in mind will help you be informed and make the best decisions possible.
8 Deal With Rejection - It Happens
Airbnb users may become frustrated with hosts either ignoring their requests or simply just rejecting them. With popular properties, this can quite often happen. More often than not the problem is that you don't have enough information about yourself on your profile. Or you don't have any reviews yet.
Much like screening for a job, people want to make sure someone 'safe' and 'clean' is coming into their space. They want to ensure the safety of themselves and their property, which is completely understandable. As stated above, add some of your interests into your bio and just be patient. The right listing will come along.
7 Look At Things To Do - All About Experiences
Before booking where you stay, it's a good idea to look at things to do in the area. This also includes Airbnb Experiences. This is another part of the platform that allows you to essentially go on tour guides of the area and partake in a variety of activities. You want to ensure where you're staying is close to these, or at least easily accessible by transit or car if you want to rent one out.
Don't just pick a place that looks cool but is completely inconvenient. While having a nice place to stay is key, you have to remember you're likely going to be out and about for the majority of your stay.
6 Have A Back-Up Plan - It Helps
Lots of things can happen in Airbnb hosts' lives or you could request a booking and be rejected. You're best off being super prepared for whatever the outcome is, so make sure to have a few options. Keep some properties in mind to take a bit of the stress off in case Plan A doesn't work out.
One of the places you want to stay in might not even be available during the dates you request. Know what you want but also be open to other options so you're not tied down to one place. This will help prevent you from being disappointed if your first choice doesn't pan out.
5 Do Your Homework - Consider Other Neighbourhoods
Before you lock one location in place, compare it with other neighbourhoods in the area. You want to have the best trip possible and location really is everything. If you think you're set on one place but are iffy about the location then you should open up your options and explore what other neighbourhoods have to offer before booking.
Keep in mind what sights you want to see and the activities you want to do during your trip and let that factor into your decision-making process. Don't book until you're absolutely sure that will be the best location for you and other guests.
4 If It's Too Good To Be True - The Host May Not Be Human
Sometimes you will come across a stunning property that is super cheap. It may have you thinking it's too good to be true. If you find yourself thinking that, chances are your instincts are correct and you should just go with your gut.
While Airbnb does catch most phishing scams, some do still exist—it is the Internet after all. Be sure to read between the lines of reviews and ensure your host is an actual human being and the listing is legitimate before you request a booking. Being aware of this and going with your gut instinct is key to avoiding these types of situations.
3 Be Honest With The Host - Tell Them You're A Newbie
There's no shame in being new to the Airbnb game. Being upfront and honest with your host will help them to understand a bit more about you and be a little more patient throughout the booking process.
This will allow you a chance to ask as many questions as you may have and establish a good relationship with the host right off the bat. Communication is key and if they know you're new, they may even do extra things to help you out a bit like offer suggestions on where to eat or places to go in the area.
2 Pay Attention To Details - Look At The Star Ratings
Don't just look at what guests had to say about a specific property. It's a two-way street and often if a user has had a less than perfect experience they don't want to blast that host on their listing with a negative review, as it could mean getting one back themselves.
They don't want to look bad to future hosts because they can also access this information. With this being said, it's equally as important to look at how many stars a property has as well as what the guest had to say about it. You have to do a bit of guesswork and read between the lines a bit but it's totally worth it.
1 Don't Be Intimidated - Just Relax
When it's your first time booking with Airbnb it can feel overwhelming. It's totally different to booking with a hotel because you're dealing with regular people and not people who work in the tourism industry. But the important thing is to relax and keep an open mind.
Airbnb is a great platform to find places you otherwise would never find. It also offers a more unique setting which will really add something extra to your travels. Be aware of the risks, pay attention to details and communicate thoroughly with your host—you'll be fine.
Now you're ready to book your accommodation through Airbnb. Get ready to have a one-of-a-kind experience and start living like a local.