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We absolutely love Airbnb and have stayed in over 15 Airbnb homes! These include our $60/night Airbnb in Bangkok to our 15 person rental in Venice to our stays in Amsterdam, Costa Rica and Cuba. With all these booking we have become experts in picking a rental homes. If you haven’t joined Airbnb yet, sign up here and save $40 on your first stay. No need to be nervous about booking an Airbnb, just follow my 8 Tips to Guarantee a Great Airbnb Experience.
Read the Airbnb Reviews
It is very important to read the reviews of the Airbnb host. While you shouldn’t let one person’s negative experience taint all the positive reviews be very diligent in reading as many reviews as possible. Unlike a hotel, there isn’t a manager you can go downstairs to speak with if something is not to your liking to get it fixed immediately.
Be Wary of Booking Airbnb Hosts With No Reviews
I know that every Airbnb host has to start somewhere but I’m not interested in my family being a host’s guinea pig. I personally only book properties that have a minimum of 10 reviews with at least 3 being in the past 2 months. The only time I break this rule is if the host has other properties with excellent reviews. Airbnb has Super Hosts who have multiple properties and maintain a positive rating of 95% and above so I at least know the host is trustworthy and keeps up their properties.
Review the Airbnb Listings Photos
The photos are just as important as the reviews. They will show you exactly what to expect in the home, bedroom configurations, bathroom set-up, TVs, etc. If it looks a mess in the photos it will most likely look a mess in real life. When reviewing photos of the home check for consistencies in the listing. If you find there aren’t photos of the bathroom or the listing states 3 bedrooms but you only see pictures of 2 ask the host to provide there. If they’re reluctant it’s probably a bad sign.
This is the Airbnb we stayed in during our trip to Honolulu, it was half the cost of getting a hotel. Amenities included free parking, a washer/dryer, and restaurants on the same block.
Research the Location of the Airbnb
While Airbnb won’t provide the exact address of the rental until your booking is made it does give the proximity if you look at the location map. With this, you can typically find nearby cross streets that will allow you to figure out the neighborhood. Be sure to research this for safety as well as access to public transportation. If you’ll be without a car you’ll want to know how walkable the area is.
Message the Airbnb Host
Even if the listing is an Instant Booking I always message the host first. This allows me to see how quickly they respond and how helpful they are. If it takes them days to respond to your inquiry of when you’re trying to put cash in their pockets imagine how poorly their responses will be once they have it.
Ask for Any Special Requests Up Front
One of the things I love most about Airbnb is their hosts typically are much better at accommodating special requests. When traveling to Europe we typically take the red-eye landing us in our destination at 6 or 7AM. While most hotels won’t allow you to check in that early, most Airbnb hosts will and at no additional cost but ask in advance. As someone who travels with young children this is a huge deal as we usually need a nap before heading out to explore.
Determine What You Need to Bring and What is Provided
While unlimited towels, wash clothes, soap and other basics are expected at hotels not all Airbnb’s offer these. If it’s not clear in the listing ask your host if there are any basic amenities you need to bring.
Confirm the Check-In Procedure
Each Airbnb is different when it comes to checking in. In some cases, the host will meet you at the home to let you in and show you around. Other times there will be a lockbox with the key or a door with a keypad. We have also stayed in homes where we picked the key up from a neighbor or neighborhood store clerk. Just be clear of the check-in prior to your arrival so there aren’t any surprises when you get there.
Once you arrive to your Airbnb do a walkthrough of the place to check for any major issues. Look for things like misrepresented photos, an incorrect location, or cleanliness issues. If things are unacceptable take photos and be sure to contact Airbnb’s customer service immediately. Contacting them within 24 hours can make processing any necessary refund easier.
Why Stay in an Airbnb?
As a family of four Airbnb has saved us a lot of money and given our kids a lot more space to run around over a cramped hotel room, like our family-friendly Airbnb in Copenhagen. We get to live like locals and have a kitchen to cook meals when we don’t feel like eating out. Now sit back, relax and enjoy the savings and extra space booking an Airbnb has given you. Don’t forget to save $40 on your first stay by signing up here.
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