Where are you going?
First things first: where are you going, and how long are you going for? Putting this information into Airbnb will show you all the available listings to you, and from then you can see what the average price of listings in the area is, and start making some decisions. If you’re staying in a city, you might find that staying a bit further afield is far cheaper than the centre. Airbnb have a few different property options too, so if that city-centre location is over budget for a flat to yourself, you might be better off renting a room in a property and sharing with others. You can click ‘more filters’ when searching for a listing to select different kinds of accommodation too, so if you want to stay on a boat, you totally can! Once you’ve found a listing you like the look of…
What is the listing like?
Are there sufficient photos? Has it got a rating of 4/5 stars? These aren’t necessarily must-haves, but for me I like to know EXACTLY where I’m going, and I’d rather see a million random pictures of a flat than only one that shows me nothing. If it’s a relatively new listing and it’s currently got 3 stars, you might find that giving it a chance works in your favour – maybe the host is still learning and making improvements, but otherwise I’d be wary. Reading reviews can help you make an informed decision, so I can’t stress doing that enough! You can also see if the listing has all the amenities you require – free wifi is always a big one for me.
Do your research on the host
Once you’ve found your perfect listing, it’s time to research your host. Don’t look them up on Facebook or anything, but reading reviews about your host can give you an idea of whether you will have a good time or not. Are they helpful? Are they friendly? You can message your host in advance to discuss any concerns or ask questions about their listing, so this is a good option if you have doubts. Both hosts and guests have the option to verify themselves in a variety of ways – adding a phone number, syncing to Facebook and adding a Government ID are all good ways of checking that someone is who they say they are.
It’s time to book!
Once you’ve found the perfect listing with a reliable host in your area, it’s time to make that booking! Some listings will allow you to book straight away, whereas with others you’ll have to message the host first. Whatever the situation, ALWAYS pay through Airbnb and keep your messages on there too so that if anything goes wrong you have proof of what’s been agreed or discussed. Most hosts will have set check in/out times, but if you know your travel arrangements will not make this possible then shoot your host a message to see if there’s a way around it!
After you’ve booked, I’d suggest emailing your host and seeing if they have any recommendations of things you can do whilst you’re there, and just generally staying in contact until your visit. Find out where you need to go to get to the listing when you arrive and just do your best to make sure everything runs smoothly.
What happens when I’m there?
Once you’re there and you’ve met the host and you’re settled in, it’s all pretty straightforward. If they’ve given you any requirements to stick to (like no noise after 11pm or taking short showers to conserve hot water) respect their wishes and enjoy your trip! Treat the apartment as if it were your own, as hosts can leave reviews of guests too, and you don’t want a reputation as an untidy or rude guest!
What do I do when I return?
Once you’re home, it’s nice to leave a review for your host on Airbnb. This allows other people to see what your experience was like, and is also an opportunity to leave some private feedback for your host. After that it’s all down to you booking your next Airbnb adventure!
Hopefully these tips will help you have a smooth trip and ensure you get the best out of your Airbnb experience. Have you ever booked with Airbnb? What was your experience?