Airbnb is an online marketplace focused on short-term homestays and experiences. Airbnb is a shortened version of its original name, AirBedandBreakfast.com.
Airbnb gained popularity because it was more affordable than hotels. However, nowadays the prices have increased and most of them have become the same as hotels.
Airbnb is still the better choice for people who travel in groups, with family, etc, and also offers one-of-a-kind activities designed and hosted by locals.
At an extra cost, Airbnb hosts offer their guests special knowledge, unique skills, and inside access to local places and communities that guests couldn’t find on their own.
According to Airbnb, some of the most successful experiences offered by local hosts are in Paris, France visiting the Louvre with an art historian who’s also a comedian.
In Cape Town, South Africa mountain biking with views of Table Mountain alongside a pro bike racer. Another one in Barcelona, Spain made paella based on an old family recipe in a private garden.
How do I choose a good Airbnb?
Before you choose Airbnb there are several things you need to consider other than affordability. Do your due diligence because this online process is not like you can go, visit a place before you book, so dig deeper before you make your booking. Below are some things to consider when booking your Airbnb.
Location and Safety
Once you know where you are going, you are ready to book your Airbnb. However, it will be good if you know the city areas so you can filter by areas, some people will ask why you have to do all this.
First is safety, and also costs, you want to know how far you are going to be from the things you are planning to do. So what you’re gonna do when you are searching is to see where these homes/apartments are located in the city.
They usually give some little information on what is close by or how far from attractions. Once you get an idea or pick up some street name you can google and get more info such as neighborhood safety, this is very important you don’t want to end up in a place where crime rates are very high especially when you are alone.
Based on your needs make sure the place you are trying to book has easy accessibility. For instance, not all buildings have access to elevators, one of the Airbnb experiences I had was in Barcelona when there was no elevator and the apartment we booked was 4th floor.
The host did a good job mentioning this in descriptions and explained how the stairs are narrow. So checking accessibility is very important because you might want to be able to use a wheelchair or stroller etc.
Make sure you read the entire description of what is available in the place you want to book. You know what you will want the place to have, so read and make sure you see what you want.
When you go to the amenities list make sure you click show all amenities. Don’t assume the place will have internet, cable, or security alarm just because most people do.
Read everything if you have questions or have doubts, contact the host so you can get your answers.
Read the full description of the place, and make sure you click to show more. This will help you to avoid any surprises, because some people usually put the good, attractive information at the top, and not so good that they will make not book the place at the bottom because they know most people don’t read until the end, or they don’t like to scroll down.
Make sure you check the number of rooms and beds because this can be confusing. Sometimes when you put the number of guests as 2, it doesn’t mean your search will bring you homes that have 2 bedrooms or 2 beds, the search can bring homes that can accommodate 2 people.
Meaning you can get one bedroom that can accommodate 2 people or you can have 2 bedrooms but only 1 has a bed and another one has a sofa. So it’s important to read the description as much as you can.
Read Rules Regulations and Fees
This is another important thing to do. Make sure you read all the rules that the host has mentioned and also what Airbnb has provided.
The rules that are usually provided are house rules, cancellation policy, and health and safety. Again make sure you read all of them and as always click show more.
Be sure to double-check the extra fees so you can avoid them. Some hosts add service fees, but some of them do not charge service fees. Most hosts pay a service fee of 3% of the booking total but Guests typically pay a service fee of around 14% of the booking subtotal.
Another fee that you need to check is cleaning fees. The cleaning fee has been increasing and it’s not the same in every place. Some places charge $35 for cleaning fees and some $100.
These fees can make a huge difference to your final price, so before you decide to book a place check the final price, don’t just check the price per night.
Try to communicate with the host
Yes, you did read the full description and you got a picture of what the place looks like. However, you can always ask questions if you have any concerns or if something was not clear.
You can ask if they can let you early if you happen to arrive early or how late can you arrive. By asking this you can tell if the host is helpful based on their reply.
You will be able to see how long it takes for them to respond, was the answer helpful? If they take time to respond that is not a good sign.
Because what if you have an emergency while you are on the property, for instance, the heat or AC is not working and you try to contact them?
Read reviews but don’t rely so much on them
Most of us like to read reviews before we decide to do any transactions, especially online. Sometimes reviews can be helpful and also misleading.
Sometimes people give reviews because they will gain something, some give reviews because they are mad or things didn’t go their way, and some give honest reviews.
If relying on reviews is your thing, look for reviews that are in-depth discussing the pros and cons of the place and the area in general.
Although it might take time, make sure to read all the reviews, you might come across reviews that are mentioning a common problem with the place that will give you an insight.
Try to avoid short reviews such as “nice” “perfect” or “great place”. Another thing that can help is to check if the host is a super host. If they are, it means they are very experienced and they will most definitely have good reviews