10 Tips to Find the Perfect Airbnb for Your Next Trip
10 Tips to Find the Perfect Airbnb for Your Next Trip
For first time renters, Airbnb can be daunting; but there is a reason why they are becoming so popular. Renting out an Airbnb property can save you a ton of money and make your stay much more relaxing.
Airbnb properties can allow you to stay, in some cases, in an entire home or apartment for the same price, or less, than a traditional hotel.
What you have to remember though, is that you’re renting out someone’s home; or a room inside their home. They are not your servants, they are not your maids. I see many people that treat Airbnb properties as if they were hotels, demanding this or that from their Airbnb host.
With the proper search, you will find plenty of properties ran by hosts that want nothing but the best for you on your stay. They provide a great living space, amenities, and will do everything they can to ensure you have a great trip while priced at very affordable rates.
All I’m saying is: be courteous.
Without further ado, let’s get into the ten best tips to ensure you find the perfect Airbnb for your next trip.
Top 10 Airbnb Tips
1. Determine What Kind of Place You Want
The first step is to determine what type of property you want to rent. There are four different options you can filter by; or even more than one at once. The four options you have are:
- Entire Place
- Private Room
- Hotel Room
- Shared Room
Let’s take a look at what each one of these means so that you can determine what is best for you.
Entire place. This one is pretty self-explanatory: you rent and have the whole place to yourself. This is my go to if I am travelling with people. You can easily find entire apartments, in great locations, for under $100 per night; and if you split that between multiple people, you are looking at a very cost effective alternative to hotels.
Private room. Private room means you are only renting a bedroom from someone. This also means that you are sharing the home with the host themselves and potentially other guests. I used this option when I took a solo trip to Barcelona, and had an amazing experience. The great thing about it, is that everyone else that stays there understands how Airbnb works, so I never had to fight over a bathroom, kitchen, or any other amenities. All for only $20 a night near downtown!
Hotel Room. Now I know what you’re thinking, “But I thought Airbnb was an alternative to hotels?” And you are right in asking that. However, the hotel section of Airbnb is for hostels and boutique hotels. A hostel is similar to a dorm in the sense that you will be living with other people in a small space; similar to a dorm. This option is very cost effective, and if you enjoy meeting new people then this could be a great option for you. A boutique hotel is more private. These typically run a little pricier compared to the other options we have covered, but you will get your own suite as if you were staying in a real hotel. The difference between a boutique hotel and a regular hotel is that no two boutique hotels are the same; they aren’t chains like most regular hotels are. This means they are a lot smaller than a normal hotel, but can be just as nice, if not nicer. In addition to that, their focus is making your experience more intimate.
Shared room. Last but not least is the shared room option. This is similar to a hostel in the sense that you will be living in the same room as other people, although, it won’t be in a hostel building, it’ll be in a home or apartment. I don’t see this one used too often, but these are dirt cheap. I’m talking a few dollars a night cheap in most cases. Just please do your research and determine if sharing a room with a complete stranger in another complete stranger’s home is something you’d be interested in.
2. Enter Your Dates and Location
When you get to the Airbnb homepage you will see a screen asking you to enter where you would like to go and for what dates. It’s important to make this as accurate as possible to ensure you are only seeing properties that are available during your dates.
Be conscious. If you can, I recommend travelling during non-peak times. This will save you a lot of money. I have talked to Airbnb hosts that say prices can go up hundreds of dollars during peak season or if there is a large event happening nearby.
Another great feature that Airbnb offers is the map view. This is how I find the Airbnb’s that I’ll be staying at. It gives you a map view of the area as well as markers with the price on it.
Filtering the results by one of the property types mentioned above, I can find great properties exactly where I want.
3. Read the Reviews
The rating system on Airbnb should be approached differently than others. What I mean by this is, anything under 4.5 stars should be approached with caution.
Places with under 4.5 stars will have something wrong with them, especially if they have a low number of reviews combined with a lower than average score. If you are still persistent on a place that is below 4.5 stars, then read the lower star reviews to get an inside look at exactly what went wrong and if that place is for you.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of amazing hosts and properties out there with 10’s or 100’s of 5 star reviews. I’d gravitate towards these listings.
Keep your eye out for “superhosts.” These will be the best of the best.
According to the Airbnb help center, superhosts are “experienced hosts who provide a shining example for other hosts, and extraordinary experiences for their guests.” Superhosts have a badge next to their name, so they are easy to spot.
4. Ensure It's Close to Public Transportation
One of the most important things to look out for is its proximity to public transportation. Rental cars can get expensive, and most major cities have great public transportation in place. Most, if not all of my stays in Airbnb properties has been within a short walking distance to public transportation, whether it was a train, subway, or bus stop.
This made my life infinitely easier, and saved me a ton of money on rental cars or other forms of transportation like taxi’s or Uber.
You can cover the majority of a major city within 20 to 30 minutes using public transportation. Taking public transportation also allows you to get a real feel of the city and enables you to interact with a bunch of local people.
5. Populate Your Profile
Populating your Airbnb profile allows hosts to get a better feel for you. Upload a profile picture and write a little paragraph about yourself to give the hosts a good first impression.
As the Airbnb hosts are renting out their own property, they have the right to turn down potential renters. This makes sense, as they want the best possible tenants staying at their home.
That is why it is important to populate your profile with both a picture and a short biography, you want to make a great first impression with the host.
6. Reach Out to the Host
Reaching out to the host before your stay is a good idea too. This combined with a complete profile will create a great relationship with your host.
As a renter, you also get a rating. So if you are a difficult guest to deal with, your rating can suffer which could lead to you being denied from future reservations. An open communication with your host will ensure your trip goes smoothly.
Your host will have instructions and rules to follow, and having this line of communication provides you with a good opportunity to ask questions, have your concerns addressed, and ensure you have a clear understanding of the rules.
7. Avoid Listings with a Lack of Pictures
Keeping your toiletries such as your toothbrush, toothpaste, contacts, etc. in one compact place is vital.
A good toiletry bag can fit a lot of items in a limited amount of space, allowing you to bring practically your entire bathroom with you while travelling.
8. Watch Out for Hosts the Cancel
There will be times where you are reading through reviews and you’ll see something along the lines of, “Host cancelled reservation X days before arrival.” This is what you want to watch out for.
Picture this: you have your flights booked, your bags packed, Airbnb reserved, and in only three days you are going to be in the beautiful city of Prague. But wait, you get a notification on your phone, the host cancelled your reservation! Now what? You have to find a place last minute that is not only going to be more expensive, but potentially in a worse area or not as nice due to lack of availability.
Avoid putting yourself in this situation.
That is why reading reviews is important, so you find things like this and can lower the chances of it happening to you. Be careful though, there can also be a cancellation review where it says something like, “GUEST cancelled reservation X days before arrival.” Make sure to read it carefully to see whether it was the GUEST or the HOST that cancelled the reservation. I don’t want you skipping over a great listing because skimmed over the cancellation review.
This is also why I recommend you look for superhosts. As listed above, superhosts are the best of the best. One of the requirements to become a superhost is that the host has ZERO cancellations, unless it falls under the Airbnb Extenuating Circumstances policy. You can read more about superhosts by going to Airbnb’s help center, or by clicking here.
9. Review the Cancellation Policy
This is where reading the listing thoroughly comes into play. Having a firm grasp on what the different cancellation policies will allow you to navigate through listings better. There are three cancellation policies that hosts can choose from: flexible, moderate, and strict.
Flexible. Flexible is the most lenient when it comes to cancellations. You are able to cancel and get a full refund as long as you cancel 24 hours before the host’s local check in time. For example: if check in is Tuesday at 1pm, then you can get a full refund as long as you cancel before Monday at 1pm. If you cancel within that 24 hour time period before check in, you lose one night of funds, the rest is refunded.
Moderate. Moderate is less forgiving. In order to receive a full refund, you must cancel a full 5 days prior to local check in time. Should you cancel within that 5 day period before check in, you forfeit one night, and then only get refunded 50% of the remaining nights.
Strict. This one is no joke. You not only have to cancel within 48 hours of BOOKING, but it also has to be at least 14 days prior to the check in time. For example, if you book a place on Friday the 10th for a stay that begins on the 24th, but you put in a cancel request on the 11th, you are not eligible for a full refund due to it being within that 14 day window. You can get a 50% refund if you cancel at least 7 days in advance. Within 7 days and you get no refund.
After describing the cancellation policies, I’d go with flexible as much as possible. To read more on Airbnb cancellation policies, visit their website here.
10. Check the Property’s Amenities
Each Airbnb listing will come with a list of amenities. Read over this list so you know exactly what you are getting with your reservation.
Imagine showing up and finding out they don’t have Wi-Fi. That’s why it is important to review this list of amenities and to have that communication with your host, to ensure you have everything you need to make your stay perfect.
You’d be surprised at what some of these places come with.
To wrap things up, Airbnb is an amazing alternative to traditional hotels. You can find some beautiful properties in the best parts of town while paying less than the average hotel cost.
I hope these Airbnb tips helped make your journey easier, as I know I was intimidated by Airbnb when I used it for the first time.
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