Looking to get away?
Wherever you’re booking your next dream trip, the most important element will be your lodging.
Optimize your Airbnb experience with these helpful tips to make sure you get the most out of your Airbnb:
1. Envision Your Ideal Airbnb
If you’re getting the travel bug, start by making a list of the kinds of cities, neighborhoods, and homes you’d like to stay in.
Add details to your list like “walking distance to beach” or “clean and pet-free.” Having an idea of what you’re looking for when it comes to lodging will speed you along your Airbnb search as you narrow down your choices.
Use filters to refine your search to exactly what you’re looking for, such as Entire home, Private room, and Shared room options. Prices will vary for these different options, so be sure to assess your budget.
2. Reviews, Reviews, Reviews!
Reviews are the single most helpful tool in making an informed Airbnb decision.
Think about it like any other good or service. If you are looking to make a major online purchase, you want to know what you’re getting before you hit that purchase button.
Take a closer look at how many reviews a place has and check for commentary on the hosts, how well the place was kept, and anything out of the ordinary.
Keep in mind there may be a bad 1-star review or two, as some guests’ expectations may not have fit the host or their home. This isn’t the host’s fault.
However, be warned: if the spot has multiple 1-star reviews with negative comments, it may be time to move on to the next search.
3. Check for Deal Breakers
It can be tempting to book a place after seeing a beautiful photo of a rustic old brick building just steps from the River Thames, but hold up!
Get a closer look at the fine print. If a listing only has a few photos, proceed with caution. Be sure to read through the entire listing during your search. Grab a notepad and jot down any pros and cons.
For example, are you cool with the house rules of being home by 9 p.m.? Are they Wi-Fi accessible? If something doesn’t work for you, keep searching. The more you can learn about a place the better. Leave no stone (or photograph) unturned!
4. Plan Ahead
To decrease your stress levels and save a buck, plan your trip in advance; typically, a month or more is ideal.
However, if you do find yourself in a jam, Airbnb offers an “Instant Book” option that will allow you to book a place the same day, without having to wait for a host approval.
5. Do Your Homework
Location can make or break your dream getaway.
When looking on the map on a profile, you will find a radius of the area. If you’re not sure what this area looks like, drop a pin on Google Maps for a street view. Pay attention to the surrounding shops and conditions of the homes. Remember, it’s not just the inside that matters!
Be on the lookout for metro or bus stations if you plan on traveling by foot, or street parking if you are going by car. Ask yourself if you’d feel safe in the area.
6. Communication Is Key
Before booking, reach out to the host for questions you have about their listing. A good host will respond in under 24 hours. If the host takes too long to respond, that may be a red flag.
Keep the communication channels open by updating the host about when you plan on arriving and if anything changes. Consider asking if the host drinks a certain beverage and pick it up on the way over. Happy host = happy guest!
7. Go Local
If you are traveling internationally, look for a local host who has lived in the area a while.
This can take your stay from run-of-the-mill tourist locale to intimate and authentic getaway. Drop them a line and ask if they are local or have any recommendations.
8. Make a Wish List (And Check It Twice)
To save time and make your search more effective, utilize the Wish List feature. This allows you to click “Save” and assign the listing to a wish list.
You can check back on your favorites at any time and compare all your selections side by side.
Hack: Google other people’s wish lists! Simply type “[YOUR DESTINATION] Airbnb Wish List” into your search engine et voila! Your searching just got a whole lot easier.
9. Additional Fees
Before you click the “Request to Book” button, be sure to review the cost breakdown at check-out.
- Nightly price: Nightly rate is determined by the host and is non-negotiable.
- Cleaning fee: Occasionally a host will ask for a one-time fee to cover the cost of keeping up the space. This will be listed under the “Prices” section.
- Extra guest fee: Some hosts will charge an additional fee per extra person staying. Be sure to enter the amount of people you expect to stay at the beginning of your search to avoid seeing a drastic price increase at check-out.
- Airbnb service fee: Airbnb charges 5-15% of the subtotal at check-out for all reservations. This price will fluctuate depending on the amount of days you are staying and when.
10. Use Airbnb’s Secure Site
If you’re ready to choose your dream spot, “Request to Book” and proceed to payment through the Airbnb site. Even if you are tempted to pay in cash to avoid fees, this leads to trouble down the line if anything unexpected happens. Payments through the site are secure and will save you hassles. If a host tries to have you pay off the site, think twice before booking with them.
Stay informed and have a safe trip! And be sure to check out our Airbnb Hosting Guide.