Destinations, Experiences

How to choose the perfect Airbnb

20th April 2017

If you aren’t aware of the concept of an Airbnb,  it is a superb website or an App which helps you find homes in the place you travel, and these could be as crazy as staying in a houseboat, Igloo, castle or a Beautiful Mansion in shared or as private property.

The website and the app are both very user-friendly, but if you’re new to the concept or are a little apprehensive about booking one, I’ve listed some helpful tips to help you book the perfect Airbnb for your next trip.

Review the review 

This might seem like the most obvious thing but go through the reviews written by travellers and especially the latest ones. I have stumbled across many helpful tips within these reviews too. There are often ignored but important information like nearby stores, a hidden attractions or a super convenient routes, If there aren’t enough reviews then check the host’s profile to see how long they have been on Airbnb and if they have more Airbnb listings and pay close attention to the other tips on this list.

Understand the neighbourhood 

Airbnb lists neighbourhoods for you to select your stay and to research a little bit on the neighbourhood is a good idea. While some areas are touristy others might be residential so select accordingly and also look out for red flags like high crime rates or any major constructions that may hamper your stay. I know someone who booked a home in central London only to realise that it was in Soho’s sex District with the flat surrounded by sex shops, imagine the awkwardness if this was is a family trip.

Host is important 

Hosts make a huge difference to your Airbnb experience. Look out for the verified badges and if they are categorised as super hosts by Airbnb.  I’ve had examples of hosts who have gone the extra mile to ensure that we make the most of our stay to some hosts who chose to keep the communication minimal. I suggest discussing your travel plans well with the host especially if it is a shared space. Also, keep in touch with your host till your stay and if you book your place well in advance send a friendly reminder to let them know your exact timings, etc. I once requested our hosts Neil and Carol for a cake and some birthday decoration as our Chalet was not close to any shops or bakeries and we wanted to surprise our friend on his birthday, they made it happen and even gave us a complimentary bottle of Champagne!

Check photos carefully 

I cannot stress this point enough for booking any stays in general; photos can be altered through sharp angles or Photoshop which is why checking them is vital. The more pictures of the house, the better, look for multiple perspectives of a single room to help you understand the size. Check for clear pictures of various parts of the house; sometimes the host may highlight the best part of the house, leaving the rest. Many hosts even add a photo of the house plan to help you understand the dimensions etc. if it is not there do not hesitate to ask for details.

Read the House Rules 

This is the key to ensure you have the right home for your stay, read the section on rules, so there are no confusions later. Smoking or Drug policies are mentioned and also rules about bringing extra guests or if it is suitable for pets or babies. There are check in and check out times mentioned, but on many occasions, the hosts are flexible about these depending upon further bookings. Dont be a rebel here !

Filter out the Amenities 

The amenities provided by the host often has a direct implication on the overall price of the apartment. if your stay is long there is a need for more amenities and if you are not going to out mostly a simple home would do. You can simple filter your needs regarding the amenities and choose an Airbnb accordingly. I usually opt for Free WIFI and narrow my selections unless it is a remote village where wifis are not available. Choosing an Airbnb based on the amenities you require saves you a lot of hassle, these could be things like hairdryers or Iron for your clothes which you wouldn’t need to carry of the apartment has one! Also, check the amenities in the kitchen if you plan to cook during your stay. Lisa’s apartment in Brighton that we stayed came with every amenity possible from a well-stocked kitchen to an amazing collection of DVDs and books and even board games and craft sets. Are you tempted yet?

Sending in the Request 

Different Airbnb have different criteria while some have a ‘request to book’ option others might have a direct booking. In the request to book section, you will be asked to send a message to the host about your travel plans, be honest here and mention a little detail about you and the persons travelling along. If the message is vague and your travel plans do not seem to align with the neighbourhood or the Airbnb home, in general, they may reject your request. We had 1-2 rejections from homes in Amsterdam because we didn’t see that they are looking for families, so dont make this mistake. 

Lastly, Remember that it is not a hotel, it is someone’s home, you will have a more pleasant experience if you have an open mind and understand that idea of living locally with the comfort that you need. We’ve tried our best to leave the house tidy and take care of all the items in the house. Thankfully I’ve never had a bad Airbnb experience and the above tips will be super helpful to you too. So what are you waiting for? Book one and live in the city you travel instead of just visiting it.

If you have more questions regarding the same, write in the comments below 🙂

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