We love Airbnb, but I found out recently that not everyone else does; some people have concerns that they’re going to be conned or that the property won’t be safe.
Let me just say, we have never had a bad experience with Airbnb… This isn’t to say that every place we’ve stayed has been 5* (some have been pretty close though), but you get what you pay for and we were fully aware what we were booking for all of our trips!
We use it for most our holiday stays and we usually find that it’s quite a bit cheaper than hotel rooms or holiday apartments, so I thought I would share some handy tips and advice for booking with Airbnb – you may soon love it as much as we do!
Check the sleeping arrangements
One of the first things that I check when booking with AirBnB are the sleeping arrangements. Just because you put in a certain amount of guests, doesn’t mean there are always that same number of actual beds available. Sometimes, they have sofa beds and futons, often meaning someone’s ‘bedroom’ will in fact be a communal space – and someone has to draw the short straw! On the main overview, underneath amenities, you will be able to see the sleeping arrangements where it tells you how many bedrooms, and what type of beds are in each.
Let’s face it, if you’re on a romantic getaway then twin beds in separate rooms isn’t exactly what you would want to see when you walk into your stay….
Read the reviews!
Okay so in all honesty, I think the reason we have never had a bad stay is because I won’t book anywhere that hasn’t been reviewed yet. If it’s a brand new property that’s only just been listed, I won’t stay in it – let’s face it – nobody wants to be the guinea pig! The more reviews the better, as you get a clearer idea of the place, but even just a couple of reviews to confirm that it’s trust-worthy is enough!
The actual reviews themselves are important, as they give you honest feedback from previous guests about what works and what doesn’t with the accommodation. If you’re a light sleeper for example, the reviews will usually tell you if there are issues with the street noise, how effective the blinds/shutters are and any other information that you need to know! There’s also a search bar above the reviews where you can search for specific terms that people have used which are important to you i.e. pool, mattress, location etc..
Airbnb doesn’t just have people’s houses and flats available to stay in – oh no! You can find yurts, camper vans, lighthouses and castles! At the top of the page, under ‘more filters’, you can scroll down to ‘property type’ and ‘unique stays’ which have a huge range of different properties for you to whittle it down to.
If sleeping in a windmill is on your bucket list, Airbnb is a great place to go!
If you’re like me (you pack half of the house when you go away for a weekend) then I’d glance a look over the amenities! Most stays will offer the basics – sheets, soap and toilet roll – but things like hairdryer, shampoo and towels can save a load of packing space, and can help you travel a lot more efficiently! It could be the difference between a cabin bag and hold luggage.
View the check-in info
This is especially important if you have a timeline that you need to stick to. Some places have very specific check-in/check-out times, which can sometimes be an issue when you have a particularly early or late flight somewhere. It’s always worth checking this before you book to be able to see whether there is any flexibility and if it fits around your schedule! Usually, the properties that offer self check in (normally the key is kept in a lock box) are best for unsociable times!
Take note of the cancellation policy
Some places on Airbnb let you cancel up to a few days before you’re due to arrive in order to get a full refund, and others only let you cancel within 48 hours of booking. If your fights and plans are all set in stone, then it shouldn’t really matter, but if you’re just going for a weekend break in your own country where plans can change, it might be an idea to choose a stay with more flexibility! It’s also worth noting this when you book anyway, just so you are aware of your rights and are prepared if the worst was to happen!
Entire place, or just a room?
To some people, the thought of staying in a room in someone’s home sounds exciting as you get to meet new people and feel safe if travelling to a new country. For us however, we prefer to stay in a place on our own so that we can feel free to come and go as we wish, and don’t have to worry about staggering in at 3am if we chose to spend the night bar-hopping and gallivanting around. At the top of the page with the filters, you have the choice to pick your ‘type of place’, where you can choose from either entire place, private room, shared room or hotel room. Private rooms are generally cheaper than the entire place, so it all depends on your preferences and your budget.
Check the map
A great perk of booking with Airbnb is that it has a great feature on the website (and the app) where you can look at an overview of all available properties which match your requirements, on a map! This is really handy if you know there’s a rough area of a city that you’re hoping to stay in, but in my experience, the prices that are shown on the map aren’t always accurate and will quite often end up reducing when you click into the property. Winner!
If you don’t use this feature to actually search for your property, it’s always useful to double check where your desired stay is on the map, in case it’s in a rough area or miles away from the centre of where you want to be!
So that’s just about it! It’s really not that complicated, it’s just about getting to know how it works and what to look for to ensure you have the very best stay! You can find some truly amazing properties on Airbnb, you just need to have a little look around and don’t always be fooled by the first image that’s displayed. Take your time to look into the details of the properties and you can find some great homes to make your holidays wonderful!