AirBnB has become an enormous disruptor in the hospitality space. I won’t go into deep detail about the history of AirBnB, but, in summary, AirBnB was founded by two guys renting out air mattresses in San Francisco and turned that into a travel revolution. AirBnB is now valued at over 10 billion dollars, and is the premier platform for unique travel experiences.
- Local lifestyle
- Flexibility & Communication
- Low Price
- Save Money On Food
- What You See May Not Be What You Get
- Fees & Required Minimum Stays
- Lack Of Privacy
For those looking for a unique experience or to cut costs, AirBnB is a great alternative instead of a hotel. But you need to weight the pros and cons of using a service like this versus the experience you are used to while staying at a hotel. Have you used AirBnB recently? What was your experience like?
How to Find and Book the Perfect Airbnb
Find out how to find the perfect Airbnb property to stay in, and how to book it. Tips for what to look at in Airbnb listings, what to watch out for when searching for an Airbnb to stay in, and how to ensure that you get approved to stay in your first Airbnb apartment or home.
Planning a last-minute trip is always a little nerve-racking. But with hotel award space disappearing quickly and cash rates rising prohibitively high, it’s actually the perfect time to venture off the beaten path and right into the heart of the community you’re visiting. Here are our best tips for finding the cheapest and most memorable Airbnb rentals around the world.
Make a List, Give Yourself Options. Read the Reviews and Rules Carefully. The real question here is privacy. Do you want to share a room with other travelers? Do you want a private room in a shared home? Or do you want complete privacy with a space that’s entirely your own? Our expertise is in this last option: entire place. Between the dog and the two of us, we’re looking for a space that’s just for us.
As you set the additional parameters in the More Filters area, ask yourself what the make or break amenities are. Do you need a place that’s kid friendly? Will you be doing a lot of cooking? For us, pets have to be allowed, we need wifi, and for month-long stays, we really like having a washer and dryer. Beyond that, we try to leave the rest of the amenities as open-ended as possible so we don’t accidentally filter out a great spot.
There’s plenty of information here to make cuts. You’ll see the type of Airbnb, the number of beds, the name of the Airbnb, its nightly price, its average rating, and the number of reviews. Plus, you can click through all of the pictures here too without ever leaving this search page. Use the rules of thumb below, and when you find a place that’s passed these tests, right click and open the listing in a new tab.
Protection for the Traveler
While Airbnb has no protections that replicate traveler’s insurance, it has certain provisions in place to try to ensure guest safety and satisfaction. As the quality of hosts is based on their reviews, guests are encouraged to only book with highly-recommended providers. Once the lodging has been booked, Airbnb offers a 24/7 customer service line to resolve any disputes and will provide refunds if one of the following three categories are met: (1) the host cancels the reservation shortly before check-in or fails to provide access to the listing booked, (2) the listing booked is misrepresented or lacks promised amenities or items or (3) the listing is not generally clean or as described. Points two and three are further expanded below in the Airbnb Refund Policy:
- The listing lacks an amenity promised in the listing’s description or photos.
- The room type of the listing isn't what was booked.
- The number of bedrooms or bathrooms in the listing doesn't match what was booked.
- The listing itself or its location is not what was booked.
- The listing does not have clean bedding or towels available for all guests included on the reservation, unless the host has clearly stated that linens aren't provided or hasn't included essentials in their offered amenities.
- The listing is unsanitary, unsafe or hazardous to the health of the guests.
- There is an animal in the listing which was not disclosed prior to booking.
The Bottom Line
As Airbnb continues to grow in popularity, it has become an increasingly viable source of lodging for travelers as well as providing extra income for hosts. However, prospective hosts and travelers should exercise caution, particularly when it comes to potential legal concerns.
Check all the information.
When you create your account, make sure to fill in all the fields as complete profiles have better chances of being accepted by hosts. You’ll be asked to verify both your email address and phone number and I highly recommend doing this, as it shows hosts they or Airbnb will be able to contact you if necessary and you’re someone who actually exists.
- Does the host's welcome text sound welcoming?
- Do the check-in and check-out times fit your schedule?
- Do you have to pay a deposit?
- Is there a cleaning fee?
- Is the host verified? You can see this at the bottom of the page where they have a little photo and all.
One thing I always check is if smoking is allowed. I don't smoke and can't stand the smell of it, so I won't book an apartment where smoking is allowed as chances are it will smell. "Smoking allowed" is a filter you can check, but not checking it doesn't guarantee that you'll get no-smoking places only.
Booking your airbnb
Yaay, you've chosen a place to stay! Before you click that bright "book"; button, go over all the priced items. You'll see that Airbnb always adds a service fee which is a 6-12% of the total amount of the price set by the host (who's charged 3% by Airbnb). Additionally, some hosts add cleaning fees and deposits.
When you hit "book";, you'll be taken to a page where you can enter a message for the host, explaining who you are and why you want to stay with them. This is the point where it becomes important to have a completed profile. The host will be renting out his property to a stranger and the more (positive) information he has about you, the more inclined he'll be to accept your request.
Once you finish your message, your request is sent and the host has 24 hours to accept or decline. If they decline, don't be too bummed. If you've filled in your profile, it's likely just that they haven't updated their availability calendar on the site and aren't able to host you at the time of your trip.
If your host agrees to your request, you've got yourself an Airbnb booking. Yaay! Your credit card will now be charged with all costs - the cost of your stay, the service fee and any additional fees such as a cleaning fee or deposit.
From then on, you can contact your host through Airbnb's messaging system to discuss check-in and ask any additional questions you may have.
Note: Some places offer an option to "Instant book"; which mean you can "indeed" book immediately without having to wait for the host to agree with or decline the booking.
Another note: Booking requests are automatically rejected if the host doesn't reply within 24 hours. That means that if you need a place to stay in less than 24 hours, it's probably better to book a hotel or hostel for the night.
What we get
Whether you’re an Airbnb host or a future guest, you can always rely on the platform’s ability to tackle issues, simplify communication, and give you access to some of the best travel experiences of your life. It takes a bit of research to find your own match made in heaven.
I love AirBnB experiences like this where you do feel at home. Sometimes, it is hard to get that feeling when you are in a hotel. Also, being on a texting ability with the host is awesome if you have any questions or have any special requests.
When you travel, do you prefer hotels or AirBnBs? Share your opinions in the comment section below. And if you prefer AirBnBs, share some of your favorites with us!
On one of my recent trips across the country, I got to thinking about different kinds of air travelers.
So just a brief reminder, from one of your loyal fans: This post may contain affiliate links that pay us when you click on them.
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