Airbnb is an easy-to-use, beautifully designed website and app that has attracted loyal users from around the globe. It offers access to millions of places to stay, from apartments and villas to castles, treehouses and luxury homes.
When you open up the Airbnb app or website looking for the perfect place to stay for your next trip, it will show you hundreds of possibilities to choose from. The question now is, how do you make sure that you pick the right one? Of course you want to avoid those creepy hosts and rundown rooms, so here’s how to track down the perfect Airbnb accommodation for your next trip.
1) Be cautious
As much as Airbnb tries its best to safeguard and protect its listings, problems do crop up occasionally. Be very vigilant with hosts who have just signed up. If you think you have doubts you can directly contact the host through Airbnb to find out more about who you’re dealing with.
Watch out for photos that look like they have been swiped from a travel site and those listings that are cheap yet look luxurious. Be cautious - it helps to know a few warning signs to avoid being scammed.
2) Look into the neighbourhood
In order to spot or identify a fraudulent listing it is a good idea to check out the neighbourhood. Look for restaurants and facilities in the area where you wanted to book your stay.
You can only get the exact address of an Airbnb once you book it, however, you can still get an idea of what kind of place you’re heading to. It is important to know the background of the place you are planning to stay in, like whether it is a safe area, the shops and the transport links.
3) Read all the reviews
Another way to know the place that you’re staying with is to check their ratings or reviews to get a broader picture of the place. It would be best to read all of the reviews, not just the top two or three reviews and the star ratings. You really need to read between the lines. Most of the issues tend to sneak into reviews since it will tell you if the host is attentive, if they go above and beyond, and if their home is noisy.
There are certain things you need - what are the amenities the place offers? Is there a fast internet connection? Are the neighbours friendly? Are there any problems with noise late at night? These are some of the specific issues that won’t be disclosed or mentioned in the description left by the host.
4) Search by trip type
On the Airbnb website or app it lets you filter down the results using different kinds of criteria, from the number of bedrooms to the facilities that are made available to you. There is also an option for you to select the Trip Type. When filtered, it lets you look for places suitable for families or for work trips.
In most cases, the Airbnb search engine will recommend places rated highly by other families and with facilities like a kitchen, TV, and washing machines. For work trips, Airbnb features such as a work desk and Wi-Fi. In this way it is useful in finding the right place to stay.
5) Check city regulations
Some cities are friendlier towards Airbnb listings. For example, if Airbnb listings are active in the area you're scouting out, then they're available to book, but you might run into problems with less-than-impressed neighbours or officers of the law.
Take some time looking at the current state of affairs between Airbnb and the city that you’re planning to stay with, because it might not match where you live.
6) Photos should be complete
You will probably not book your stay if there are no photos or missing photos in the listing. Photos are very important since it will tell you a lot about the place so think about the ones that are missing. It’s the same as buying a house - you will definitely want to see every picture of the house. It should show the outside, the bathroom, the bed, kitchen etc. to be able to consider if this is the perfect or right house for you. Please have in mind that the hosts of Airbnb are not all real estate professionals. A missing photo doesn’t necessarily indicate a dodgy staircase or run-down shower is being hidden, but it is something to look for. In this way it might help you decide which one to pick.
7) Build rapport with the host
You will have a Contact Host button in the Airbnb app or website right in the middle of each listing. If you have any queries about the place that aren’t covered in the description, then please do enquire. Do not assume that everything’s going to work out for the best.
One of the important part of Airbnb process is TRUST. If the host is slow in responding to your queries, then it’s better to look for another place elsewhere. If you build a rapport, you might get some preferential treatment and some extra local tips when you arrive.
8) Make use of the Save feature
Do not just rely on your memory to recall some of the favourite listings from the last search you did. Airbnb has a SAVE button that is displayed prominently in the app and on the web for you to use it.
It is much easier to compare different properties against each other when you’re doing it from a list rather than from the map. Additionally, you can split up saved places into separate lists, as well as share them with other Airbnb users.
9) Put your dates in first
Before you do anything else, put your dates in first if you already know the schedule of your trip. In this way, you will get a better idea about the prices and fees.
You need to be able to specify when you’re making the trip. You will get warnings of when listings are scarce too, which can be handy in knowing how quickly you need to book. If you think you have the flexibility, then better experiment the dates in either direction to see how the price changes.
10) Check the small print
You will probably be drawn to the photos and a description on a listing. Remember not to neglect the small print, like if pets are allowed, extra guests, the cancellation policy and when do you have to check in and out.
Also, do not assume something like Wi-Fi or a washer is included just because that’s what you’re used to at home. That is why it’s very important to scrutinize and go all the way through the description on the listing, and if you think there’s some information that you need to know, then you can directly ask the hosts about it.
Do this and you'll find a great Airbnb to stay in.