Feb. 18, 2019The concept of Airbnb is a brilliant one — no noisy hotels, a kitchen to cook whatever you want in. But in execution, it doesn’t always turn out right. Maybe the place reeks of bleach, maybe it’s in a sketchy neighborhood, or maybe you just missed the fact that there’s no running water.
Whether you’re new to Airbnbs or just sick of booking what you thought was the perfect find, I’ve got you covered — get what you want every time with this guide.
#1 — Personalize Your Profile
Your Airbnb profile isn’t always something hosts check out, but it’s great to have some basic information in there just in case. That way, when a host sees that you travel with kids, they’re more likely to let you know about potential hazards, in case you’ve missed them in the description.
#2 — Know the Neighborhoods
Airbnb is big on safety and security, which means you’ll never have an exact location for a house until you book it. You can get a ballpark with the map feature on the listing though, and you can always reach out to the host privately for a more exact address.
Pull up the Google street view to get a sense of the area. Look for signs of crime — graffiti, lots of litter. Check out businesses in the surrounding area to get a sense of what kind of foot traffic you’ll be dealing with. Bars, casinos, liquor stores, and clubs can indicate a high volume of inebriated people in the area — not ideal if you’re looking for a safe place to call home for a few days.
#3 — Pay Attention to the Loud Stuff
You can never be too careful when it comes to insanely noisy areas. Use the Google satellite view of an area to keep an eye out for things like highways, train tracks, and airports. Ask the host if there are any bars on the street that might play loud music on the weekends.
#4 — Note That Beds and Bedrooms Are Different
If you’ve used Airbnb a time or two, you know that number of beds and number of bedrooms are two VERY different things. If you prefer separate rooms to sleep in, make sure you look at that number in the listing.
Beds can be pull out sofas, twin beds, bunk beds, and don’t necessarily indicate a private room — it’s why you’ll see many Airbnbs listed with two bedrooms that sleep seven people.
#5 — Bathrooms Aren’t Always a Thing
Most Airbnb’s are just regular apartments, houses, or rooms that people have decided to rent out to earn a little extra cash. Some though, are actually homemade tiny houses, converted sheds, and guest suites above the garage, and not all of them have bathrooms.
Make sure you specify when you search if you want at least one bathroom in the space, and always be on the lookout for alternative bathrooms in rural dwellings that may be outdoors.
#6 — If You Need Privacy, Spring for a Whole House
When you book an Airbnb, you can either book a room, an apartment, or a whole house. Booking a room means just that — sleeping in a bedroom in somebody’s house. That they live in. And if you’re not used to it, it can be a little weird bunking with somebody in the same house that you don’t know. If you’re not into sharing a roof with a stranger, spring for the whole house or apartment. They’re not that much more expensive, and you’ll feel a lot better about making breakfast in the morning.
#7 — Look for Positive Reviews and Superhost Ratings
Reviews on Airbnb are everything — if a listing doesn’t have at least a few, I never book it. Superhost ratings are given to hosts of spaces that take extra good care of their guests and always run a tight ship.
Skim through the reviews to get a sense of what the living situation is like in the space, how responsive and attentive the host is, and whether it’ll be a good fit for you.
#8 — Check Commute Times for Your Must-See Stops
If you’re visiting a new area, it’s always a good idea to make sure it’s in close proximity to what you want to do. Typically, Airbnb hosts have nearby attractions listed as selling points in their listings. If you’re having a hard time finding what you want though, go out on a limb and send them a message asking them, if not for the exact address, then for commute times to a few specific locations for you.
#9 — Know the Parking Situation
Not all Airbnbs come with a driveway. Shared parking, street parking, paid parking — it’s all a thing, and if you come bearing cargo, it can be a big pain. Luckily, Airbnb’s search filters allow you to select your level of parking annoyance.
#10 — Plan Ahead
Much like hotels and resorts, Airbnbs typically come with fees that fluctuate seasonally. Expect holiday rates to increase by around double, and plan accordingly. Last minute bookings could cost you more, and planning ahead could save you a few bucks. Also account for booking and cleaning fees, which will be listed in your estimated total as you scroll through bookings.
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