I like to go on a lot of trips every year, so I can’t afford staying at expensive hotels. And I don’t like to stay at sketchy ones just to save money. Instead, I always try booking an Airbnb wherever I’m visiting.
Most of the time, you can find an Airbnb at a reasonable price and still in great locations. It’s also a fun way to experience the new city from a local’s perspective since you’re living at a home, rather than crashing at a hotel. However, when you’re booking an Airbnb, you need to look for some VERY important things so you have an enjoyable experience.
Here are 5 things that you must always consider when booking an Airbnb:
Always Look at the Reviews.
Whenever you stay at an Airbnb, you are asked to complete a review for your host about your experience. It’s great, because Airbnb requires you to review (Otherwise they make reviews on you public) so that there is a list of reviews from past visitors when you look at your options before booking an Airbnb.
We recently stayed at a place that didn’t have ANY reviews (I was not paying attention when my boyfriend booked it. FAIL). The host was great, but the place was dirty and we had to share 1 towel ALL weekend. Needless to say, we will go back to checking reviews before booking our next Airbnb.
Be Sure to Research the Location.
You aren’t always told exactly where the apartment or house is, but you’re given a general circle on the map. Most of the time a lot of the reviews tell you where the Airbnb is located relative to things you will want to do. However, I don’t always use other people’s opinions when booking an Airbnb.
You should research the area based off your travel itinerary–look for nearby museums, bars, shopping, sights, etc. Doing a quick Google search for the safe areas in the city is a good idea to make sure you’re staying in a nice area (We also like to use street view in Google Maps). It’s better to spend a little more when booking an Airbnb, if it will have better walkability to what you want to do.
Read the Fine Print Before Booking.
The price listed isn’t always the only cost you will have to pay when booking an Airbnb. There are charges for extra people, even if it’s only for three people. There are also charges for cleaning and additional deposits you have to pay. You can normally find this information in the “more information” section, because it isn’t typically on the main page.
Also, some places have different rules like quiet hours, pets, smoking, check-in & out. If this cuts into your enjoyment of the space, you may not want to consider booking this Airbnb or paying a little more for a different one.
Weigh the Costs of the Different Places.
Once you have it narrowed down to a couple of places, be sure to do a fair price comparison. Consider in the extra fees from above and other items, like Uber fare if it’s further away. You want to make sure it’s a place you’re going to feel comfortable in and that looks nice through the pictures. Reading about other people’s experiences is helpful to paint a picture for the experience, too.
Be a Good Guest During Your Stay.
Not only are there reviews for the places, but there are reviews for the people staying at them. Once you've booked an Airbnb, be sure to let your host know when you'll be arriving. Read the rules for anything specific that you need to do before checking out. For instance, we stayed at a place that asked you to strip the beds and run the dishwasher before leaving.
It's important to remember that you are staying in someone's home so you need to be respectful of their space. And always be sure to clean up after yourself before you leave. You want to have positive reviews on your profile, so that you can continue booking great places!
If you don't have an Airbnb account yet, you can save $25 off your first booking! Seriously, one of my favorite places to book lodging. Especially when I'm trying to stay somewhere nice on a budget. If you want more travel tips, check out my article on traveling in the off season.