We usually travel as couple, with our backpacks, and always try to be closest to the city center (where hotels are really expensive) in order to be able to see everything by foot. Also we always try to find cheap accommodations and we prefer to have privacy – that’s why we tend not to book hostels. So, if you’re following our blog you may have noticed that we often use AirBnb – we love it and it’s perfect for travelling on a budget.
For those who don’t have a clue about what we’re talking, AirBnb is an online marketplace and homestay network where people can rent short-term lodging in residential properties (or activities).
Here are some useful tips and tricks for booking and have a the best AirBnB experience:
1. Know what you are looking for
Are you traveling alone? Do you need the whole place for yourself or you’re fine with sharing the house with it’s owner? Is it important to have access to a kitchen? What appliances do you need? By selecting the dates and filtering your preferences AirBnb helps you sort out the details – e.g. renting the entire home or a private room, the price range, wi-fi access, bed type and size, and access to other amenities. From there you’re given a selection of houses that match your preferences. Another important aspect to consider is location – you may choose an accommodation near to sights and walk there or you may prefer to stay far from crowded areas and opt for public transportation. You can also save your favourite accommodations for future travels.
2. Read the reviews
Every host has a list of reviews written by guests, showcasing their true opinion, which helps you understand what’s really going on. Conversely, the guests also have on their profile reviews written by previous hosts. These reviews are really important for both the hosts and the guests, as they can choose assess each other before booking.
3. Be flexible
AirBnb also has high and low seasons, depending on the month or day of the week. Take the calendar and compare de availability and cost of each day. Try to conciliate that with flight information – usually low season accommodation accompanies low-cost flights.
4. Pay attention to the fine print
Every host has defined a set of rules that you must comply with while being hosted by them, and it’s important to pay attention to them. Check-in and check-out times can change for every accommodation and sometimes they can also be discussed. Host may also include a list of rules (e.g. cancellation policies and if they do or don’t allow smoking or pets to be taken into the accomodation) that you must be aware of before you rent the place. Some places may also have additional fees (cleaning fees or fees in accordance to the number of people staying) and security deposits to cover eventual property damages, which can sometimes be pretty high, so pay attention to that too.
5. Introduce yourself
When you select a place you have the opportunity to write a message to the host. Be nice, introduce yourself, and explain the purpose of your trip. Don’t forget to share with the host the time you’ll be arriving and to arrange the check-in time as often they will meet you at the property. Many times the host needs to accept your booking request and the first impressions mean a lot. Once your request is accepted you can also ask for more information, such as directions to the property or information on public transportation options.
6. Become a super guest
Don’t forget that guests are also reviewed and some host only accept people who have one or more positive reviews. So, treat the accommodation place like your own – be on your best behaviour, don’t break the rules and tidy-up before you leave – after all, hosts are trusting you with their homes!
If you interested in trying out AirBnb, here is a 20€ discount that you can use on your first AirBnb experience.