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As someone who loves traveling or just wants a nice weekend getaway or summer break somewhere far from home, you’ve probably considered how to make your stay more enjoyable. Hotels and motels are common choices, many of which you’ve probably explored in previous trips. But there might be something about them that dampens your experience each time you check in—maybe the fact that they feel impersonal, crowded, and pricey.
What if you could change all that—find a place that combines the luxuries, amenities, and safety of a hotel and the warmth and privacy of your home? What if there was a place where you’d not just be another guest, but a part of a community? Luckily, the answer to these questions is right here. Enter Airbnb. Airbnb, as you may already know, is a website that matches people who need a place to stay with hosts who offer their houses, tiny homes, and apartments for rent.
Millions of people looking for unique, authentic spaces and experiences consider this platform their one-stop shop, with 393 million confirmed bookings recorded in 2022 alone.
But this doesn’t mean that every guest will find a perfect stay on their first or even 10th booking, as renting the ideal Airbnb takes some know-how. So, in this guide, you’ll discover proven tips on how to choose and book your home-away-from-home like a pro.
Nothing says you mean business more than securing a room weeks or months ahead of time. Not only is this a good sign of planning, but it will also help you to secure a spot at your preferred price range.
Airbnb hosts get several bookings per week, depending on the location, seasonality, and amenities covered in their offers, and they might not be able to accommodate you if you reach out last minute.
Now, if your stay is urgent, you could probably still get a booking from a host within a day of checking in. But for that, you need to narrow down your search criteria to a location and date. That way, you could pick from a list of available homes.
Keep in mind that while last-minute booking is possible, Airbnb requires payment upfront at a higher price, and some hosts can specify the exact cut-off time when no more bookings are accepted for the day.
What’s more, these options tend to be feasible in areas with more listings or during off-peak seasons. So, consider your needs carefully: what dates are available, how far from your destination you’re willing to go, and the number of rooms and amenities you need.
You shouldn’t rely on the platform alone to vet hosts you consider renting from, as some individuals may slip through the cracks. The last thing you want is to go into a deal with a scammer, sex offender, or someone with an unresolved murder charge.
Your first step is to reverse search the address of the property on a people search website to find out who resides there. You’ll also find plenty of useful information about the residents, including their age, social media profiles, and criminal records.
Once that is clear, review the host's profile on Airbnb to ensure they have been operating on the platform for a while, have had several positive reviews, and are responsive. See how they’re able to handle potential issues that could come up during your stay.
You can also learn a lot by how well they describe the amenities on offer, whether they provide detailed check-in and check-out information, and whether they give explicit rules about what they don’t allow in their space.
While some properties appear dirt cheap, they might end up being more expensive if you consider other costs like the nightly rate, cleaning fee, security deposits, guest service fee, cancellation fee, and local taxes.
A $50 price per night might seem like a steal until you get hit with an extra $20 for Airbnb’s platform fee. Fortunately, most guest service fees are typically less than 14.2% of the total booking cost, which includes the nightly rate, cleaning rate, and any additional guest fees.
However, this percentage doesn’t cover Airbnb fees and taxes, so be aware of those extra charges.
Your experience with Airbnb can’t be complete without the right safety features and amenities.
So, as you scan a list of available apartments in your desired area, confirm if the units are secure as regards the presence of emergency alarms, smoke detectors, sprinklers, fire extinguishers, and surveillance cameras, among others.
If you will be bringing your children along, the space should feature childproof locks, a first-aid, and some sort of barricade, all of which you should be given access to and be able to use or control.
Assess the entry and exit methods and points, including lock codes, keypads, and smart home technology, to ensure you can get in and out of the premises safely. Listings should ideally have a working intercom or phone to contact the host during emergencies.
In addition, know what protocols and methods to use in such situations and how close the property is to the nearest hospital, police station, and fire station.
Big, small, Airbnb has it all, as is stated on its website. And it’s true. If you’re not a fan of huge houses and don’t consider renting a room, the best solution for you is a tiny home. This is especially perfect for solo travelers who don’t need much space.
And let’s compare the prices. Staying in a tiny home will cost you approximately $40-$200 per night (depending on the place, of course), meanwhile renting a bigger house is a bit more expensive, with the price going up to $500 per night and more.
The best option, however, is to compare prices on the official website.
Travel alerts and warnings help you avoid disasters and unpleasant situations when visiting certain places. So, before your trip, be sure to find out about seasonal flooding, natural disasters, and terrorism-related events.
You can also learn more about your travel destination on social media, where local authorities may post about current risks and event disruptions. Staying informed with such information will help you avoid getting caught in dangerous situations.
Finally, don’t forget to get travel insurance, especially if you’re going to another country. Travel insurance is usually recommended for international travel but can be beneficial even if you’re staying close to home.
It covers unexpected expenses incurred on a trip, such as illness, emergency evacuation, trip delays, and theft. That way, you’ll have fewer worries during your journey.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful and will be able to book a spot on Airbnb that feels like your perfect home away from home.
Airbnb is an amazing way to find something more unique and authentic for your next adventure, but just remember that finding the perfect space isn’t always easy. So, take the time to do your research and make a plan before your trip so you don’t run into any issues.
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