Hotels are great for when you want to be pampered and take a break from life. Then there are those times where you want to blend in and experience life like a local. You choose to stay at an Airbnb rental. But how do you avoid a nightmare experience? How can you as a guest choose from all the Airbnb options out there?
Filters are your Friend
Narrow down your search and feel less overwhelmed. How many people can the rental accommodate? Do you need special items like cribs or highchairs? Do you care if there is parking? Can the host even speak your language?
Are you okay with staying in an apartment with strangers? If yes, then this won’t matter so much to you. I prefer to choose “entire apartment” in the filters. This way I know that my group is the only one occupying the rental during my trip.
You can ask the host questions before you book. Do they take days to respond? That’s not a good sign. I had issues with one of my Airbnbs and being able to get in contact with the host helped alleviate a lot of those issues.
I’m in the process of looking for Airbnbs for a future trip. It’s not in Asia (surprise, surprise). I keep being swayed by this amazing villa with a swimming pool. But the rental is so far from civilization and would be a trek to local shops and restaurants.
Plus I don’t plan on renting a car (I really need to practice driving a stick shift again). Make sure the location is close enough to public transportation if that is important to you.
Don’t be fooled by rental listings that show lots of bedrooms. So it can sleep 7, but half the people are sleeping on sofas.
Many listings advertise living rooms as bedrooms. They may have a sofa with a fold out bed (In Asia floor mattresses are common). However, they will lack the privacy of a real bedroom. They take away the living room and add a curtain to make it into a “bedroom.” Now you have zero common space to relax during your trip.
How are the reviews for the rental? How many reviews are there and how recent are they? Are there only two reviews? There should be at least a few reviews. Otherwise you’re taking a big gamble. A wonderful review from 2012 might not tell you about the property’s current state. Recent good reviews are important. Everyone has different standards. Though most people want a place that is clean and in a safe neighborhood.
There are only three photos. Out of those three photos, one is of a plant and the other two are of local attractions. This is a red flag. Many listings include lots of close ups of decor and little of the actual space.
Other listings have so many photos of local attractions. That’s great. Though, you need a clear picture of the actual space you will be staying in. Feel free to contact the host and ask them to add more photos.
Don’t just look at the nightly rates. Think of cleanup fees, security and more. These vary by host. But make sure your total is something that fits into your budget.
It’s great to have so many inexpensive rental housing options for trips. Know what to look for and you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches.