How to Find the Perfect Airbnb
With more than 2.3 million listings in 65,000 cities worldwide, Airbnb has become the most popular alternative to staying in a hotel for travelers around the globe.
Renting an apartment through Airbnb is a great option that gives you the flexibility and comfort to feel at home even when you are far away.
I often book an Airbnb if I stay at one destination for a bit longer, like 7 days minimum to really get this homely feeling.
Also, staying at an Airbnb is often less expensive than a hotel (especially when split among a larger party, and if there is a kitchen that allows self-servicing some meals).
But, with so many accommodation to choose from, finding the perfect Airbnb can be overwhelming.
Start by picking your destination, then follow these steps to select the best home for your stay.
1. Research the neighborhoods
The neighbourhood of the apartment can have a huge impact on your experience of a place.
Deciding on your preferred area should be the first step.
Considering transport options, proximity to metro stations, supermarkts, local markets and sights is always important.
Also do some research on safety. Especially if you are a woman travelling solo – safety is key.
Overall, looking for an apartment in an ideal location can save money, hassle and time.
If you want some help, make use of Airbnb’s neighborhood guide for 20-plus cities, which is a great tool to help you understand each area’s vibe when traveling to an unfamiliar place.
You’ll find everything from sightseeing to shopping, eating to entertainment and of course, all the secret spots. The guidebooks are totally free!
2. Use filters
After you have choosen a neighborhood, narrow it down further.
Especially if you’re visiting larger cities, it’s helpful to add some filters for some specific requirements. Otherwise you will be left with too many options to choose from.
What are your requirements for a happy stay?Type of property: A property all to yourself, a private or a shared room. Price Range: You can use this slider to put a ceiling on the price you are willing to pay per night. Number of Beds/Bedrooms: Only important if you are travelling as a group or family. Superhost: Most of the time I tick that Superhost box.
It’s a badge awarded to hosts whos experience, responsiveness, ratings, and commitment have distinguished them from the rest. Amenities: Internet/ Kitchen/ Washing Machine/ Parking etc. Language: Does the host speak your language, or are you fluent in theirs? I usually select only listings that are advertised in English. Things can go wrong – finding the keys, alarm codes, a sudden need to delay departure – and, when they do, easy communication can make all the difference.
If time is of the essence (like, you need a place last minute), prioritize “Instant Book” listings.
This eliminates the time required for back-and-forth communication with hosts.
3. Check the photos
Look for listings with many high quality photos that give you an understanding of the space.
You wouldn’t rent a hotel room or hostel bed without quality photos of each room, so why do it on Airbnb.
Personally I won’t rent an Airbnb accommodation if the featured pictures of the bedroom and bathroom are dark or fuzzy and if there are too many close-up photos. I also feel the same way about superfluous photos related to the city.
I get the impression that there is something to hide. If the apartment is great, the host would show it. Right?
4. Read the guest reviews
Evaluating and reading the reviews is not much different than from any other online booking platform.
On Airbnb most properties have good review scores, so you should always set the bar high here.
I recommend to dismiss anything averaging less than four stars. Prioritze listings with a minimum of 10 reviews.
Focus on the reviews of the last 6 months (the most recent ones). Some hosts start out great and then get lazy and let standards slip. These are not the hosts for you.
When reading the reviews look out for consistent issues mentioned. Does everyone complain about arranging key pick-up? Does the Wifi connection cut off multiple times a day? Or was the owner an amazing host?
New listings! Well, if an apartment doesn’t have any reviews, it is unlikely that I’ll book it.
But that’s my personal preference.
I understand that everyone has to start somewhere, but I’m not comfortable being the first to give an accommodation a try.
5. Who is the host
In addition to the reviews, I also like to read a bit about the host. A good profile description helps me assess if it would be a good match and if the host is realiable.
I’ll check: Have they been verified by Airbnb? How soon do they respond to emails? Check the host’s “Response Rate” score in their profile.
Define your expectations. Looking to socialize or do you crave total privacy? Reviews from other guests will provide insight into how different hosts interacts with their guests.
But if the host requires guests to wash, dry and re-hang every towel in spectrum colour-order before leaving, that’s a tad too military.
6. Cancellation policy
Airbnb has standard cancellation policies ranging from “flexible” to “strict”. On flexible, you can get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance and mid-stay get refunded for nights 24 hours after you cancel.
On moderate, you receive a full refund for cancellation up to 5 days prior to arrival.
Strict means 50% refund up until 1 week prior to arrival.
Be sure to always mouse-over a host’s cancellation policy and pioritize the listings with flexible or at least moderate cancellation policies.
7. Check for discounts
Sometimes hosts offer a discount if you stay longer than a week. The information can be found under “Additional Prices”. However, even if there is nothing mentioned, it never hurts to ask. Hosts have the ability to send you a special offer.
Last but not least – ask questions. If any facts are unclear, always message the host and ask prior to committing to a booking.
What do you think about AirBnB? Love it? Hate it? Will never use it? Share your opinion!