If you’ve never stayed at an Airbnb before and are feeling hesitant, here are our best tips to make booking that dream home just a little bit easier.
And if you’re still not sure Airbnb is for you, check out my Airbnb Addict post to become convinced!
(An Airbnb we stayed at in Seminyak, Bali)
Make an Airbnb account if you don’t already have one
This is the first step in wanting to stay at an Airbnb. You won’t be able to stay at a home without one. Setting up an account is pretty straight forward. You’ll need your basic information; name, email, password, birthday and a short paragraph about yourself. This paragraph is what hosts read when they’re trying to decide if they’re comfortable with you staying in their home. Make sure you write a detailed description about yourself and your family (if you have a family you travel with), being as personal as you can. The more you share, the better. If you’ve never used Airbnb before and have no reviews yet, your description is especially important.
Start your hunt for the perfect home
This is the fun part and why I love this company so much. So this is what I usually do when I’m planning a new trip. I’ll first decide if I want to stay in one or two homes while I’m traveling. Waseem and I don’t really ever travel for less than 10 days at a time to one place, and if we do, we will almost always split our trip down the middle so that we can stay in two homes on opposite sides of the city, so we feel like we got to see as much as we could on our trip. I will then zoom in on the area I’m interested in and open up a new tab with each home I find interesting.
(An Airbnb we stayed at in Mattituck, NY)
Send messages to hosts whose homes you’re considering
I then narrow it down to 3 or 4 that I think are the most exciting to us and immediately send the host a message asking if their home is available for my dates (the calendars are sometimes off) to open up communication lines and buy us some time to decide where we want to stay. Then I’ll just wait to hear back from the hosts I messaged and compare and contrast all homes that are available and decide where we want to stay then. A big part of making our decision is reading the reviews the home has. If I’m torn between two places, the one with the better reviews always wins. Some homes also have “super hosts” (there will be a small medal near their name up top) and those are the ones we tend to lean towards.
I think sending messages to hosts before booking is a great way to ask any questions or give the host the opportunity to ask you anything they may want to know about you or your family, or what type of trip you’re taking for example. We recently traveled to Bali and while I was looking for an Airbnb for Waseem and I and our son Zayd, I wanted to know if the hosts had a baby cot for Zayd to sleep in so I asked them all in the messages I sent prior to booking. Just a good way to add an extra step to help with the choosing which home to stay at option.
Review every home you stay at
A tip I can’t stress the importance of enough is reviewing the homes you stay at even if you didn’t enjoy your stay. Airbnb works as a model because of reviews. The fact that you are able to learn more about a place by what others say about it is key to the type of experience you’ll have. When I’m looking at a potential home I want to stay at, reviews are everything. The pictures could be amazing, the location could be on point, the price could be out of this world, but if there are no reviews or none that excite me, I’ll immediately forget the place and move on. By the same token, if the pictures could be better and the location not the best and the price a little more than I want to spend but the reviews are really great and the host seems to really care about their guests, I’ll be more likely to keep it in the running.
What’s really awesome about writing reviews on Airbnb is that, you won’t be able to review a host until your stay is over. After your stay, the host is given a week to review you and you are given a week to review your host. What’s great is that neither of you will be able to read the others review if you don’t both write one! This entices you to write one even more!
(An Airbnb houseboat we stayed at in Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Ask if it would be possible to get a discount (nicely)
Last but not least, always ask if you can get a price deduction. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does and it’s so so great when it does! A little treat to get you even more pumped for your new adventure!
If you’re still not sure Airbnb is for you, check out my Airbnb Addict post to become convinced!