Where ever you’re going on your trip, the chances are that you’ll find plenty of accommodation options to choose from on Airbnb. It might even be hard to select one. There’s no problem at first – even if you can’t decide between your selection of say, six places, then you can save them to a wishlist.
Once you’ve done this, it’s important to study each listing very carefully. One of the most common niggles that Airbnb hosts mention is that of guests who just weren’t expecting various aspects of the listing. See below some of the factors that it’s important to check before you book.
ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN THE RIGHT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION
It sounds like a no-brainer but there are still people who, for example, will choose a place and be surprised when they arrive that they have rented a room in a shared home. This is quite common. (“Did they really think they were getting a four-bedroom house with pool and hot tub in this select neighbourhood for $45 a night???”) Check the listing but when you search there three options, entire place, private room or shared room. Choose accordingly.
BE SURE THAT THE LOCATION IS RIGHT FOR YOU
The exact location of the place you’re looking at won’t be shown on the map – understandably as this is a security issue for the host. So check. Check Google to find out about the neighbourhood. Google can find anything., anywhere. Be realistic – you’re unlikely to find a place that’s within easy walking distance to all the nightlife that’s also peaceful, quiet and relaxing. Only give fewer that 5 stars for location If, and only if, the location has been misrepresented. (Example, ‘two minutes walk to the beach’ is actually a ten-minute jog).
BE SURE TO CHECK ANY SPECIFIC NEEDS YOU HAVE
Accommodations are a varied as guests and hosts will tell you that no two guests have the same requirements. If you have any special requirements, be sure to check the listing. For example, if you’re allergic to cats be sure to check the blurb to make sure that no cats live there. Or message the host. Genuine hosts will be happy to answer your queries even before you book.
FIND OUT IF THE PLACE HAS ANY AMENITIES THAT YOU SIMPLY MUST HAVE
If you can’t live without air conditioning, or you can’t manage a kitchen with a dishwasher, or you definitely can’t climb stairs, or you must have a tub as well as a shower, if you couldn’t bear the thought of being in a cold country without central heating, if you have any allergies, if you can’t live without a certain amenity (such as internet or TV), if you definitely need to be private, if you need to be within one mile of a certain location….
Thoroughly read that listing and if you can’t find out, then message the host.
BE REALISTIC ABOUT YOUR DESTINATION
If you’ve lived all your life in middle America or the Scottish highlands or whatever then realise that if you’re going to India, or South Florida, or Thailand, or Australia, or Brazil, or Switzerland, or Abu Dhabi or New York, or Finland, or Baku or a million other places things aren’t going to be what you’re used to.
AND BE REALISTIC ABOUT THE ACCOMMODATION TOO
If you’re renting accommodation for $25 per night and you find that it’s not a luxury place and although it’s clean it has traffic noise, it’s not in the ultimate neighbourhood and the furnishings are cheap and cheerful, then don’t be surprised. If you’re staying on a farm then expect animal and machinery noises and the occasional pong.
Rent a yurt and you’ll probably have to walk a couple of hundred yards to the bathroom or use a chemical loo nearby. On a private island, it’s unlikely that you’ll get a pizza delivered. If you are staying in the treehouse, there will be insects. In a busy city you’re unlikely to have free parking for your car etc. etc. etc.
FINALLY – BE HONEST WITH YOUR HOST BEFORE AND AFTER YOU BOOK
If you know that the only flight you can get to the area arrives in the evening – and your host’s stated check-in time is 4 pm, then ask your host before you book if they can accommodate a late check-in. If you are visiting the area to visit family and would like to host your relatives for dinner in your self-catering rental then ask beforehand if it will be okay.
Yikes, something hosts really hate is a surprise at check-in time. When you do book your place, please be honest with your host. Don’t try to sneak four people into a rental that has a maximum occupancy of two, don’t take a dog or a baby to a rental that doesn’t allow pets or children.
Remember two important facts here:
- Hosts keep a careful eye on guests for obvious reasons. If you’re staying in the hosts home with them then you should think of yourself as a house guest rather than a hotel guest. Even if the property is an entire place, you might find that it’s a suite within the host’s home. And most hosts who aren’t on the premises use (disclosed) cameras outside their homes to monitor comings and goings. Try to be sneaky and chances are that your host will know
- After you’ve left your accommodation, Airbnb will ask you to review and rate your stay. The thing is, that Airbnb also asks the host to review and rate you. And their review will be seen on the Airbnb website – a public platform. If you plan on using Airbnb more than once, or if you care about your online reputation, then you want to get an exemplary review from your host.
Be careful in your selection, be a great guest and have a fabulous trip!
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.