I must admit that I have always been a little weary of the idea of booking Airbnb. The thought of staying in a stranger’s home just didn’t seem appealing to me. To make matters worse, I’m an introvert and prefer to stay to myself when traveling. Plus, I love the amenities that hotels have to offer housekeeping and such.
During my recent trip to New York City, I decided to stay at an Airbnb in the Park Slope area of Brooklyn. We chose this area since it was conveniently located to all of the things that we wanted to do. I was pleasantly surprised and wanted to share my tips for choosing the right Airbnb. (Disclaimer: These are my honest opinions.)
Know what you want in a booking
Knowing what you want, will help you to refine your list of contenders. It was important for me to book a space that would allow me to either check in early or drop off my bags. We landed at 9am then had tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty at 11am. We needed the ability to drop off our bags and go. Other nonnegotiables were location and proximity to public transportation. A helpful tool is the wishlist feature which allows you to add places that you like so that you can compare the ones you’re considering.
Contact the host prior to booking
Reach out to the host to ask important questions. Use this opportunity as an indicator to the speed of the host’s response. Why is this important? For me, nothing is more annoying than not hearing from someone when you have a tight timeline to get things booked for your trip.
Review the map
Each listing will have a map of the location of the home or apartment. Look to see if it is near public transportation if that is your primary way to get around. Is the rental property near the things you plan to do or easy to access the places you want to visit? Are there places to eat nearby? That will be important as you navigate through the neighborhood.
Review the house rules
Every host has the ability to post rules for the guest(s) to abide by. If you do not see this listed, you should totally reach out to the host to get a copy. When reviewing the rules, ask yourself if you will be able to adhere to their demands. If the rules are unreasonable for you, move on to other options.
Read the reviews
The reviews provide good insight to past renters experiences. Personally, I would only be comfortable booking with a host that has a good number of reviews and has at least a 4.5 out of a 5 star rating. Also, look through the photos to get a sense of the space. I felt more comfortable with listings that had more pictures. If they had 1 or 2 photos, I started to wonder about the rest of the place and whether or not the host was hiding something.
Is the host certified?
Some hosts can earn the distinction of “superhost” which is indicated with a special badge image at the bottom of their listing. To earn this badge, a host must meet certain criteria such as having experience through completing 10 trips in their listings in a year, have a high response rate to messages, have at least 80% of their reviews with 5 stars, and have confirmed their reservations and rarely cancel. My host was a “superhost” and was very accommodating.
Some of the best places will book up pretty fast and early. Start your search early to open up your options. If you are in a crunch and need a place in a quick turn around, use the instant book feature. That way, no one snags your choice if you’re conversing with the host of your top choice.
Bonus Tip: Make a good impression
Just like you are able to leave reviews of hosts, they are able to leave reviews of you as a guest. These are reviews that other hosts are able to see as you make other bookings through the site. This also has implications for you as a future renter. Be sure to leave the space as clean as possible and not break any of the house rules that the host has established. Don’t forget to leave a detailed review for your host. During your booking, you will see how helpful reviews are for you. Pay it forward and help future renters make their decisions.
I hope that you find these tips helpful. Have you used Airbnb? Do you have a favorite rental property? Any tips and tricks for finding the right rental? Please share in the comments section.
If you’re looking to book an Airbnb, definitely take advantage of my code to receive $40 off your first booking of $75 or more. Visit here for more information or click the image below.