Since I started all of my traveling, Airbnb has been one of my favorite resources. It’s a great way to find affordable accommodation that suits all of your needs. But for a newbie, I can see how this site could be intimidating! Although it’s definitely user-friendly, an unseasoned user might not know about some of the best ways to find exactly what they need. So here is my list of 5 ways you can ensure you get the best accommodation on your next adventure!
1) Use Filters
This is a pretty basic tip. I’m sure we’ve all done some online shopping where you can pick specific attributes for a product: like price, shoe size, dress color, etc. Well, the same thing applies to Airbnb! You can choose a price range, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, which amenities you require (do you need wifi, laundry, wheelchair accessibility…). But one of the best filters in my opinion, is ‘Room Type’, because here, you can pick whether you want a full apartment to yourself, a private room, or a shared room. I suggested Airbnb to a friend of mine recently and his response was something along the lines of “I don’t want to stay somewhere and worry about feeling awkward around the people living there!” Well guess what, friend-of-mine? You don’t have to! In fact, 90% of my Airbnb stays have been in full apartments, meaning the host met up with me to just give me keys and show me around, and there have been other times where they let me know where to find the key and I never even saw them in person.
2) Look at the Reviews
Again, this is basic and a tool we’ve probably all used when looking at a product online, but it’s also super important! All Airbnb hosts get reviewed after a guest stays (and guests are reviewed by hosts, too). I like to look at how many reviews they have and the number of average number of stars. The website also breaks things down further, and hosts/bnbs are given stars for things like cleanliness, location, and value.
I’ve also learned it can be good to check up on places you’ve booked. STORY TIME!
Last summer I visited Philadelphia, PA, and booked an Airbnb. The location was good and there were plenty of great reviews! But when my friends and I arrived, it was NOT up to our standards. I won’t go into details here for fear of making this post like, 40x longer than it should be. But when I went onto the app after arriving to look again at the listing, I saw that several awful reviews had been posted in the 2 months since I booked! So although the reviews were good at the time of booking, the property had gone majorly downhill since. If I had checked the reviews as the trip got closer, maybe I could’ve avoided the shock of walking into a not-so-great bnb, and booked something else to stay in! So again, check reviews before booking AND again a couple weeks before arrival, because you never know what could happen!
3) Location, Location, Location
Sometimes when I’m looking for the perfect place, I get so excited about how great a listing looks in its pictures and description that I forget to really inspect the map. While you don’t get the exact address of a listing until after a confirmed booking, each listing does have a general radius shown on a map of where the place is located. I’ve learned that this tool really needs to be utilized, as you can see how close a listing is to a train station, an airport, the main square of a town, etc. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of this!! Finding somewhere close to the train station & downtown is one of my top priorities!
4) Check Out the Amenities
And when you do this, keep in mind the season and what the weather might be like when you visit. For example, when I book a trip to NYC in the summertime, which I have done several times, one of the most important things to look for in a listing is AIR CONDITIONING. I don’t know if you’ve been to NYC in July/August, but it. gets. HOTTTTTTTTT.
There are other great things to look for, like washing machine availability if you’re not packing a lot of clothes. Or, if you’re a fitness buff, you can look for gym facilities. There are various different amenities offered depending on the bnb.
A quick list of other potentially important amenities: hair dryer, linens (usually a given), wifi, parking, whether pets are allowed, elevator, etc. I think you get the picture. 😉
5) Instant Book Feature
The instant book is exactly what it sounds like: instead of waiting and agonizing over whether or not you’re going to be accepted for the place you adore, some locations utilize the instant book feature. Not every listing has this, but any that do will have a little lightning bolt next to it when you’re looking on a map. I love this feature because when you find exactly what you’re looking for in a bnb, sometimes you just wanna book it immediately and not feel anxious or worry about being denied.
I hope you found some of these tips helpful! If you think of anything else, please leave your ideas in the comments section!
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