Airbnb is becoming a huge travel sensation. Everyone is using it nowadays and darn right! You are not necessarily confined to one room. You’re somewhere with character (or as much character as you choose). You choose your location, your apartment (for a few weeks) and you can do what you like there… Within reason of course.
But how should you use Airbnb? And what do you do when you’ve booked?
WHAT IS AIRBNB?
Airbnb is a website which allows homeowners to rent their apartment to those travelling. There are a huge range of places to choose from including castles, tree houses, studio apartments and more. You can even just stay in the spare room in someone’s home!
I will confess the idea of staying in a room in someone’s house isn’t my thing. I feel awkward so I have no personal experience with that. Personally, I will always be happy to pay an extra few quid to have a whole place.
Location, location, location.
You may log onto Airbnb and immediately find a place that you fall in love with and book it. But then you research the area and realise it’s the worst part of the city of be staying in. To avoid the anxiety, cancellation fees or being stuck in the middle of nowhere do the following:
- Research the nicest/safest areas in the city you’re planning on staying in. Expect it to be a little more pricey!
- Read the reviews given by others on the place you’re looking at.
- Airbnb in certain cities as been affected by laws. San Francisco for example require all hosts to have a licence, insurances etc. to stop people subletting. We had this issue and our booking was cancelled. Make sure you do you research to avoid cancellations.
- Check the hosts rules and guidelines for staying in their home.
- Does it have all the amenities you require? For example, if you are staying for over a week you may wish to wash your clothes so check if their is a washer/dryer.
- Add it to your wish list and it’s good to shop around.
- Message the host to introduce yourself and to ask any questions (including the laws that may be going on in their area, check they have the relevant documentation)
- Once you are happy with the area, the reviews and the host, book 🙂
If the host has to cancel on you, you do get a full refund plus Airbnb will give you a percentage on top of that for the inconvenience. If you’re cancelling however, you will have to pay a certain percentage to the host.
BEFORE YOU STAY
Update your profile – Make sure you write enough about yourself that the host will be happy to have you in their home.
Talk to your host – Make sure you keep in regular contact with your host a couple of weeks before you arrive. Let them know when you are landing, whether you can check in a little earlier, what time you are leaving, whether you can check out later etc. It’s incredibly helpful for both of you to keep each other up to date on what is going on with your plans so everything runs smoothly.
In your area – You may have booked accommodation in the most awesome area but it’s useful to take a look online to see whether you can see where the closest super market.
WHEN YOU GET THERE
When you check into your apartment/house/castle you will often by greeted by the host or a friend. They will show you around your accommodation, go through any rules or questions you may have.
Questions I always ask:
- Where do we leave the trash/rubbish?
- How often is the trash/garbage collected?
- How does your washing machine work?
- Where shall we leave the keys when checking out?
- Is there anything we can’t use/eat/drink?
Usually they have told me everything else I need to know whether it be online, face to face or in a welcome manual. If you remember something when they are gone don’t hesitate to drop them a message.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED
Before you run out to the shops for dinner and tea bags take a look around the apartment. If you have been told you can use what’s in the cupboards don’t feel bad about using it. If you use it all up it is common courtesy to replace it so keep a list of what you use.
Here is a shopping list I tend to put together on our first day should there be nothing there for us to use:
- Tea bags
- Bottled water
- Orange juice
- Toilet roll (usually there are spares about!)
- Kitchen roll
- Bin bags
- Shampoo (we tend to use ours up within two weeks)
- Shower gel (as above)
- Toothpaste (often forgotten)
- Washing powder (for the washing machine if there is none provided)
- Washing up liquid (if not provided)
On top of that we plan our meals for the next couple of days and buy what we require for that.
Other bits you may wish to consider buying whilst at the shop to help you get through the days in between meals:
- Sandwich fillers
- Chocolate bars
These are always good to keep in the fridge/cupboard as they have a good few days of shelf life and are handy to nibble on.
A FEW THINGS TO CONSIDER
It’s handy to remember that you are staying in someone’s home. Whether they are there all the time doesn’t matter as they own (or should own) the property. So be respectful and treat the accommodation better than you would your own house.
In addition, it’s useful to remember that not every place will be perfect. These homes aren’t hotels. They may have a little wear and tear but does that REALLY affect the quality of your stay?
Unless there is flooding, mouldy walls or broken utilities, you will be fine!
WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG IN THE APARTMENT?
If you get a swarm of ants or the toilet goes crazy and starts spewing water over the place, contact the host immediately. They will arrange for something to be sorted out as they know the area better than you as well as the bet person to contact to solve the issue. Plus it’s their place and have the right to know haha 🙂
If it’s something you can fix (like simply mopping up the water) just let them know what happened so they can get someone to check it out once you’ve left.
Should you arrive arrive at your accommodation and you’re not happy with it’s cleanliness, it’s safety etc. take photographs and then contact Airbnb. They will discuss options to you.
THE END OF YOUR STAY
If you have paid a cleaning fee you don’t have to clean top to bottom. Just be considerate and make sure the place is tidy and everything is where it was. Throw away any rubbish and wash up any crockery.
It’s also kind to leave a good review of your stay and/or a pressie for your host just to say thank you.
I hope this was helpful to you and will be of some use should you wish to use Airbnb on your travels! There are more hints and tips on Airbnb here.
GET £30 TRAVEL CREDIT WHEN YOU SIGN UP AND RESERVE HERE (affiliate link)
Do you have any tips for staying in Airbnb locations?