OUR TIPS AND TRICKS
As you know, we travel a lot and we have stayed in over a 100 Airbnbs so far! So, we have acquired a few techniques to help us find the best, most suitable ones for us. Keep reading for some tips and tricks that will help you have great Airbnb travel experiences too!
1. Always Ask Questions!
Yes, the description and photographs provided can (we say can as some are seriously lacking) provide all the information you need to make your decision BUT if in doubt always ask the host to clarify.
Asking questions has helped us to avoid being disappointed and booking what would have been an unsuitable place AND it has also ensured we have booked somewhere that we love, that has everything we want and need! A good example of this was when we were bike touring, more often than not we had to ask the host about bike storage - we struck gold numerous times by finding places that had designated secure bike storage rooms (which was not mentioned in the accommodation description) and avoided some high rise apartment blocks where locking the bikes to a street post would have been the only (undesired) option.
2. Use Airbnb Short Term Lets for longer trips.
If you are looking to book an Airbnb stay of 28 days or more, be sure to use the Airbnb Short Term Lets Website in addition to, or instead of, the regular Airbnb site.
It is common to get a discount on stays of a duration of 28 days or more. If a place doesn’t offer a discount, you can always contact the host directly and see would they consider doing so - pretty pretty please!
TIP: Some places offer weekly discounts too so don’t be afraid to ask!
3. Smoking and Pets.
Overall I would suggest if you are a non-smoker/hate smoking in general/hate the smell of smoke then do not book somewhere that allows smoking indoors at a minimum. We have stayed in many places that allowed smoking outside only and this has always been acceptable to us.
We would be slow to book a place that allowed smoking indoors, regardless of how nice it was. Of course, you can always take a chance and book a smoking allowed indoors and outdoors place. Perhaps you find a place that you love, or a place perfect for your budget, however, remember that you won’t get very far if you complain about the smell once you are there (if the host has made it known in their description). You might strike it lucky and find that no one has been smoking inside recently and so the place is all good… but you have to decide if this is a risk you are willing to take!
Pets are another factor that are important to consider. I am super clean and would HATE to stay somewhere that allows and regularly has pets inside meaning that I could potentially be brushing animal hairs off me, my belongings, the furniture and so on - no thanks, not for me! We got caught once with this and never again!
There are always exceptions to this, where pets are allowed but they rarely have had pets in the accommodation and/or the host is super clean and you would never know they allowed a pet indoors - which is the way is should be regardless but hey unfortunately that’s not always the case. Again, is this a risk you are will to take? Moreover, if you have a pet allergy this would be a very important consideration when booking a place.
NOTE: This is where you can refer back to point No.1 of this article - don’t be afraid to ask the host a question e.g. “I see you allow pets, would you regularly have guests with their pets in your place?”.
4. Read the Reviews!
This is very obvious but it has to be mentioned. The more reviews the better, old and new, they will give you a feel for the place and more importantly for the host, whom you will be interacting with.
Sometimes issues arise and are mentioned in a review in the form of a complaint e.g. Wi-Fi not working. You can learn from this, you can see what (if any) action the host has taken in response to the complaint, as hosts will usually comment on a negative review with their side of the story or to report that they have taken action to remedy the issue e.g. a new Internet provider is now in place and that is good, that is the kind of proactive hands-on host you want!
Often reviews will mention the REAL size of a place, for better or worse! We have stayed in a few places which were far larger than they appeared in their photographs and vice versa, this is something you would normally mention in your review of a place.
Reviews are often great for getting a more accurate idea of the location of a place, e.g. is it really only 15 minutes from the centre? or is is more like 30 minutes away? - you get the idea!
5. Photographs… So… How reliable are they?
The quality of photographs on Airbnb listings can vary drastically and wide angled lenses are favoured by many (mostly those with the word “cosy” in their listing title). Our advice would be to never book a place just because the listing looks great in the photographs, no matter how tempted you are! Filters are well and widely used, especially for brightening places, tricking you into thinking that is natural light you are seeing and next thing you know you are in a basement with no windows!
Photographs are great for spotting certain things such as:
- How many (if any) windows a place has?
- What floor is it on?
- Is it a lived in place where the owner moves out for a few days while you take over their space?
- Is it more of a holiday rental which generally don’t have many personal items?
- Is there a proper full kitchen or just a camp stove and microwave crammed in the corner of a room?
- Is there a free standing shower or a shower in a bathtub?
… and so on, you get the idea! Again, asking questions will quickly make this clear if the photographs do not!
We have also eliminated places based on poor quality or lack of photos - harsh I know but hey who wants to rent a place that you can’t even see beforehand! Blurred photos taken on old mobile phones do exist. Photographs where the place has not even been tidied/cleaned for the photographs e.g. unmade messy bed, dirty kitchen counters, full rubbish bins etc. These are immediate red flags for us as if the host didn’t clean up for the photographs (lazy?) how likely is it they will clean up for your stay?! This is a risk we are not willing to take!
So … yeah photographs are great but should be viewed with caution :-)
So that’s it…
We hope you found this article helpful and of course these are just our own travel experiences, tips and tricks :-)
One more “tip”…
NOTE: This is just our observations, a bit of fun and by no means factual!
There are a few words that you will see used over and over again in the titles of Airbnb listings. For fun, we have explained our personal interpretation of some of these frequently used descriptions…
Cosy = small, limited storage, sore shins from hitting off furniture!
Rustic = rundown, cobwebs, rough and ready!
Charming = low ceilings, narrow stairs, short bed, oddly shaped rooms.
Peaceful = middle of nowhere, need public transport or bike or car or aeroplane to get anywhere that you plan on visiting!