You’ve probably heard of Airbnb before, that booking site where you can stay at a local’s place for half the price of a hotel. But have you tried it yet? If you didn’t, that’s a shame! Because you could have saved loads of money by doing it. We understand that not every aspect of the Airbnb concept is clear for everyone, so we’ve made this beginners guide that will help you to make your first stay as pleasant as possible.
YOUR AIRBNB BEGINNERS GUIDE
WHAT IS AIRBNB?
Everyone knows that when you travel, you can stay in hotels, hostels, B&B’s and even do some Couchsurfing.
In a Bed & Breakfast, homeowners transform their home into a small hotel, where you get a room and where your breakfast gets served in the morning.
When you Couchsurf, you get a room, bed or couch where you can sleep at a local his place. It’s free, but you need to consider the life of your host and spend some time with him/her.
When you blend the concepts of a B&B and Couchsurfing, you get Airbnb. But Airbnb goes one step further. Airbnb has become the biggest accommodation-sharing online platform, where ordinary people like you and me, offer a room or even the whole house/apartment to complete strangers in exchange for a small fee, all over the world.
It’s not only possible to sleep in houses and apartments with Airbnb, but also campervans, windmills, chalets, boats, treehouses, and much more. It just offers you the opportunity to stay in unique places on cool locations during your travels.
IS AIRBNB SAFE TO USE?
We understand that safety is an important issue when you are traveling, and this question will probably pop up if you’re a first-time user. Airbnb is absolutely safe if you use it wisely!
The whole system is built with thousands of real users, which are both hosts and guests. After each stay, they need to give each other a review that becomes visible on their page afterward.
So what you need to look for are good reviews. The more, the better. We usually skip accommodations without reviews. If it doesn’t have reviews and it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
Other things that help to see if it won’t be a scam is a verified account, verified telephone number, references and connected social networks.
WHY IS IT BENEFICIAL FOR TRAVELERS?
Often, hotels ask too much money for just a room in a big building. With Airbnb, you can find the right accommodation that suits your needs for a better value of money. Rooms, whole apartments or houses that are listed on the website are often much cheaper than the average room you’ll find in nearby hotels, and you get much more for it.
But there’s more!
- One of the benefits of booking with Airbnb is that you’ll be able to cook for yourself, which will save you money.
- Staying in an Airbnb accommodation will make you feel more ‘at home’ in that particular place or city.
- If you stay in a shared apartment, you’ll have the chance to get to know the hosts that live there, which will give you tips on enjoying the city even more.
- Traveling as a couple or with a group of friends? Awesome! Because then you’ll be able to share the costs.
By using Airbnb, we already stayed in a real local apartment with courtyard in Berlin, a serviced flat in Ho Chi Minh during Christmas & New Year, a new two-story apartment in Perth for the same price as a bed in a hostel and in a charming modern house right in the middle of rice fields of Ubud in Bali.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
SET UP YOUR PROFILE
Setting up an account is very easy! Go to Airbnb.com and set up your new profile. It’s possible to make a profile with your Facebook account to make the process painless. Be sure to fill in as much information as you can, because the more legit your profile looks, the better. Hosts can accept or decline your booking request, and you want them to trust their place to you, don’t you?
Travel Tip: Click on the following link to get a free $40 coupon to use on your next stay with Airbnb, even if it isn’t your first time.
SEARCH FOR YOUR NEXT STAY
Search the right property in the place and time of your choice. Enter your preferred location, dates, and number of persons in the search box. Airbnb will then show you all the available accommodations in a list – and map view. You can easily filter all the amenities to your needs. Only want to see entire homes with a swimming pool and washing machine? No problem! You’re just a couple of clicks and tweaks away from your dream accommodation.
Use the map view to see more accommodations that fit your needs. Zoom in to see more places, or to search in a particular area, etc… Set a maximum price to minimize the number of properties and to make your search more easily.
BOOK YOUR STAY
Booking your next stay is really straightforward. If you have found what you need, read some ace reviews, and everything that is offered in that property is exactly what you’ve been searching for, then you can proceed by requesting a booking.
Travel Tip: Always carefully check the price before you request a booking. The service fee and possible cleaning fee can make the final price higher. But the price won’t change after your booking request.
Requesting a booking doesn’t mean that you can start packing your bags. First, you’ll have to write a short introduction about your travel. Don’t write a whole letter, just let the host know who you are, who you’ll be traveling with and what the purpose of your trip is. Now is also the perfect time to ask all your extra questions about the stay.
Travel Tip: Short on time? Look for properties with a lightning bolt icon. This icon shows that you can book them instantly and don’t have to wait for an approval by the host.
WAIT FOR A REPLY FROM THE HOST
If you entered your phone number when making your profile, you’d get a text message when your host has answered. You also get an email notification for your convenience. Keeping in touch with the host is possible through the message interface on the website or app.
If the host sees that you’re trustworthy, then they’ll be most likely to accept your booking. Note that no money will be withdrawn from your credit card or PayPal until the host has accepted the booking.
DISCUSS THE CHECK-IN DETAILS & START PACKING YOUR BAGS
It’s important to get answers to all your questions before your trip, so you don’t end up with bad surprises on your arrival. Most hosts meet you in person when you check-in but sometimes the property has a code lock. You can find all the details of your stay under the tab ‘Your Trips’ in your account.
Don’t forget to claim your free $40 coupon to use on your next stay!
WHAT IF THERE’S A PROBLEM?
BEFORE YOUR STAY
If your guest cancels the booking, you’ll get a full refund and get help with booking a new place to stay that fits your needs.
If you want to cancel the booking, your refund amount will be determined by your host’s cancellation policy. This often depends on how close you are to the date of the trip. If you need to cancel last-minute because of an out-of-your-control incident, then you can get a full refund from Airbnb after contacting their support service.
DURING YOUR STAY
The customer support team of Airbnb is 24/7 available for any questions or remarks. They will do anything in their power to make your stay as comfortable as possible and will even find other accommodations in the neighborhood if yours isn’t as expected.
AFTER YOUR STAY
Give the host an honest review about what you didn’t like about the place so they can work on the things that aren’t on point yet. If you think that you deserve a refund after your stay, it’s now possible to handle this through Airbnb’s Resolution Centre.
MORE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
READ THE DESCRIPTION CAREFULLY
Hosts can make their own house rules, and some won’t fit your travel plans (for example if you travel with your pet). Make sure you read the house rules and description carefully before making a booking.
CHECK FOR DETAILS ON PHOTOS
Some things look nice but aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes, places can be beautifully photographed but are dirty when you walk in the front door. Like in Bali, we found a lovely house with swimming pool for a low price. When we arrived, there was a big issue with mold on the walls. Things that were visible on the pictures but we became blind for it because of the nice photos of the pool and rooms.
YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF EVERYTHING YOURSELF
When you book an Airbnb, there’s no such thing as room service, cleaning service during your stay or luggage storage after check-out. This is just someone’s house where you’ll stay in. It’s your responsibility to keep the place clean and treat it with respect. It’s also safe to take all the amenities you might need, like towels, shampoo, toothpaste, etc.
MAKE GOOD AGREEMENTS WITH THE HOST BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL
Some properties have electronic door locks, with others you’ll have to see your host to get the key before you can enter the property. Make good arrangements beforehand so you won’t have to wait too long on them. It’s also good to know when to check-out. Some want you to check-out on a certain time, others are flexible about what time you can leave the property.
Travel Tip: Need to check-out early and want to enjoy more time in the area? You can leave your luggage in lockers at most of the bigger train stations.
INTERNET CONNECTION ON YOUR PHONE IS ESSENTIAL
We suggest having enough data on your phone, so you can connect to the internet when needed. If something goes wrong, you’re late or you can’t find the place, then it’s easy to connect to the internet, open the Airbnb app, and find all the contact details of the host. In worst-case scenarios, you can contact Airbnb’s support team easily to help you out.
GET A FREE $40 DISCOUNT FOR YOUR NEXT STAY
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