Hello, my favorite lil’ travelers. So, to my surprise, a lot of people give me a weird questioning look when I tell them I stayed at an Airbnb. “Airbnb? What’s that?” “Is it like a hotel?” “Why are you so cheap?” In a nutshell, Airbnb is a site that allows users to rent out short-term accommodation such as entire homes, apartments, bedrooms, and so on. Although Airbnb has gained a lot of popularity in the last few years, I understand that some of you may have no experience with this sick company. Fear not, best buds, I’ve got you. Here’s five tips on how to use Airbnb to your advantage.
1. Know Your Needs
The beauty of Airbnb is that it allows you to choose certain filters to find the best accommodation for you. First off, establish your budget and adjust the price range to fit that. If you’re a college student and ballin’ on a budget, see where there’s room for flexibility. If you’re traveling in a group, know how many beds and bathrooms you need. Is anyone willing to crash on the couch? Do you have air mattresses? Then get down to other necessities and we where there’s wiggle room. Do you plan on cooking to save money? Make sure your place has a kitchen. Do you want access to a laundry machine and dryer for a long stay? Select that filter. Do you mind sharing the place with the host, or do you want the entire place for your group? A key tip to remember when going abroad is finding a place that has WiFi (Roaming is expensive, so WiFi allows you to use your phone to communicate with others when needed). Whatever the case, always keep in mind that you are on vacation, and the room doesn’t need to be super flashy because, hopefully, you’ll barely be in it.
2. Pay Attention To House Rules & Fees
Some hosts are more lenient than others with the rules they enforce. Some have a no smoking policy, a noise policy, parking, etc. Depending on what seems too strict for you, you might need to look into different options. Also, look out for fees. Almost all rentals on Airbnb will require a one time cleaning fee. However, some hosts will also include a security deposit, heating fee, and so on. Not everyone does this, but just make sure you know what the set requirements are before requesting to book.
3. Read the Reviews
I highly recommend reading the reviews that previous travelers have left on the house you’re considering renting. Obviously, there are instances when people over exaggerate because they’re very picky and like to make a fuss. However, if there’s a consistency of bad reviews for a house/host, you might want to take them into consideration. If a lot of people complain that the house was gross, or that the host was not helpful or rude, you might not want to deal with that and look somewhere else. I don’t say this to freak you guys out or anything. I’ve stayed at my fair share of rentals on Airbnb since freshmen year of college, and I’ve never had any issues with the hosts or homes I stay in. On the contrary, I prefer staying at an Airbnb rental than an actual hotel. Reading reviews tells you not only the potential bad parts of the rental, but also the great parts. Good reviews might sway your opinion on a place you were unsure of. As with everything, take reviews with a grain of salt.
4. Build Travel Credit
I’m in the midst of planning a trip to Europe after graduation with my best friend. One of the things we’ve been doing to save money is building our travel credit on Airbnb. How do we do this? Basically, we send a friend our code for Airbnb. Once they sign up, they get $40 off their first trip, and we get $20 once they book their first trip. Summer’s coming up friends, so a lot of people are planning trips. That travel credit builds up, and it definitely helps us since we’re going to multiple countries in Europe. Speaking of which, if any of you guys are going on a trip, use my link when signing up for Airbnb and get $40 off your trip! 😀
5. Try Out Airbnb Experiences
If you don’t know exactly what you want to do on a trip, or even in your own town, Airbnb has got the tool for you. It has a nifty, new section for “experiences” which allows you to choose from many different categories (e.g. music, food, art, sport, lifestyle, etc.) in the area. A host will arrange for you to do whatever activity you choose over a certain amount of days, which takes all the stress from planning away from arranging everything yourself. It’s really a sweet deal, and you get to try something new! I’d definitely try this out if you’re stuck on what to do!