Know What You Want
It’s important to have a general idea of what you’re looking for. What is the purpose of your stay? Are you looking for the cheapest option or are you interested in a unique getaway? I like to look for places that are very different than my own home with unique features. The great thing about staying at an Airbnb is immersing yourself in the culture of that area and staying in a place that reflects just that. Hotel rooms are pretty cookie cutter but with Airbnb, you can stay at some really cool places you may never have the opportunity to see. Make a check list and find a place that ticks off all your boxes; air conditioning, on-site parking, bath tub, skylight etc. You can get as creative as you want because the options are limitless.
Plan Ahead of Time
I recommend traveling with a plan. Do a few quick searches online and scope out the sites and restaurants you’re interested in. Make sure your Airbnb is in the general area of the places you want to visit or is at least a good midway point between them. This will really help narrow down your options. If you’re headed on a road trip and will be bringing a car, make sure to check the listing or ask your host if there is on-site parking. And if you don’t plan on having a car, look for other means of transportation in the area such as buses, trolleys or city bikes.
Pay Attention to Photos
The quality of photos can tell you a lot about the space. Blurry photos with poor lighting can often mean the host is trying hide something. If there are a lot of close-up photos of random plants, pillows etc. it’s a sure sign something is up. Of course, this can also mean the host is simply a bad photographer but take that with a grain of salt. IPhones can take great photos even in low light so there really shouldn’t be an excuse for bad pictures especially when you’re paying someone for their space. You want to know exactly what you’re getting yourself into and you expect to get what you see in those pictures. Try to find listings that show all the rooms. If the bathroom isn’t shown, odds are it’s small or in poor shape. Small details like this can really help guide you in your search.
Read the Reviews
If a listing has less than five reviews, it’s either new to the market or it’s not a wanted space. Find out. What are people writing about? You can easily find out about the cleanliness and condition of the space from reviews. Most people don’t hold back if they had a bad experience. Reviews are very helpful for small details you won’t get from the listing. For example, if you have a bad back you may want to see if anyone writes about the firmness of the mattress. Another comment I love seeing is about the shower water pressure. There’s nothing I can’t stand more than a half assed shower. Other things to look out for are any complaints of pet odor or any small children living above or below if the listing is in an apartment building. Traveling can be stressful enough, you don’t need a crying baby keeping you from a good nights rest.
Netflix and Chill
I always like to keep my eyes out for listings with added perks! Some hosts like to go above and beyond to make their guests feel more than welcome. A fully stocked kitchen with snacks and drinks or access to a guest Netflix account are just a few cool add-ons you can find. You can find out about these perks by reading reviews or even asking the host.
Get to Know Your Host
Some of the best experiences stem from an awesome host. I know many of us prefer not to interact with strangers but there are definite benefits to sending a simple message to say hello. If your host is cool, they can recommend restaurants and bars tourists may not know about. Airbnb also has an “experience” option. If your host offers an experience, it might be worth looking into. You can learn about the culture of the area your in or just make a friend in another city!