It never ceases to amaze me just how dramatically technology can change the way we live our lives. When the personal computer was introduced, it took a couple of years for use to become mainstream – but now you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t use a computer throughout the day.
Now with the smart phone and constant access to the internet, we have more options available to us than ever before and entire industries are being revolutionized – including the travel industry.
You may know by now that traveling is one of my favorite hobbies, and one of the biggest technological changes to affect traveling is Airbnb.
For those who might not know, Airbnb is a platform that allows users to host/rent rooms with a simple tap of the finger. Hosts prepare a room in their home or property and place an ad on the platform which then allows guests to browse and secure dates for the room as needed. Airbnb rooms essentially function as a less expensive hotel room – or even an apartment for long-term use.
The great thing about Airbnb is that it gives shared control of the stay to the host and guest, without corporate policies getting in the way of a mutually beneficial deal. And Airbnb rooms can be found all over the world – opening up new traveling options that would otherwise be impossible.
Today, I’d like to share some quick tips for using Airbnb to maximize your traveling plans.
Review the Listing Carefully
It goes without saying that you should take a careful look at any listing before booking. Some hosts will have “creative” ads to entice guests, and while they may have the best intentions, you want to ensure that the place fits your expectations on your trip.
For example, sometimes a room may be described as “cozy” but should really say “small.” Or if a listing says “private” but doesn’t indicate a separate room – there may just be a curtain blocking your bed from view of three other people in a shared room.
Make sure to look at the photos that are posted. Does the room look clean? Does it show all of the things listed in the ad? A picture is worth a thousand words.
Most Airbnb hosts are honest enough with their listings (they want good reviews after all), but it’s always best to really look over the ad to avoid any disappointment. Speaking of reviews, read them. Reviews will also give insight into the listing as well as the host. If a host has dozens of positive reviews claiming that the spot is a good deal, is clean, is convenient, etc. – then it’s a safe bet that you will enjoy your stay there.
Like all things, learning how to spot a good deal on Airbnb can take some time and experience. The higher the price for your stay, the nicer the place will be – but you can find some really good deals on a room that fits both your expectations and budget with a little investigating.
Booking for Deals
When you are booking Airbnb rooms, it’s important to understand and anticipate any fluctuations that may affect pricing. For example, if the place you’re traveling to has a tourist season, the prices might be higher during a time when more people are booking Airbnb stays.
Naturally, hosts don’t want to lose out on any opportunities so keep this in mind when booking your stay. One way to grab the best deals and the best rooms is by booking weeks in advance. One of the benefits to Airbnb is being able to seamlessly secure a stay, but you will get better deals and better rooms by taking the time to book early.
Depending on how long you will be in the area, you may want to book for extended stays (a couple of weeks or even months.) Airbnb and even hosts will factor in discounts for extended stays – saving you hundreds of dollars that you would have otherwise paid for the spot.
When you do book a room – MAKE SURE YOU BOOK THROUGH TO THE NEXT DAY!
Airbnb calculates the last day as move-out day, so book through to the day you want to leave.
Contacting Hosts & Support
Airbnb has a phenomenal customer support team who are available at all hours in case there is an issue with your stay. If you are unhappy with your room or if you cannot contact the host – the Airbnb support team will work tirelessly to address your concerns.
They are also known to offer you discounts or comped services if things don’t work out with your experience. For example, if a host accepts your booking but does not coordinate with you for your arrival, you may want to contact Airbnb support as they can offer you hundreds of dollars in credit toward another room. That means you will get a much nicer stay for the same price.
Also, it is always a good idea to contact hosts prior to your stay. Some hosts leave their listings in auto-accept, but may never check their app – meaning they might not know that you’re arriving! To avoid any issues with your trip, just contact the host through the Airbnb platform before your stay and sure up everything.
Airbnb’s are a great experience and a great deal for anyone looking to travel on a budget or for people who want to avoid stuffy hotels. A lot of Airbnb rooms are really nice places with even nicer hosts who will entertain you and give you a glimpse into the life of a local.
When you use Airbnb, make sure that you are respectful and treat the room as if it were your own. There is a review system after all, which could determine your opportunities later on. And make sure to leave an honest review of your stay – it keeps the platform accurate and hosts always appreciate good feedback and credibility.
Hopefully you can use these tips on your next trip if you’re interested in using Airbnb.
~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City, Missouri