Renting an apartment through Airbnb is a great accommodation option that gives you the flexibility and comfort to feel at home in even the most distant destination. However, it can be daunting for first-time Airbnb users to select their ideal apartment from the plethora of accommodation options on the site.
After staying in over 10 different Airbnb accommodations across Europe and the US, I have five tips to picking a great apartment for your stay. Read on to learn more …
1) Think about what you want in an accommodation
Before even opening your internet browser to the Airbnb website, I’d suggest thinking about what you are looking for in an accommodation. If you don’t mind taking public transportation and are traveling on a budget, perhaps you want to stay a bit outside of the city center.
If you are traveling with children, maybe you’ll want to look for an accommodation in a building that has an elevator and an apartment that has a crib and some toys.
If you are a digital nomad, you probably need to look for an accommodation with fast, free Wi-Fi and equipment to make coffee. One of the great things about Airbnb is that you can find any and all of these options … and more!
2) Location is everything
After you’ve thought about exactly what you are looking for in an accommodation, it is time to open your browser and check out the offerings! For me, this is the exciting part. I love sifting through the available apartments and looking for exactly what I’d like, but I’m always sure to look at the location first. Similar to how you would book another accommodation (i.e., a hotel), looking for an apartment in an ideal location can save money, hassle and time..
For example, I generally look for an accommodation slightly away from the main squares or sites in a city because I don’t mind taking public transportation, I travel on a budget, and I want somewhere a bit quieter. I once completely botched this by picking an accommodation in a really cool area in Budapest, Hungary, but the noise from the ‘cool’ bars kept me up late at night. It is important to consider the location carefully (and read the reviews!).
3) Always look for places with quality photos
To find the perfect accommodation for your stay, look for hosts with many high quality photos that give you an understanding of the space. You wouldn’t rent a hotel room or hostel bed without quality photos of each room, so why do it here! I won’t rent an Airbnb accommodation if the featured pictures of the bedroom and bathroom are dark or fuzzy.
4) Read the reviews
Before booking an apartment, always read the reviews left by previous visitors. If an apartment doesn’t have any reviews, it is unlikely that I’ll book it (unless the first three points are both extremely tempting). When reading reviews, look out for red flags like loud, not secure, or dirty.
Ignoring what I said previously about avoiding apartments without reviews, I took a chance once and booked an accommodation in a great location just outside of Athens. This accommodation was newly listed, had really great photos, was a great price, but had no reviews. I took a gamble and rented the apartment for a week. Lucky for me, this was actually the best Airbnb accommodation I’ve ever stayed in! Sometimes it pays to check something out!
5) Finding a perfect host
Even if booking a private accommodation of an entire apartment or house, you’ll want to make sure that you have a nice host. Other than checking the feedback from previous guests, another way to know that hosts will be helpful is their response (and how long it takes them to respond) to your initial inquiry.
All of the hosts that I’ve stayed with have been incredibly helpful and nice, but three hosts in particular stood out and really went the extra mile to make me feel welcome. From great restaurant suggestions, to offers to drive me to the airport, and a bag full of oranges collected from their garden, the hosts make Airbnb special. I wonder what surprise your host has in store for you!
Become a local with Airbnb
Renting an apartment through Airbnb is a great opportunity to live like a local. Staying in an apartment owned by a native gives you a sneak peek into what other apartments are like and gives you more freedom than a hotel room. I’m sure that if you stay with Airbnb, you won’t be disappointed if you follow these tips!