Just like with booking a hotel or vacation rental, booking an Airbnb requires research and planning. (Although the word “Airbnb” has become synonymous with any form of alternative accommodations or vacation rental, these tips are specific to the Airbnb site.)
Heard horror stories about booking a bad Airbnb? You can avoid the same fate if you know exactly what to look for and the best ways to make the most of the platform. Read on to find out everything you need to know about an Airbnb listing before you book.
Determining Your Needs in Search
The best way to ensure you won’t be disappointed with your Airbnb rental is to manage your expectations and know exactly what you want to get out of your rental. With Airbnb’s search feature, it’s very easy to do.
Type in the dates you’re looking for and how many guests you’ll have. Airbnb will give you a list of potential rentals, starting with the most affordable first.
You can also specify other needs and wants, like if you need a wheelchair-accessible rental, if you want a place with parking, or if you need a pool.
If you have a specific area in mind, type that into the “neighborhood” bar on the search page. This will give you a list of rentals in that neighborhood.
Finally, you can also specify the type of rental you’re looking for. This can be anything from a shared room to an entire home.
How to Read an Airbnb Listing
When you find a listing that looks like it might be a good fit, take some time to read through it thoroughly. Here are some things to watch out for:
Are the photos of the actual listing? Airbnb listings are allowed to have stock photos, but if all the photos are stock photos, it might be a red flag.
Is the listing up-to-date? The photos should accurately reflect what the listing looks like now. If they’re from a few years ago, the place might not look the same anymore.
Are the photos high quality? This could be a sign that the host takes pride in their listing.
Is the description accurate and complete? The listing should include all of the important details, like how many bedrooms and bathrooms there are, what the restrictions are on who can stay there, and what amenities are included.
Is the host responsive? The best hosts respond quickly to messages. If the host takes a few days to get back to you, that could be a sign that they’re not taking care of their listing.
Are the reviews positive? If there are a lot of negative reviews, it might be a sign to steer clear.
Do the reviews mention any of the same issues? If every review mentions that the host was difficult to get in touch with, for example, that’s a red flag.
Have other guests had good experiences? Check to see if the overwhelming majority of guests had a good experience.
Are the reviews recent? If they’re all from a year ago, the listing might not be up-to-date.
Airbnb is a great way to find a rental that fits your needs, but it’s important to do your research first. By reading through the listing thoroughly and checking the reviews, you can avoid unpleasant surprises and make sure your Airbnb rental is just what you wanted.