Disclaimer: This post was not sponsored and I received no compensation from AirBnB to share this post. I just really enjoyed our first time staying in one and wanted to share some of our experience with you!
Recently for my husband and I’s first marriage anniversary, we visited the city which we’ve always shared a strong affinity for – Boston. My husband and I have been talking about visiting Boston for almost as long as we’ve known each other.
Rather than stay in a hotel, my husband and I decided to stay in an AirBnB for the first time. If you’re not familiar with AirBnB, it’s a service that allows people to rent homes, apartments, and even bungalows from people who live in the area. While some homes only allow you to rent a room or an area of the home for a certain time period, others allow you to rent the whole house for things such as vacations, family visits, and work trips.
We loved the idea of getting to experience the city of Boston and Provincetown, MA like locals, so we went for it and booked our trip.
However, as the time neared, there were a few things that my husband and I were very clueless about that we wanted to share with you in today’s blog. If you’re a newbie to AirBnB and you’re interested in staying in one soon, I have some tips that may prove to be helpful to you!
Tip 1: Read the reviews before booking – I’m sure this goes without saying, but it’s so important to hear what other people are saying about the space before you book it. Check out the reviews of the space. What are some of the things they are saying about the hosts and the space? What are they saying about the safety of the area and the cleanliness of the home?
Another thing to consider is how my reviews they have. I usually feel comfortable when there are a substantial amount of reviews that all say similar things regarding safety, cleanliness, and the professionalism of the hosts. Doing so helped me to feel a bit more comfortable booking with the host we eventually settled with.
Tip 2: Don’t be afraid to ask questions – Don’t be afraid to inquire about the space. Even if you haven’t committed to booking the space yet, it’s totally permissible to inquire about the space, so you know what you’re potentially getting yourself into.
For example, are you wondering whether or not your unit comes with towels or if you have to bring your own? Ask away! Are you curious to know some details on whether the area is public transportation-friendly or if you’d have to frequently hail a cab or a car via an ride-share app? Send them a message! Most sellers are pretty friendly and willing to answer your inquiries.
Tip 3: Look for inconsistencies in photos – One clear sign that a listing isn’t accurate is the photographs. Perhaps it’s the photographer in me, but one of the first things I look at when looking for places to say is photographs of the place to see if there’s any inconsistencies or things to be leery of in them.
Do some photographs have watermarks while others don’t or are the pictures very blurry as if they were copied from another site? Are the watermarks inconsistent with the name of the unit or the seller?
The photographs taken of the unit should be consistent. If it’s not, that’s definitely a red flag.
Tip 4: Don’t wire your money through an alternate app – I’m sure this goes without saying, but another way to know if you’re about to be scammed is if a seller requires that you submit payment through an additional app or account. I can’t speak for all homestay applications, but AirBnB processes the payment through their website, so you will not need to go through a third party application.
Tip 5: Look for Superhosts: AirBnB has what they call super-hosts, which are sellers who have this badge in their profile indicating that they are certified super-hosts on the sites. These sellers are sellers who are experienced hosts, have at least 80% 5-star reviews, honor their commitments (rarely cancel), and have a high response rate. While this badge indicates that these individuals are pretty professional hosts, it also indicates that they are legitimate. I find that looking for people with these badges helps me feel confident that I am getting my money’s worth.
However, I’d still make sure the seller is legitimate by checking the reviews as well because it is possible to photoshop a badge onto your icon. While I haven’t seen this yet, I wouldn’t be surprised with how crafty some scammers are now a days.
Tip 6: Explore and have fun like a local – As I previously mentioned, one of the benefits of staying in an AirBnB (other than the price) is the experience. Whether your unit is a cottage located in a coastal town New England or an apartment complex in Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. Whatever your unit may be, explore it and enjoy it! Try some local cafes and restaurants near you. Participate in and try a new activity that you can only do in that area. Don’t be afraid to try something new!
Well, those are my tips for staying in an AirBnB for the first time. If you’ve ever stayed in an AirBnb, I’d love to hear from you!
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Have you ever stayed in an AirBnB? If so, what was your experience like? If you have not, where would you like to stay?