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3 Brilliant Airbnb Tips for Guests That Will Instantly Upgrade Your Airbnb Experience
Want to know the Airbnb tips for guests that will upgrade your Airbnb experience? These are 3 brilliant tips that will help you pick the perfect Airbnb for your next getaway.
Booking an Airbnb can bit a little bit of a shot in the dark that’s why we have gathered our favorite Airbnb tips for guests that we have learned over our last year of full-time travel. If you are anything like us, we like to mix off-the-beaten-path travels with traditional hotel comforts and Airbnb is the perfect mix for us.
These tips will go over how to use Airbnb to find the perfect property and how to pick the best property for you and your trip.
After reading this post, you will be prepared to start searching for the perfect Airbnb for your next getaway and be able to book with confidence.
This post is all about Airbnb tips for guests.
Side note: this post is not sponsored, we just really like Airbnbs for traveling!
WHY WE CHOOSE AIRBNBS
With two of us traveling full-time, we have quite a bit of stuff (certainly more than we need, although, it is everything we own). This said we need the space and security of storing it while we are out exploring. While there are things we are willing to sacrifice while traveling, a fully private space is not one of them. This effectively rules out hostels and communal spaces.
Although we both worked in hotels prior to us quitting our jobs and traveling the world, our preferred means of booking has been Airbnb.
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As we are also traveling long-term, it is nice to have the comforts of home, a kitchen, closets, dressers, couches. This is often more readily available in the Airbnbs we are finding than hotels.
And most importantly as we are starting our journey, we find that Airbnbs are significantly less expensive than hotels. We even find it just as cost-effective to book for two in an Airbnb as it would be for two in a hostel. Normally you pay per person in hostels and per unit in Airbnbs.
Luckily, we have not had to sacrifice quality or cleanliness either as there are some exceptionally nice properties and even unique experiences. A few of our favorites listings include staying the night in a dome, treehouse, or farm. Even though we haven’t found any in the cities we’ve visited yet, we have them on our wish list.
3 Airbnb Tips for Guests
1. FILTER YOUR SEARCH
When you first start searching for an Airbnb, all they need to know is a destination, dates of stay, number of people. This is the same if you were to search for hotels, resorts, or hostels.
But remember, you get what you allow. Likely, that initial search with very few filters will produce upwards of 300 results. This is why we love the filters that are available after you have entered the initial search criteria.
The additional filters that are available are: “Cancellation Flexibility,” “Type of Place,” “Price,” and our favorite “More Filters.”
You can now turn cancellation flexibility on or off. In essence, selecting this will show you accommodations that allow cancellations closer to your actual travel dates. With the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, this feature was added as a filter to allow for more flexible bookings to encourage more travel after the pandemic.
As with any perk that gives you this assurance, you may pay a higher rate in exchange for the ability to cancel closer to your date of arrival. Or it may not result in any price differential, but offer you hosts who are willing to take on that additional risk of cancellation in an effort to be a more appealing choice to their buyers.
TYPE OF PLACE
We opt for Entire Place for our travels. We like having our own space and prefer apartment-style living over hotel-style living since we are traveling for longer periods of time.
You tend to have more space to spread out, greater availability of storage, and the ability to cook some meals at home if you so choose.
This is one of our top priorities and is non-negotiable (at least for Alicia).
This one we always use. Sometimes we like to leave it off to see the endless possibilities available, like renting an entire island. We have actually planned a getaway with our entire family to a private island one day down to the nitty-gritty details. We are nowhere near the possibility of that, but dare to dream, right?
More often than not, however, we cap it at $35 – $40 per night before we are tempted to buy up.
In Southeast Asia, for example, you can get some really nice places at this price point. In other areas, like Paris, you are definitely going to have to raise that cap rate if you are looking for the same quality of space. But this is completely up to you and what you are interested and/or willing to spend.
We have also used a lower limit filter if we find that there are quite a few options around $10 a night that don’t interest us.
The More Filters option is our golden snitch. We love getting as specific as we can as it saves us a lot of perusing time. It gives you the option to tailor your overall experience.
The filters we use are:
- Beds: 1; we’re not sure if there is a hammock option or not if you don’t select this
- Superhost: Yes
- Air Conditioning
- Neighborhoods: Based on research for the destination
- Host Language: English
Now, as we said, we get as specific as we can to start with. If you want a pool might as well see what the city has to offer. We choose Beachfront if we can and I always check for treehouses. If there are no options available or none that call out to you, you start to eliminate the less prioritized aspects on your wish list.
Think of it like HGTV’s House Hunters. The couple always lists a million things they must-have in their first home and then they see a house that has all of them but is way out of their price range. That is 100% us on Airbnb. That’s why the price range is so important.
And sometimes the options change what we are in need of based on location, time of year, length of stay, and purpose of our trip. We don’t necessarily need a kitchen for a 3-day trip to New York City. But we may need a heater or fireplace when we go to Norway in January.
2. READ THE REVIEWS
I know, it seems obvious, but it is one of the most important aspects of booking the best Airbnb possible.
One of the major differences between Airbnb and traditional hotel companies is that hotels have standards that they have to upkeep throughout the brand. This is especially critical for the Marriotts and Hiltons of the world that total over 13,000 properties worldwide.
These are standards of cleanliness, service, amenities, and marketing. With Airbnbs, you are putting your trust in the individuals that have decided to personally list their properties.
This lack of quality control is why we always select Superhosts. Superhosts are vetted by Airbnb every three months to ensure they have the following standards:
- 4.8+ rating in reviews
- 10 stays in the past year
- 90% response rate pithing 24 hours
- <1% cancelation rate
Sure, you will likely pay slightly more when staying with Superhosts, but it is for good reason. These hosts understand the importance of their reputation and work hard to make sure their guests have a great experience.
And while the Superhost status is reflective of their outstanding ratings, we find that reading the actual review comments provides much more clarity. After all, the person who wrote the review may have very different standards than you and provide the context in their comments.
We like to see at least 10 good reviews, though more is preferred. We tend to gravitate to those with a greater number of positive reviews as there is a larger sample size.
COMMENTS > RATING
Even though hosts may have a number of good reviews, you may notice a trend in their reviews that doesn’t stand out just by the star rating.
We missed one such opportunity in an Airbnb we visited in Kuala Lumpur. The Superhost had plenty of great ratings (60 reviews and a 4.7 rating). We felt good about it based on the pictures, location, and price; so we booked it.
Unfortunately, we judged the book mostly by its cover. And when we walked into the room we discovered something quite different. The place was so run down, the mirror on the wall had fallen down. There was a used bar of soap to welcome us in the bathroom, and stains and holes in the sheets. A far cry from what we thought we were walking into.
When we reread the reviews, there was definitely a trend we could have spotted about the cleanliness and general wear and tear. To all their regular guests, this was the norm for their travels, but a far cry from our expectations.
To the credit of the host, we tried to give them a second chance to clean the room and hang the mirror, but they were unable to carry this out. As a result, we both agreed to go our separate ways and they fully refunded us for the remainder of our stay.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
So what should you look for while reading these supposedly good reviews? Here are a few keywords to be on the lookout for when reading through reviews:
- Wear & Tear
One bad review is not the end of the world but a few similar stories or themes could cause you more trouble than the place is worth.
3. COMMUNICATE WITH THE HOST BEFORE YOU BOOK
This is one of our favorite Airbnb tips for guests that have really upped our game. We highly recommend reaching out to the host through direct messages prior to confirming your booking. This will quickly allow you to see if your host is organized and what level of care you can expect from them before, during, and after your stay.
If they are very responsive and provide thoughtful answers to your questions, the accommodations and service will likely reflect that. If they take days to get back or give half-hearted answers to you when they haven’t even made the sale yet, you may be getting into a situation where you get what you pay for or you what you allow.
The best stays we have experienced were those operated by great hosts from the get-go.
While you can certainly send all of your questions in one grouping, we recommend sending your questions over two to three messages. This will give you a better sample size of their response time and their commitment to earning you as their guest. What types of questions depend on the nature of your visit, but here are a few questions that commonly come up for us:
- Is there laundry on-site or in the unit and what does it cost?
- Does the outdoor/public space have hours of operation?
- What does the parking situation look like for a bike/scooter/car?
This is also a good time to bring up any requests you may have regarding your stay. Just keep in mind that your hosts can decide to not book you if they want and they review you after your stay so you don’t want to come off too needy and especially not demanding. A request may look something like this:
- What does the policy look like for early or overnight check-in?
- Am I able to add a guest closer to arrival?