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Airbnb quickly became my go-to resource for finding a place to stay after Kim and I booked a few places in Norway and Greece. Since then, we’ve used it dozens of times on several different continents. The more I use it, the better the experience gets. Airbnb changes the interface every now and then, but what has mad the difference in my browsing and booking experiences are a few little things that I make sure to check before getting started and then again before requesting to book a location.
- Set your check-in and check-out dates immediately. Airbnb does a good job of prompting this, but if you land on the site from another source or through your search history, you may forget.
- Update the number of guests. It’s on the same screen as tip #1, but it’s easy to skip when you just want to see what’s available. However, some places charge extra per additional guest, and that could mess up your search results.
- Set your price range. Sometimes it’s fun to look at the really awesome, super expensive places, but let’s be honest, it’s just clutter and you won’t be booking it. It’s important to make sure #1-2 are set, because both of those settings will affect the listing price of a place.
- Choose your type of accommodation. You can choose from a private room, whole apartment/house, or a shared living space. Prices typically reflect this, but there are some draws to both. Hosts are a great resource when visiting somewhere new and they typically enjoy making friends and sharing stories from their own personal travels. It’s a great way to really get to know the culture from the moment you arrive. However, sometimes it’s nice to get home and just relax alone.
- Organize your wish lists. Don’t dump everything into a single country when you know you’ll be staying in 3 or 4 different cities. This will save you a lot of time when you go to review your options.
- Pull up google maps and look up directions from that location to the places you want to see, or even just how to get there from the airport or train station. It’ll save you a headache and possibly some money when you arrive.
- READ THE REVIEWS. This sounds obvious, but sometimes the price is enough to lure you in. It’s quite possible the pictures aren’t an accurate representation of what you can expect. The reviews are also a good place to look for things to do in the area.
- Check the total price! Places are listed by their nightly rate. However, almost everyone adds a cleaning fee and sometimes a service fee to cover their Airbnb listings. You won’t see the correct prices unless you have the proper dates and guest number set.
Staying in an Airbnb is a little odd the first few times, but some of the best experiences come from stepping outside of your comfort zone and into someone else’s home. We’ve been invited for home cooked meals, along with their pet birds. Often times the hosts will have bikes, SURF BOARDS, or offer to drop you off somewhere on their way to town. I’ve been blessed to see a man’s Kiwi bird feather collection and home videos of deer watching. Nobody knows what your next adventure holds, so go out on a limb and increase your chances of a memorable experience by booking with Airbnb.