If you’re not a fan of package holidays and feel confident enough to take the family on a more independent trip, you’ll need to master Airbnb. It’s the answer to amazing holiday homes, whether you’re travelling for one night or 14. There is a knack to using it though and, from experience, I’ve learned how to get the best from it without being stranded in strange lands with nowhere to stay.
Here’s what you should know to help you navigate through and book your first Airbnb stay.
Download the App:
Yes, as with most decent website, there’s an app which helps you locate properties in the area you wish to visit. Be aware though that not all functions are supported on the app, and you won’t be able to use it fully in the same way as the desktop version.
Add Filters to your Search
Searching on Airbnb can be exhausting. There are so many properties to trawl through you can get lost in the rabbit hole of search. So don’t forget to add your filters. Decide what’s important to you and your family – wifi, a pool, air conditioning, several bathrooms etc – and add it to your search criteria. It really helps locate the best property for you.
Look for Superhosts
Airbnb is all about connections. It’s about experiencing a different location from the eyes of a local – your host. It’s not a travel agent; your communication is with the property host. So look for a good one. Superhosts are those who have great reviews and go the extra mile when it comes to making your stay extra special. They’ll communicate with you quickly and be there as much or as little as you need during your visit.
Check the Reviews
Airbnb and its hosts rely on reviews to make it a success. If you stay in a property be sure to leave your review. It’s one of the most helpful items on a listing for potential visitors. Read the description, look at the photos and then, read the reviews. See what real people have experienced from the property and the host. Make sure all the reviews are relatively consistent and collate extra nuggets of information from their comments. Be wary of properties that don’t have any reviews, unless of course they’re completely brand new.
Check your Cancellation Terms
Each listing has a difference cancellation policy; I assume a host is able to choose. Check this carefully. If you’re booking a week long staying in foreign climes 6 months in advance, check what happens if you need to change your plan and at what stage you can cancel your booking.
Be Realistic about How it Works
Understand that a host can cancel your booking if, for some reason, they don’t want or need you there. If you’re booking a summer holiday with the family you should know that your plans could change at the last minute. Are you comfortable with that?
Never Turn up Without Check In Details
If your host isn’t communicating with you, then something is wrong. Never travel to a foreign country without having the full check in details – a host won’t release these until much nearer the time, usually with a week to go. You could find yourself abandoned on holiday with nowhere to stay, if you’ve just trusted that it will all work out ok.
When it Goes Wrong
In my own experience, when a booking has gone sour just days before your flight or travel arrangements, it’s best to contact Airbnb through their support (get a ring back, it’s quite quick) and tell them the situation. They can be extremely helpful, particularly if you want to cancel a booking and the host isn’t communicating with you. Often you can end up paying the Airbnb fee, so to avoid this, log a call with them and get some support. (My own booking was fully refunded including the fee when a host went awol).
Overall, just be realistic and trust your instincts if you feel your booking isn’t going well. Most hosts are genuine and amazing and use the platform to connect with others who want to enjoy their property and location.
Check out these wonderful Airbnb homes both in the UK and further afield where I know you’ll have an amazing time.
- Karen’s Italian Lakes apartment with pool is just a dream – we’ve stayed here twice and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend both the property and the host.
- This beautiful caravan is on a very popular holiday park just outside Bournemouth and great for a long weekend or full week break in the UK.
- A perfect town centre apartment in Harrogate, ideal for exploring the area with a fabulously attentive and welcoming host.
- Penny is a relatively new Airbnb host but already a superhost with two beautiful rural properties next to her own home. If you’re looking for a Derbyshire rural barn or caravan you can’t go wrong with these homes and this host.