Finding the perfect Airbnb (for you) is not an impossible feat. However, it is not always a walk in the park either. If finding the right place to stay using Airbnb has been a struggle for you in the past, fear not. R and I have learned a few things over the years that help us find great places to stay all over the world. Today I am going to share my Airbnb reservation tips and tricks with you to help you nab the perfect place to stay on your next vacation.
Note: if you are new to Airbnb, check out this post on why you should give it a try.
Airbnb Reservation Tips and Tricks
Step 1: Begin your search
Plug in your location, dates and number of guests. Voila! Observe the results. Hopefully, you have a lot to choose from. If that is the case, it is time to start applying filters.
Step 2: Apply filters
Get as specific as possible to start (you might as well shoot for the moon). At a minimum, I filter by home type, number of beds and price. I also like amenities like self check-in and free parking on premises (if we have a car). If the results are too limiting once you have chosen all of your filters, then you can start removing the less-critical items.
Step 3: Familiarize yourself with the map
Make friends with the map on the search results page. First off, the map is great for narrowing or widening your search. If you know you want to stay in a particular part of town (e.g. Old Town), then you might as well zoom in and look at your options there. Similarly, if you don’t mind staying in the small town down the road, go ahead and zoom out. The search results adjust as you move the map (assuming you checked the “search as I move the map” box).
Also, if you find a place you want to look at in more detail, the map on the search results page is more helpful than the map on the actual listing. The actual listing’s map just gives you the general location of the property, which may be all you need. But if you want to know the exact street, look for the location of the property on the search results page instead.
Step 4: Read the description…in detail
After choosing a place you want to learn more about, make sure to read the description text in detail. You can learn a lot in those paragraphs. For example, you may learn it is a two-minute walk to public transportation, which is useful if you do not have a car. A lot of descriptions tell you which type of bed (e.g. queen, sofa bed, bunk bed, crib, etc.) is located in each room, which I find to be very useful. You might also learn that there are grocery stores or museums nearby. Or you might learn something that turns you off of the property all together. You will not know though, unless you read it.
Step 5: Pour over the photos
The photos are my favorite part when it comes to finding a great Airbnb. It is fun to see how cute your potential lodging will be. But honestly, their most useful feature is their ability to verify information from the listing. If you are looking for a place with two bedrooms, make sure you find photos showing two different bedrooms. Oftentimes, a host considers the living room a second bedroom. I do not. Photos help so you will not be disappointed when you arrive.
Step 6: Review the reviews
First off, make sure there are reviews. If there are no reviews yet, carefully consider your risk threshold. Without reviews, it is tough to know if a host is legit and you might find yourself with a last-minute cancellation. If the property is located in a place with a lot of hotels, this might not be a big deal. If it is located in a small town where you do not speak the language, it might be a big deal.
Good reviews are good, obviously. But the reviews can also tell you additional facts about the property. One time, we were considering a really cute property that seemed to check all of our boxes. However, the reviews revealed that the property’s only bathroom was only accessible via an outside entrance. Given that we were going to be visiting in December, we said no thanks. Little, but important, details like that are often shared by past guests.
Lastly, check the reviews for cancellations. The review section makes a note whenever a host cancels and how much notice they gave the canceled party. Emergencies happen, I get that. But I would be wary of a host with too many cancellations, especially if they gave very little notice.
Step 7: Contact the host
If you cannot verify something on your own using the Airbnb reservation tips and tricks above, do not hesitate to contact the host and ask a question. Most respond very quickly. If they do not respond quickly or do not answer your question adequately, I would hesitate to book with them. What happens when something goes wrong DURING your stay? You want a responsive host.
Final step: clarify your booking
When you have finally found the perfect Airbnb for your next trip and are going through the booking process, be sure to mention critical items in the notes field. If you are booking a place because it says a crib is available, make sure to note that you are booking their place because there is a crib available.
R and I look for and pay more for places with two beds. More than once, we have arrived at a location where the host has only made up one bed assuming we would be sharing. Lesson learned. Now days, we always make mention of two beds in the notes when we are booking.
Follow these Airbnb reservation tips and and tricks and you will be well on your way to booking the Airbnb of your dreams…or one that meets your specific travel needs anyway. Finding a great Airbnb has made many of my trips an even more enjoyable experience. I want you to be able to say the exact same thing so good luck with your Airbnb searching!
Note: if you haven’t yet signed up for Airbnb, use my referral link to receive a $40 credit.