AirBNB has saved our arse quite a few times; saving us from homelessness in France; allowing us to tour Europe in the summer of 2016 and encouraging us to travel the world at a fraction of the cost (in comparison to staying in hotels) however it’s also bitten us on the arse a few times too. We are writing this article to show you how you can best protect yourselves.
Airbnb has been in the news a LOT recently and it seems that it has become a victim of its own success. Such a shame that the old, white men, in slippers, who dictate what we can do, don’t see the benefit. Oh that’s right, that’s because they don’t make any money from it!! Silly me 😉 We think SHARING is a fab idea, check out this article for other sharing companies that exist.
Some authorities have cracked down on AirBNB and letting out rooms for under 30 nights, so whilst us plebs are still legally allowed to use AirBNB, here are our tips on how to make it work for you.
For the benefits of this post, I am presuming that you have already registered with Airbnb and have an active account. If not, you’ll need to fill this out. Make sure you complete your profile 100%.
defining what matters to you
basic search criteria
The basic search criteria will allow you to enter a place, dates and number of people staying. You must enter this in order to complete further filters.
Additional search criteria
Your choices include
- Room type – We always click entire home because, let’s face it, nobody would tolerate a family of five sharing their rooms with them lol. My kids are super polite but still…
- Price range – Slide the price range until it gives you a NIGHTLY (if you’re booking less than a month) or a MONTHLY price. Hosters can give quite a favourable discount if you rent for 4 weeks or more and it might cost less to rent for 4 weeks than it does for 3 weeks.
- Instant book – if you’re in a rush, sliding the instant book button ‘ON’, could save you some time.
making the Filters work
Filters are important, crucial in fact to finding a tailored property.
Filters are like the gateway to perfection so it’s in your best interests to use them lol.
about the listing
It’s really easy to glance over a listing but reading this section should tell you ALL about the property.
- Amenities – always click the ‘+more’ option to make sure it has the amenities you need.
- Description – Sleeping arrangements is something we always look at because it tells you exactly how many bedrooms and beds there are.
- House rules – You’ll need to follow these in the house so best to agree with them now.
- Availability – Tells you the minimum night stay.
eyes wide open
I hate to say that some hosts will deliberately mislead with their listings but it has been a reality for us. Don’t worry though, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself.
- Who is your host – Some hosts will fill out the bare minimum (which reveals a lot in itself) and other hosts will write loads. Get a feel for your host and their personality.
- Reviews – ALWAYS READ THE REVIEWS. Now, can you believe that one host didn’t state in his listing that there was no drinking water in his property? Nope, neither could we, so it’s a good job we read the reviews.
- Cancellation policy – This is tiny and slipped in very discretely but it’s nonetheless critical to your booking and your ability to cancel and what, if any, refund you will receive.
Saving and sharing
Creating lists is a whole heap better than having twenty tabs open and by saving lists until later, you have a chance to consider the property and the host. Airbnb encourages you to book as quickly as possible and whilst I understand the reasons for this, I also think it’s important for you to book the most appropriate property you can. I’ve spent two weeks in a one bedroom apartment with the three kids sleeping on the sofabed in the living room. Needs must but you do want to avoid anything quite so impractical if you can!
- Sharing – You can share by email and on social media such as facebook.
- Creating lists – I love lists. They help me to formulate plans.
finding your lists
In order to find your list once you’ve saved it, you’ll need to click on ‘Trips’ and then ‘View wish lists’.
Booking and paying
After clicking ‘request to book’ you’ll be prompted to fill in the boxes and ‘say hello to your host’. I recommend having a small bleurb about yourself saved otherwise this can become monotonous.
NEVER, EVER, EVER PAY WITH PAYPAL.
I don’t have many horror stories with Airbnb but I do have a horror story with the fascists that are paypal.
When you pay Airbnb for your stay, the money is temporarily held (on your bank card or with paypal) until the host responds. If the host decides to decline your request the money is refunded immediately. So where’s the problem you may ask? Well, paypal take FIVE days to refund the money and if your account is NOT verified then they can withhold that money at their whim and for however long they like.
This is what happened to us. We had many problems trying to rent in France (for some reason the French don’t like Brits with kids) and we were declined four times in a row. My paypal account was Australian (as we’d been living in Brisbane) but my passport was British and of course we were then trying to live in France. Until I sent a verified copy of my passport to paypal in America, by SNAIL MAIL, they refused to refund the $3600 they were holding. Even when I had sent a verified copy, they refused to refund me and stated that they were merely complying with US legislation. It took me over nine months to get that money back and not a hint of an apology or any interest returned to us.
Paypal are a despicable company and I would never recommend them!
Airbnb’s customer service is generally quite good. You can tweet them, facebook them, instagram them and even LinkedIn with them. Because they’re fearful of bad press, they tend to respond very, very quickly. I’m not saying that their ability to resolve problems is any good (they tend to rely on the host and you coming to a mutual agreement) but they do respond quickly.
It’s not a hotel
Phew and thank goodness. If you want an opportunity to ‘live like a local’ then there is no greater experience than renting a neighbourhood house. It can be quite a bit cheaper and of course you have the benefit of having a kitchen. For me, this is a massive plus side as we’re vegan and sugar-free.
To date we’ve stayed in twenty-six Airbnb properties and have loads more planned. We’ve had one not so great experience whilst in Norway, nothing major though, and we had one bad experience in the UK which was rectified with a quick phone call. 2/26 means that 92.4% of our AirBNB experiences have been great, awesome and amazing.
I would say that those odds are good 🙂
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