Airbnb has changed the way I travel. The way I see it, it’s like the Uber of accommodations—if you’re too nitpicky about where to stay and at the same time want to get the most bang for your buck, then Airbnb is the way to go! Sure, they don’t usually offer room service as hotels do, but the wide selection of places where you can stay is a total eye-opener. You can choose to live like a local, adjust your accommodations if you’re a little tight with the budget, or go all the way and splurge for a luxurious stay (you can find really gorgeous listings here like you won’t believe!)
That said, it’s also important to note that you have a crucial role to play in order for your stay to be as smooth as can be. Booking your accommodations is not a one-way street, and if you don’t want to encounter some bumps along the road, then best be prepared. Below are some tips to help you become smart about booking your Airbnb.
1. If you’re new to Airbnb, register using a friend’s referral code to get a discount.
Yes, you’re entitled to a discount on your first booking and it would be such a waste if you don’t take advantage of it. Pretty sure someone in your network has an Airbnb account, so all you need to do is to ask that friend for his/her referral code, use that to register, and voila, you’ll have P1,100 in Airbnb credit that should automatically appear at the checkout page. What’s in it for your friend, you ask? He/she will earn six hundred bucks worth of travel credits, too. Not bad, huh? Now, go buy yourself a nice dinner with that cash you just saved!
2. If you’re booking for a last-minute accommodation, look for the “Instant Book” feature.
There are two types of bookings in Airbnb. The first one aka the “Instant Book” option allows you to instantly confirm your booking, which is definitely recommended for last-minute trips. There are other listings, however, that will require you to “request to book” first, and the host will have 24 hours to either reject or confirm your booking. If you have plenty of time before your travel dates, then this part probably doesn’t matter. But if your dates are urgent, say, you’re booking today a two-bedroom apartment for tomorrow night, then you don’t have the luxury of time to wait for the host to respond within the next 24 hours. If such is the case, make sure to filter your listing options to show only those offering the “Instant Book” feature. (Trust me, this happened to me once and it was such a headache; I couldn’t even book another apartment for a fallback because I still had a “pending” request.)
3. Pay more attention to the photos of the room itself rather than the building’s amenities.
We get it—that infinity pool looks divine! But before you get swayed by how much you want to jump into the pool already, we suggest you focus more on the space where you’ll actually be sleeping. Some hosts tend to highlight the photos of the building’s amenities—the gym, the swimming pool, et al—to camouflage the fact that the actual space they’re renting out isn’t as five-star-worthy. (Yup, it happens.) In this case, you should be meticulous in checking the photos of the bathroom, the bedroom, etc. Personally, you can’t make me sleep on a bed that doesn’t come with a duvet cover—we all have our non-negotiables and this is mine, so make sure yours aren’t compromised by pedantically checking whether the place you’re about to book ticks all the right boxes.
4. Always read the reviews.
Who else can give you a better idea about a place you’re eyeing than someone who’s actually stayed there before? Scrolling through the reviews will give you a more honest perspective—how clean the place is, how helpful and accommodating the host is, what to expect, and basically all its ups and down. So always, always read the reviews if you don’t want to be caught off-guard in a place that’s bound to be your home for the next couple of days.
5. Make sure you follow the House Rules.
The set of rules vary depending on the host and the listing, but they are more or less the same—no smoking inside the apartment, no parties, no pets allowed, etc. Look at it this way: when a friend invites you to his/her home, it’s common sense to respect the home owner by respecting the house rules, too. Keep in mind that you’re only renting it out so don’t go around damaging the property. If you follow these rules, then you shouldn’t encounter any problems checking out.
6. Read thoroughly about the space and its amenities.
Is the space kid-friendly? Do they allow pets? Is there free parking on premises? Do you still need to bring your own toiletries? Read. The information is there for a reason. Don’t be the annoying guest who asks all questions that have already been answered in the first place.
7. Don’t engage in payment transactions outside of Airbnb.
Airbnb does not allow sharing of phone numbers between hosts and guests and automatically flags these types of messages inside your inbox—and they do it with good reason. The host may contact a guest and offer a lower rate, which is made possible if the payment is not coursed through the Airbnb website. Naturally, the guest won’t have to pay the Airbnb fee for the booking so the rate will be lower. As tempting as this may sound, for security reasons, we highly discourage engaging in payment transactions outside of Airbnb. If anything at all goes wrong during your booking, Airbnb will not be held responsible and you will have no claim over the payment that’s already been made.
This story originally appeared on Preview.ph.
* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.