Accommodation Tips

10 Ways To Become A Pro At Using Airbnb

By on May 4, 2015

I Love Airbnb

If you have read my post on “5 Money-Savings Tips for Accommodation”, you would know that I would highly recommend Airbnb to ANYONE! It is probably one of the best tools I have used for my travels, but the question lies…

“How do I use Airbnb, and how do I really make it worth my while when travelling?”

Hence my post today to answer this question…

10 Ways to Become A Pro At Using Airbnb As a Solo Traveller

1. Location, Location, Location

As the heading reads, location is pretty important. It is imperative that when you are choosing accommodation with Airbnb, that you do your research and look for places to stay that are situated close to certain attractions you want to visit, or close to public transport or the airport. It all depends on what you want to see and do.

When I was staying in Hollywood, I chose accommodation within walking distance to public transport and a supermarket, which helped me save some money on my travels. I shared a studio apartment with a lovely Swedish girl, with her dog and two cats, and it was a very memorable first Airbnb experience. You can read more about my first Airbnb experience here.

2. Filter your search

When you are choosing accommodation with Airbnb, one of the best things you can do is FILTER, FILTER, FILTER! If you have certain expectations about what your accommodation should be like, start there and see what is available. Stick to what you want for yourself on your travels, and if there is not many places available, you just might need to alter them slightly.

On Airbnb there are multiple filters to choose from! I usually go with the free wifi filter, a kitchen (especially when you are travelling solo and want to cook your own meals), breakfast included and my own private room. You can also filter your search for how many beds, how many bathrooms, the host language and many more. In the end, how you filter your search is dependent upon your personal travel preferences. Here is a screenshot taken from the Airbnb website of the filter options:

Screen Shot 2015-03-21 at 5.49.35 pm

3. CHECK and READ the REVIEWS

This is definitely one of the MOST IMPORTANT tips for using Airbnb. The more reviews on a hosts listing usually indicates it’s a pretty good place to stay. So, take the time to read them!

When I researching accommodation on Airbnb for my 5-day stay in New York City, I could not find anything available that was within my price range and close to the city. Naturally, I filtered my search and expanded the location and found a listing in New Jersey, a stone’s throw away (across the river) from the big NYC!

I was a little hesitant to stay in New Jersey at first, but after seeing the great price and the amount of wonderful and positive reviews on the listing, I felt strongly that I should book. This was the best decision I could have made; my hosts were so accommodating and welcoming, I felt right at home and part of the family, I was cooked breakfast every morning, plus I away from the noisy hustle and bustle in NYC.

4. Check the price and adjust the price range if necessary.

On Airbnb, a listing may tell you that it is $50 per night, but when you look a little closer, you realise it is $95 per night. This may be because, the price has changed or you are booking over a weekend, so make sure you double check the price.

Also, if you plan on staying close to major cities, you are most likely to pay more, especially if travelling solo. If you are travelling with friends it is more cost effective to split the cost of accommodation, but as a solo traveller, it is much easier to stay a little outside of the city and save some money!

Airbnb TIP: Check the fineprint! On your accommodation listing make sure you check the details for example, if staying outside the city check if there is access to the city via public transport and how long it will take. Also use google maps as a guide to help you with the location and proximity to the city!

When I was exploring Munich and the region of Bavaria, I stayed 20 minutes outside of the city and saved a lot of money! I spent about $50 AUD per night, and if I had stayed in the city it would have cost me up to $200 AUD per night. In my home city of Sydney, I live about a 40 minute train ride from the city centre, so staying 20 minutes away in Munich was no big deal!

Again, your personal preference may be to stay close to the city, and that is okay too!

5. Filter the ROOM TYPE

On Airbnb, you can select, SHARED ROOM, PRIVATE ROOM or WHOLE APARTMENT. Filtering the room type can often narrow down accommodation listings. Also of importance is that you DOUBLE CHECK! You may select a whole apartment, but the host has listed it as a private room, and vice versa.

Also make sure you compare prices between private rooms and whole apartments, because in some locations, they may be a similar price, and you can make a choice between sharing with hosts or having a whole apartment to yourself! I like booking private rooms as I love to make connections with the hosts and get an authentic cultural experience.

6. Word of advice to solo female travellers

In my own personal opinion, solo female travellers should only stay with other females , families or couples. It is much easier and safer to do so, unless you are completely fine staying with a man in his apartment, alone. I think it is better to be safe than sorry.

7. Build your own Airbnb account and profile

This is of the upmost importance when searching and booking accommodation for your travels. Most hosts on Airbnb like to “check you out” and get to know you a little before confirming and saying YES to your stay with them.

Your Airbnb profile is like a résumé or a curriculum vitae of yourself and one you have a few photos of yourself and some basic information about who you are and why you have signed up, it is highly likely future hosts will say YES! There may be some hosts out there that will decline your accommodation request due to the lack of information on your profile!

Here is my profile on Airbnb:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.51.18 am

8. Communicate with your hosts

Once your hosts have confirmed and said YES to your accommodation request, it is important that you send them a quick message to introduce yourself, let them know of flight arrival and departure times, who you are travelling with and also the purpose of your trip. Here is an example I sent to one of my hosts after my reservation was confirmed:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.06.20 am

Some other tips on communicating with your hosts:

1. Contact them a few days before your arrival and double check the address, and how to get there.

2. Let your hosts know what time you will be arriving at their place. You may want to include where you are travelling from, and what time your flight arrives; in some cases, hosts can be quite generous and may offer to pick you up from the airport or the nearest train station.

9. Make use of the map view of accommodation listings.

The accommodation listings map on airbnb is very helpful when researching places to stay! I usually find the centre of the city, and then zoom in; if you hover over the listings on the LEFT SIDE of the website, then the location markers on the map on the RIGHT SIDE will light up, so you can see the exact location of the listing and get an idea of how far away it is from the city. A zoomed-in map also shows you the sights and attractions in the city, also assisting your research and travel planning!

Here is an example of an Airbnb map of Melbourne, Victoria, AUS:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.37.37 am

 

10. Write reviews.

There are two types of reviews on Airbnb:

1. A review the HOST writes about you.

2. A review that YOU write about the host.

After your stay using Airbnb, you will get sent an email asking you to write a review for the place you stayed at; make sure you DO IT! Airbnb will offer suggestions about how to write the perfect review, making sure everything is covered. In return, the host will write a review of how you were when you stayed with them!

Here are a few reviews on my Airbnb profile:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.28.49 am

Why Reviews are so important:

1. Future hosts read reviews of you as a person, and they will often greatly influence their decision on whether to confirm and say YES to your stay with them.

2. It builds and makes your profile look professional.

3. It makes the hosts and their accommodation listing look good, not only for them, but it also convinces other future travellers to book and stay with them!

Airbnb TIP: Make sure you maintain honesty when writing your Airbnb review. If you did not have a great stay, let them know and provide suggestions for how they can improve and become better hosts.

An example of a great review I wrote for my host:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 11.33.56 am

 Share your thoughts

I highly recommend anyone to book with Airbnb, and I hope the tips in this post have helped you!

1. If you are already with Airbnb, what were your experiences like? Do you have any tips for using Airbnb that I have not mentioned?

2. If you are new to Airbnb or are thinking of signing up: LIKE this post if you found these tips helpful and SHARE if you think someone else will find them helpful as well!

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16 Comments
  1. Alexandria

    May 5, 2015

    I hate when i find the perfect place and then i read the fine print and find all these ridiculous underlying fees!

    • Bec

      May 6, 2015

      Yeah, those fees can definitely get you! In one place I stayed at, to avoid paying a cleaning fee I had to tidy up and do a quick clean of the apartment! I guess you just have to keep searching until you find the right one! I was so picky with the places I chose, and some of them made sure there were no added fees. It’s just like booking flights; you see a cheap flight and then discover all these fees that go along with it!

  2. Annemarie

    May 5, 2015

    I have only used airbnb twice since hostels are still cheaper and don’t charge a service/booking fee. And he second time was rather terrible. The hosts were utterly nice but the hostel was a mess. It was in a rundown factory, the rooms were out of makeshift boards and apparently there were rats. The reviews just highlighted the hospitality of the hosts and not the living circumstances. That was sobering.

    • Bec

      May 6, 2015

      Oh my gosh, that’s a horrible experience. I am so sorry your Airbnb experience was like that! I talked with various travellers on my travels, and most of them had quite positive experiences, including a few bad ones! I find it can be similar to hostel stays, I stayed in hostels through Europe last year, and most of them were great hostels (the one in Paris in particular was just amazing!), but with the exception of the odd terrible one!

  3. Lauren

    May 5, 2015

    I haven’t used AirBNB yet but this post is extremely helpful! Thanks 🙂

    • Bec

      May 6, 2015

      Thanks! Glad you found the tips helpful 🙂

  4. tanjtrubiano

    May 6, 2015

    I love AirBnb! Thanks for the additional tips.

    • Bec

      May 6, 2015

      No worries. I’m happy that you found these tips helpful 🙂

  5. Jeh-c

    May 6, 2015

    I’ve been wanting to try Airbnb out for some time.
    I’ll keep these helpful tips in mine when I finally get a chance to try it out.

    • Bec

      May 6, 2015

      I hope you get to try it soon! Such a great way to travel! Glad you found these tips helpful! 🙂

  6. tschureman

    May 11, 2015

    I love Airbnb! It makes me feel like I am a local while I am on my trip. I just booked it for my second time for my upcoming trip to Paris. The bed comes out of the ceiling!

    • Bec

      May 11, 2015

      Wow that’s so cool! The bed coming out of the ceiling sounds amazing! Will be interested to see some photos! Airbnb is just simply amazing, I try to use it as much as I can on my travels! Love how you feel like a local, and your hosts give you suggestions and insider tips! 🙂

  7. Rebecca Hall (Bex)

    May 13, 2015

    Yep – Airbnb is great. I’ve used it in London and will be using it for an up and coming trip to Iceland as it’s SUCH an expensive country that Airbnb is the best way to go.
    My friend recently came to visit me in Athens, Greece and she used a local Airbnb round the corner from my place – it was amazing!

    • Bec

      May 13, 2015

      That’s awesome! It definitely does save quite a lot of money when travelling on your own! I have used Airbnb several times and have had all great stays and experiences! My friend and I will be in Athens in October so we will be looking into Airbnb places for our stay! Would love to know where she stayed so we can check it out! 🙂

  8. Alana

    May 20, 2015

    We swear by Airbnb. It’s always the first place we check for accommodations. We actually prefer options where we stay in a room in the hosts house. Hosts always know all the great local spots, cheapest way to get around, etc. Having access to the kitchen and wifi are our biggest priorities. 🙂

    Also, we’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award. 🙂 You can read the questions and find out more info here: http://www.greatbigglobe.com/liebster-award-nomination/

    • Bec

      May 20, 2015

      Yeah, I prefer to stay in a hosts place as well, for the exact reasons you mentioned! Access to a kitchen and wifi are pretty important to me too! Wow, thank you so much for nominating me, appreciate it a lot! 🙂 I will check it out!

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Bec
Sydney, AU

Hi there! I'm Bec, creator of the travel blog The World As Bec Sees It. I'm a 26-year old Primary Teacher from Sydney, Australia with a severe case of wanderlust who believes it's possible to work in the job of your dreams and still find time to travel the world!

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