Airbnb is a way to travel and avoid hotels, hostels and get the feel of an area by staying in area homes, cottages, apartments, and other unique locations. Hosts are typically the property owners and may rent it out year-round while they are away on vacation or at home but have extra space.
Some people turn to Airbnb for short weekend getaways, work trips, family vacations, celebrations, or extended stays – even months at a time. Local experts offer Airbnb Experiences that can include hiking, water sports, food tours, cooking classes, and more.
One of the benefits of turning to Airbnb for lodging is that you often have access to full kitchens and laundry facilities, making your trip significantly more convenient. For those who desire, there are also themed and unique accommodations worldwide.
Airbnb makes it easy to find stays with its secure platform and accessible messaging between hosts and guests. For hosts, Airbnb offers a stress-free way to increase income through their property rentals. Guests get a more intimate and homier feel, often for less than the cost of a hotel.
Before you book that trip, read the reviews from past guests. Check that you are looking at the most recent first. Please communicate with your host beforehand to ask any questions and determine their responsiveness. That can help you detect red flags before your trip.
Some Airbnb pros:
- Better options for larger families
- May provide a better cost value
- May off more opportunity to see life as locals rather than in busy city centers
- Amenities may include laundry and kitchen facilities
- Unique lodging options
Some Airbnb downfalls:
- Excess or unexpected fees
- No loyalty programs like hotel chains
- Potential host cancellation
- Strict rules
- Difficulty with check-in at some locations
- Misrepresentation of appearance, quality, or benefits
- May not be as clean as you like
- Clean-up instructions differ considerably
- May not have secure lock-up options for valuables
- Not always the most affordable option
- Lack of hotel amenities
- Less regulation than with hotels
- Host experience varies considerably
Tips for Increasing Safety During Your Airbnb Stay
It is just as dangerous traveling as it is staying in your hometown. You probably know what areas to avoid and take precautions such as locking your door, changing batteries in your fire detectors, and knowing how to get out of your home during an emergency.
The same safety tips apply when you travel, no matter where you stay. There are just a few more to consider when you are away from home in a new place. Of course, purchasing travel insurance for your trip is crucial as there is much that can go wrong. From canceled flights to missed connections, illnesses to injuries, lost baggage to theft, having protection can save you stress in the long run.
- Know your location
If the Airbnb website does not have a photo of the building’s exterior, go on Google Street View, and pull up the address. You can take a screenshot of the building to help you find your location – this might also be helpful for your driver. It is also best to map out the route from your pickup location to Airbnb to provide your driver with added help.
- Try to time your arrival during the day
While it is only sometimes possible to arrive during daylight hours, if you can manage it, do so. It is much safer to find your way in a strange place during the day than under the darkness of night.
- Ask how often they change the codes
Depending on the type of entrance to the building, the code may have been kept the same for quite a while, and others could still have access to the building. Lockboxes require manual changing. Ask for the code to be reset before you arrive.
- Make your emergency evacuation plans
Emergencies can happen anywhere. Plan evacuation options immediately in case you cannot reach the front door. Open and close all the windows to ensure they work when you arrive and see if they will serve as an exit. You also want to ensure they close and lock to prevent burglars from entering the location.
- Check for hidden cameras
While recording devices are against Airbnb policy, that does not mean the host is not using them to protect their property. Carrying an infrared light on trips can help you detect hidden cameras.
- Secure your valuables
Many insurance policies will only cover theft of your belongings in an Airbnb if you have them safely secured in a locked safe. Verify with the Airbnb location before booking that they provide a locked safe for you to use.
- Carry masks
The pandemic has never left, and it tends to come back strong in late summer and at other times of the year. It is good to be prepared with extra masks if needed.
- Carry a door stop and motion alarm
For Airbnb and any hotel, carry a small door jam to prevent someone from breaking into your room while you shower or sleep. Some even come with alarms.
- Disinfect high-touch surfaces
Just as you would in a hotel, use disinfecting wipes to sanitize door handles, faucets, remote controls, light switches, and other surfaces. Wash utensils, dishes, glassware, and pots and pans before use.
Top 5 Things That Must Be in Your Luggage
As with any trip, there are some essential items always to take. If you are taking a short trip, liquid hygiene products should be in 3.4 ounces or less sizes if you are flying. Larger-size bottles will require packing in checked luggage. Electronics, jewelry, medications, glasses, and other valuable items should travel with you in carry-on bags.
In the previous section, we discussed infrared lights, door stops, disinfecting wipes, and masks. These are good items to have whenever you travel, but more things should be considered.
Here are the top 5 things to bring on your trip:
- Chargers – included in this category are power converters if you are traveling to another country. Bring portable chargers, as well, to ensure you never run out of power when out exploring all day.
- Valuables – keep your identification, passport, and credit cards in an RFID wallet to protect against scanning theft. Carry other valuables with you – or leave valuable jewelry at home.
- Water – although you cannot bring water bottles through TSA, you can carry empty ones and fill them once you get through airport security. You can also freeze water bottles, drinking what melts before going through security. They allow frozen water bottles, which can also help keep perishable food cool. Depending on where you travel, you may want to stop at a local grocery store to pick up large water bottles. It is crucial to stay hydrated during your travels.
- Medications – never put medication in your luggage, as it can be stolen or lost. Fortunately, modern medicine has thought up light and easy devices for our health. But what about prescription hormones? Do not worry; you can get sermorelin for sale that is perfect for travel to help keep your hormones balanced.
- Hygiene products – along with soap, shampoo, conditioner, lotions, sunscreen, toothpaste, and deodorant, do not forget feminine hygiene items that may be difficult to find. Some people also carry their favorite brands of toilet paper with them.
Tips for a Safe, Affordable, and Successful Stay
Enjoying a safe, affordable, and successful stay requires some planning. It is always wise to contact the host shortly after booking to ask questions and get a feel for their personality and willingness to help.
Things to inquire about before or immediately after booking:
- Kitchen equipment, including microwaves, coffee makers, and anything else you need
- Laundry facilities, and if there is a cost
- Locked safe access
- Code changing for entrance
- Smoke detectors – when were the batteries last changed
- Parking options
Other tips for a successful Airbnb stay:
- Take the time to read the reviews
- Read the fine print and cancellation policy
- Look at as many photos of the property as possible
- Use a credit card for booking – not a debit card
- Contact Airbnb if there are any problems
- Report dangerous concerns, theft, or issues to the police
- Get familiar with the location ahead of time, including the nearest stores, restaurants, and medical facilities
- Always ensure the door has a lock and remember to use it
- Bring a door security device, including door stops
- Use extra care when traveling alone – put two people on all hotel or Airbnb locations so they do not know you are alone
- Travel in the off-season to save money
- Be flexible with your travel locations and dates
- Book longer stays for better deals
- Check for referral discounts
- Book four weeks in advance for better deals
- Book well ahead if you want something popular or specific
- Try to negotiate a better deal with the host for longer or last-minute stays
- Check with your credit cards for booking credit and points
- Keep your keys in a safe place while you explore – crossbody or waist bags with uncuttable straps work best
- Use travel locks on all your bags, including keeping items secure at your Airbnb
- Tidy up when you check out – do not leave the Airbnb in a messy state
What to do when you arrive at your Airbnb:
- Open and lock all windows to ensure they work and lock
- Check for security and hidden cameras (see above)
- Check all beds and couches for bed bugs
- Open refrigerator and check for rotten food
- Plan your escape route for emergencies
- Document with photos of any damage in the location and report to the host and Airbnb
- If the host is there, be friendly and thank them for the hospitality
- If the host is not there, send them a message letting them know you arrived and if there are any issues
- Ask your host for recommendations about what to do, what areas are safe/not safe, and anything else they recommend to help enhance your stay
- Take photos of the entire place when you arrive and again when you leave to protect against fraudulent charges
If you have any concerns that the host does not handle, contact Airbnb for help. Do not stay in a location if you do not feel safe. Report any concerns in a review to alert future travelers to the problems.
Airbnb offers unique and affordable options for travelers but take the time to read the fine print and know the extra fees and rules before booking that stay. Read the reviews of past guests, especially the bad ones, to understand the pros and cons of the location.
Simple safety steps can help you have an enjoyable vacation. Come prepared with what you need to protect yourself and your valuables. Do your research beforehand to familiarize yourself with where you will be staying and what is within walking or driving distance.
Following some basic guidelines can ensure a wonderful Airbnb experience.