Airbnb has become one of the most popular travel options in recent years for travellers right around the world. Not only a great cost effective option but it enables you to book accommodation in areas that you’d like to stay in, view photos and reviews and communicate direct with the owner. It caters for all budgets and all configurations, so if you’re after a Penthouse for 15 people or a room for one, you’ll find something via this site.
Airbnb hosts share their spaces in 190 countries and more than 34,000 cities. All you have to do is enter your destination and travel dates into the search bar to discover distinctive places to stay, anywhere in the world.
They display photos of listings, host profiles, and reviews to help you make informed decisions when considering a host’s space. They have also created search filters so you can narrow your results by type of accommodation, price, and location. For example, if you’re looking to make friends and stay with a host, select Private Room or Shared Room. Or if you’re looking for an entire space to call your own, go ahead and select the Entire Place filter.
Once you complete your profile to give hosts a good idea of the kind of guest you are, you can request to book a host’s space by clicking the Contact Host or Request to Book buttons, or you can use Instant Book to confirm your stay without having to wait for a host’s approval.
There are a few ways to book spaces on Airbnb. Some hosts want to get to know a guest before they confirm a reservation while others prefer to reduce the time it takes to manage requests by using Airbnb’s Instant Book feature.
The Request to Book button sends a reservation request to a host for the specific trip dates you select. The host has the option to either accept or decline the request, or ask you questions about your trip. When a host responds to your request, we send you an email to let you know. If they don’t respond within 24 hours, your request simply expires. The Instant Book button immediately confirms your reservation and closes the host’s calendar to other incoming requests. We send you a receipt by email with your trip’s details, and your host may follow up with you, too. The Contact Host button lets you start a conversation about their space and hosting style through our secure messaging system. You can use our messaging system to discuss trip details, request special prices, or ask about specific amenities.
Whether you use the Request to Book button or the Instant Book button, they will ask for your payment details so they can hold your reservation. If you use the Request to Book button to send a request, the host has 24 hours to respond. They won’t charge your payment method until the host accepts your reservation. Once the host accepts, they process your payment and send you a congratulatory email that includes your receipt, trip details, and best wishes for a great trip. If you don’t hear back within 24 hours, your request automatically expires. If you use the Instant Book button, your reservation will be immediately confirmed and they’ll process your payment right away.
Before you get there
Send a message to your host to arrange a check-in time and arrival details like picking up the key. Then download the Airbnb app so you can stay in the know while on the go. They will send you an email that includes your trip itinerary, receipt, and host contact information. You can also view your reservation details, alter your plans, or cancel your reservation from the My Trips section on your personal account page. Ensure you read the house/property rules so you don’t have any surprises during your trip.
During your trip
They encourage you to have the time of your life! Enjoy your host’s home and city as if it were a friend’s, and remember to be considerate of your neighbours. If any issues arise during your trip, be sure to get in touch with your host. In most cases, they’ll be the person best equipped to help you. If your host can’t solve the problem you can contact Airbnb.
After you travel
Write a review about your host and their space so other travellers can learn through your experience. Your host will also have a chance to write a review for you, too. Then, pick the next place you’d love to go and find a space on Airbnb!
I have personally only had positive experiences using Airbnb thought I admit I was a bit dubious to start with. I ensured my profile had lots of information and was connected to both my Facebook and Linkedin profile so the host/s could see I was ligit. In turn I also ensured I only booked properties that had a stack of positive reviews, even one or two negative reviews (within reason) made me look at other properties. I applied for a couple of different ones in different cities and was pleased they were accepted. I did have one issue when a property I had applied and paid for was cancelled about 5 months prior to the stay (a property in London), however the owner was very apologetic as work was taking him out of town and I received the deposit back on my credit card within 48 hours by Airbnb.
Lots of people rent out rooms in their own houses and while this is a great option for some it’s not something I’m personally interested in ever doing. I will only book Airbnb places that either the full house or apartment-no sharing!
My favourite stay at a full apartment in Amsterdam (the same one twice on different stays) was owned by a professional couple and it had 3 bedrooms, bathroom, fully equipped kitchen and laundry (handy for long term stays). They also included a few basic items (tea/coffee/juice/milk/laundry powder) Free wifi and a list of nearby restaurants and local information which was very helpful. They included their numbers (which was handy when we locked ourselves out one night!) and met us on time to collect the keys and explain the apartment in details. I left them a very favourable review; which they did for me also.
Airbnb is brilliant for anyone who doesn’t want to stay in a traditional hotel, wants to save money and be able to pick the type of accommodation they want to stay in. From luxury houses to a small room, there really is something for everyone. If you’re interested in hosting, Airbnb is a great way to make extra money and meet some fascinating people from around the world.