Booking an Airbnb? Consider These Things First

If you’re new to Airbnb, you may be wondering how and where to start. From finding a home to booking the right place, there’s a lot that goes into choosing an Airbnb.

Thankfully, it’s pretty easy once you know what to look for.

Here are some tips to get started. Soon, you will be well on your way to a great stay.

Read the fine print

Make sure you understand the cancellation policy. In most cases, Airbnb will refund your money within 14 days unless you booked through an Airbnb partner like Expedia or Trivago. In that case, you will need to contact the third party for more information.

A cancellation made within 24 hours of arrival without explanation or reason, and without having been approved by the host, is considered a no-show and will typically not be refunded or available for rescheduling.

Check the rules of the house. For example, you don’t want to show up with your dog, only to find out they don’t allow pets. Make sure that you don’t exceed the number of guests and be honest about the number of people coming.

By reading through all the relevant details before making any reservations, you should be able to prevent most issues.

Check the location and transportation options


One of the most important factors to consider when booking an Airbnb is the location. Make sure you are near restaurants, public transportation, and anything else you may need. Just because an Airbnb is in New York City doesn’t mean it’s near Times Square, for example. It could be in New Jersey and require a 30-minute subway ride just to get anywhere. When you don’t choose the right location for your trip, it can affect the amount you spend on transportation, food, entertainment, and shopping.

In addition to being convenient for day-to-day life and activities in your destination city, it’s also worth checking whether there are any local attractions that are within walking distance from where you’ll be staying. This can help save time and money while also providing opportunities for adventure.

You can find out how close attractions are by looking at the map provided in each listing description. Ideally, you’ll want to stay as close as possible to major sights while still being able to walk around and explore comfortably. At the same time, consider that the better the location, the more expensive it’s likely to be. Finding the balance of budget and convenience is a necessary step.

Look for Amenities

Depending on your trip and the length of time you’ll be staying, it’s worth considering whether or not amenities are important to you. Do you need a private bathroom? A washing machine? A full kitchen? Is there enough space for your group—or will everyone be cramped together in a few bedrooms? Does everyone need their own bed or are they comfortable enough to share?

Also, many people make the mistake of thinking that because they are on vacation, they will be gone the entire time. However, many people find that they end up spending quite a bit of time at the house and wish they would have booked a home with more space, a full kitchen, a fireplace, a pool, or a BBQ pit.

The good news is that Airbnb makes it easy to find out if the amenities in each listing are included in the rental rate. Just click on the “amenities” tab on the listing’s main page.

Check the photos carefully


Before you book, it’s important to look at the photos carefully. Check for signs of wear and tear, particularly around doors and windows. Compare the photos and nightly rate to similar, nearby listings.

Also, how many photos are there? Are there only a few? If so, this could be a potential red flag that they are trying to hide something, or they don’t care enough about the property to show it off.

Read all the reviews carefully and thoughtfully before making a decision

Read the reviews. Lots of people will leave a review if they had a bad experience, but not as many people are likely to write about a positive one, so keep in mind that a 4-star rating may actually be pretty good. However, if you see lots of negative reviews, it may be worth looking for another property that has better ratings, particularly if you see the same issue highlighted over and over.

As a general rule, Airbnb reviews are a very reliable source of information. However, if there are no recent reviews or the reviews are all positive and almost robotic looking, look for another place to stay. If there’s only one review and it’s negative, read it carefully for the full picture before making a decision.

There may be extenuating circumstances that weren’t mentioned in the review but still make the place suitable for your needs. For example, if someone complains about the jacuzzi not working well, but you have no need for it, then this review isn’t necessarily a negative thing. If the review is about a moldy bathroom, it’s time to look elsewhere.

It can be tempting when you’re looking at an Airbnb listing not to read the reviews. After all, many people skip over them. But taking the time to read carefully can save you from getting into trouble later down the line.


Make sure you are going to feel safe and comfortable where you’re staying

Safety should be your first priority. This is especially true if you’re traveling alone or with someone, you don’t know super well, but it’s also important when you’re traveling in a group.

If something doesn’t seem right or things don’t go as planned, it’s important to be able to leave without hesitation. You and your fellow travelers are responsible for each other’s safety. If anyone feels unsafe, leave immediately and contact Airbnb. They should be able to help you find somewhere that everyone feels comfortable and can enjoy their stay.

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