I`ve been using Airbnb for several years and I am loving it. Following your questions on Instagram I thought best if I summarize what Airbnb is and how to use it. Weather you’re looking for a remote romantic house in the woods or a comfortable apartment for a city break perhaps a villa with a pool for your entire family, Airbnb has it all! It is a global system with listing available all around the world.
We have used Airbnb twice in the last month and had an amazing experience in both places
- We stayed in this romantic lakeside cottage in Sweden for less than half price compared to a hotel room. For me it is not just about price but literally it´s close to impossible to get this privacy and peaceful environment in a hotel
2. We are currently staying in Budapest in this an absolutely stunning apartment with the BEST view in town. Pricewise it is cheaper than a hotel room especially if you consider the space we have (about 10x larger than an average hotel room) and the view, OMG!
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb provides an online accommodation booking platform where you can rent a room or an entire place from the locals. It`s like booking.com but on Airbnb you stay in someone`s flat/house/castle and not in a hotel.
You can filter your search such as date, location and price, and can search for specific types of homes, such as entire place or private room. Airbnb now also have sort of a “luxury” level premium listings called Airbnb Plus, like the Budapest apartment above.
If you are a property owner who wants to make some money, you can rent out your own flat or a spare room for anyone who register on the site.
There are several advantages according to my opinion!
1. It`s often cheaper than staying in a hotel
2. More choices in terms of location like that lovely lake cottage in Sweden, there is no hotel around that area
3. Plenty of unique, one of a kind type of listings e.g. boat, castle, tree house etc.
4. The host can be your local contact who can recommend you places to go and can help you plan your stay
5. If you rent an entire house, you’ll have a larger space than a typical hotel room including kitchen, living room etc. You’ll be able to cook quick meals and save on food costs that way. I loved for example barbecuing and watching the sunset outside the garden of that lake house we rented in Sweden
6. If you are a bigger crowd e.g. a large family or group of friends it can be difficult to find several hotel rooms for the entire group. It can be a good idea to rent a big enough apartment or house where everyone can fit in
7. Laundry machine etc also often provided which is an important factor when you travel for a longer period
How it works?
Airbnb does not own properties, instead it connects those who are looking for an accommodation with those who are willing to rent out their spare room or property. After registering your account, you can start searching for properties worldwide.
You can sign up free to Airbnb and get 45 USD / 35 GBP / 40 EUR worth discount from your first booking anywhere in the world via this link.
First personalize your search with filters, like location and price to get exactly what you want. You can choose to rent a room or an entire place. You can see in a list view or search on a map.
2. Check details
Check out the photos about the property, read guest reviews about the place and the host. If you have any questions, you can message the owner via the system.
If you like what you have selected, you can request to book it or some places can be “instant booked” without waiting for the host’s response. Once it`s done you pay via a secured platform.
The confirmation you get contains information about the place, e.g. how to find the property and how to enter. Many times there is a locker outside of the property from where you can collect the keys.
If you have any questions, just drop a message to the host who will be happy to help.
That`s it! So simple!
How about the price?
The price for a room or an entire place depends on a variety of factors, including location, the quality of the listing, and the amenities. Same as for Hotels you can find everything from inexpensive rooms to luxurious penthouses or villas with pools.
Generally what I found is that in bigger, more expensive cities like e.g. New York or London Airbnb is more competitive than hotels.
Is it safe to use Airbnb?
To protect hosts and guests Airbnb use Verified ID system which is matching the users online profiles with real-life identities.
Also, they work with a peer-review system where hosts and guests leave reviews about their experience. Just choose a place with good reviews and you are safe. I personally never go to places which has no reviews and/or the rating average below 4 out of 5. Please make sure you do your research to avoid any inconvenience, but honestly that applies to any hotels or restaurants as well.
If you worry about payments, Airbnb hosts and guests do not exchange money in person. Guests pay for everything on the Airbnb site when they make their reservations.
If you still have questions, Airbnb gives you many useful advise on how to stay safe during travel (https://www.airbnb.com/trust)
After a well-deserved holiday go back to the site and write a short review about the place and host. Your review will help others to choose the best accommodation. Don`t forget that your host will review your stay too which means with good review from your host, you can get accommodations easily for your next trip.
When NOT to use Airbnb
After all the information about why and how to use Airbnb, I feel I have to write a short summary about when I would avoid using Airbnb.
First of all, both in case of Airbnb but also in regards to hotels, safety is first, therefore I do not recommend using Airbnb if you can’t find an appropriate listing with at least 3-5 positive reviews (average rating min 4 out of 5 my golden rule).
Beyond reviews, there are a couple amenities or services hotels have and I just love e.g. spa, breakfast buffet, room service, rooftop bar etc. so sometimes I just fancy a hotel more than an apartment.
Occasionally I prefer to have a vacation when all I have to do is relaxing. In that case, I rather go to an all inclusive hotel where room, food and drinks are all included like this stunning resort in the Maldives.
Overall, I prefer to mix Airbnb and hotels depending on location, price and type of vacation I fancy.