Airbnb has quickly become a great way to save on accommodation while having your own space, just like home. I’ve booked Airbnb on most of my trips, especially travelling around Europe, but my last experience in Bordeaux was my first bad one. So, I feel especially qualified lol to share some great ways to avoid some pitfalls in choosing a good Airbnb to enjoy your holiday! If you haven’t checked out my last post (Split Travel Guide), please check it out here!
A little about what prompted this post. I booked my trip to Bordeaux last minute, as I usually do and the available choices of Airbnb’s in my budget were dwindling by the day. So, I found this place, it looked good, good location and the price was within my budget. I looked at reviews, there was only one, but it was a good review and I just wanted to book a place, so I booked it thinking it would be fine. Then the rubbish ensued. As we go through the post, I’ll continue telling the story as it applies to the sections. You ready? Let’s go!
Proceed with Caution
First things first, as much as Airbnb might try to regulate listings, problems still pop up. Imagine seeing a brand new, super luxurious place for a fraction of the cost you expect, you’re excited then you begin to wonder why? Basically, if a listing looks too good to be true, then it almost probably is! Those pictures could’ve been stolen from travel sites or somewhere else on the interweb. So be cautious! And makes sure you document everything, pictures of the apartment when you check-in, messages, etc as evidence in case things goes wrong.
Location Location Location…
Before the search even starts on Airbnb, it’s important to learn a bit about your destination to find out areas are good to stay at your destination, transport links, crime levels and nearest shops and amenities. Location is a big part of choosing a good Airbnb. A good way to spot fake listings is to check the neighbourhood, a luxury penthouse suite shouldn’t be appearing in a rough part of town. That’s why your research is so important in choosing a good Airbnb!
I’m probably not going to click on a listing if it has absolutely no reviews or a really low rating (less than 4 stars) when choosing a good airbnb. With reviews, it’s easy to just glance at the first two or three and the star rating. Instead, read as many reviews as you can to build a picture of if this is a place you want to stay in or if it verifies the host’s description.
The other important thing to look for with reviews is how recent they are. Generally, a good airbnb would have reviews in the last 6 months because if people aren’t booking your place, there might be an issue. Also, it helps verify if the pictures and details are still true to reality.
Sometimes a listing might have no reviews because it might be new. In this case you have to go to the host’s profile. One thing worth saying about Airbnb reviews is that people sometimes don’t want to leave bad reviews on listings because they think it might affect how other hosts view them and then impact what Airbnb’s they can get. So, sometimes, take some of these good reviews with a pinch of salt. Case in point, my listing has 3 good reviews and my bad review so you could think mine was just s fluke.
In my situation, the place I booked had one review! It was a good review so I thought it was okay. How come I went to check the listing after booking, the review magically disappeared? Maybe my mind played tricks on me and showed a review where there wasn’t one or hmmm. Don’t be like me guys, for real! I left the review of a lifetime after my stay so no one can say they weren’t warned.
The Host’s Profile
Another great step in choosing a good Airbnb is checking out the host’s profile. Sometimes you see a listing that you really like but there are absolutely no reviews, it’s time to check out the host! It may be that it’s the host’s first listing, everyone starts somewhere, or it could be a new listing for them, but they have reviews on other ones. If they have that, read those as they could give you a good idea of how good the host is. The host’s profile shows if the host is verified or not and what documents they’ve used to do so. This gives another level of Airbnb’s verification.
Look out for super hosts, which means they’re highly rated, responsive, have great reviews and honour all their reservations. These hosts are trusted, tried and tested and you can breathe a sigh of relief booking with a super host.
Looking back on it now, I must’ve been sleeping when I booked this Airbnb, honestly!
Reverse search the images on the listing
This might sound a little weird lol in choosing a good Airbnb. However, this has actually saved me from being scammed y’all! This is an especially important step when it’s a place you feel might be too good to be true. I did this for the first time a few years ago when trying to book an Airbnb for my birthday in Rome. I found this absolutely beautiful apartment and the price was quite affordable considering how nice the place was. Something told me to image search the pictures from the listing and I found the apartment listed to another company in a whole other country! So, as an extra precaution, do the image search!
Weirdly enough not all apartments have Wi-Fi as expected but a good Airbnb should have Wi-Fi wouldn’t you agree? Like, I don’t understand how places don’t still have it in 2019 but please make sure you check the amenities. Also, read the reviews and property descriptions for any information on the Wi-Fi speed as well as that’s not guaranteed.
My Bordeaux Airbnb had Wi-Fi, however, he didn’t leave a pack, booklet in the apartment or message to let me know how anything worked or what the password was. I had to call him again when I got into the apartment and would you believe this man cut the call! 10 minutes later he sends me a message saying he was sleeping and that I shouldn’t call again, and the Wi-Fi code is under the Wi-Fi box behind a curtain. How I was supposed to see this box hidden behind a curtain, I don’t know. When I tell you the Wi-Fi code was 30 characters long! That’s just inconsiderate!
Message your host before booking and check response times
Even if the host has detailed everything, I always try to ask a question before finally booking. You can ask any questions that are important to you or anything you want to clarify. Do you work remotely and need really strong Wi-Fi speed? Need to know the nearest bus stop from the property? Need a work space, coffee maker etc? Don’t be afraid to ask before you book or travel. Asking a question before booking is also a great way to get an indication of the host’s responsiveness.
If I had sent my Bordeaux host a message before booking, I would’ve seen how ATROCIOUS he was at responding to messages. And I definitely wouldn’t have booked his apartment. I was in a rush to book and he had the option to book instantly so I just did, don’t be like me guys!
Confirm Check-in Method and Check-out time
Something people, especially me, usually overlook is the method of check-in. Some Airbnb listings don’t detail the check-in information. Which means you could end up on the side of a street, at night, with your phone stuck between your ear and neck, trying to enter a code in a weird padlock thing to get the key out, like I was. If you’re arriving late, make sure you check with your host before you book if it’s alright if you have to meet up with your host to get the keys.
Also, alot of Airbnbs have early check out times, like 10am! Trust me, that’s early fam!! So make sure you check if the check-out time is suitable for you before booking and if the host would be willing to extend, if possible.
- Read the listing thoroughly, from start to finish
- Never book a place that has no pictures, DON’T DO IT!
- Avoid places that don’t show pictures of the rooms, bathroom, kitchen or check-in information. Those are pretty essential wouldn’t you agree?
- If the reviews are mainly bad, trust them! It’s not your ministry to go and verify or to be giving the benefit of the doubt. Avoid them!
- If the host has a lot of reviews or automated messages saying the reservation was cancelled, be aware, your reservation could get cancelled unexpectedly.
- Check out the host’s profile and make sure he/she is verified and if they have other reviews
- DO EVERYTHING through the Airbnb platform so everything is officially recorded in case an issue comes up. Also, take pictures of the accommodation when you get there as evidence, just in case.
If you’re new to Airbnb, you can sign up using my link and get £25 off your first home booking of £55 or more and £9 towards your first experience booking worth £35 or more!
I hope this post has helped give you some pointers to avoid making the same mistakes I did in choosing a good Airbnb to enjoy your holiday in! If you have any more tips please share in the comments. If you’ve had a particularly bad or great Airbnb experience, please share in the comments as well so we can all learn from it!
Go forth and be a boss in choosing a great Airbnb!!
Until Next Time xx