If you’ve never booked a place to stay through Airbnb but love the idea of living like a local whilst you travel, then you should definitely give it a try. Airbnb has a fantastic community of hosts and guests and there are so many options available and unique places to stay that could really make your trip special.
What to look for when booking your Airbnb stay
Airbnb has a great help centre which should answer all your questions, but here are the things most important to me when I’m choosing a place to stay as a solo female traveller:
As a regular solo female traveller, I am mindful of renting an apartment from a verified host. My first host, Frederic (for the studio apartment I rented in Brussels) is currently based in London. Frederic has provided Airbnb with multiple means of verification, as can be seen on Frederic’s Airbnb profile.
It’s also important to check the reviews your prospective host has received, both the volume of reviews and the responses. Sometimes a listing does not have any reviews yet, but do not let that deter you, it’s worth checking the owner’s profile to see if they have any other listings and reviews. If they do and you are happy with them, great, it’s likely you will find the place you want to book will be absolutely fine.
3. Ask a question before you book
If you’re feeling at all concerned about booking a place, contact the host before you book and ask a question. Both the response and the time it takes to receive a response are a good indicator as to how helpful and prompt your host will be if you need them during your stay.
4. Safe communication and transactions
All communication and transactions are through the Airbnb website and there’s a mobile app available to manage your bookings and communicate with your host. Messages are also sent to your mobile and email and you can also respond directly to those messages, without divulging your phone number or email address. Airbnb encourages guests to communicate with their hosts in advance of the trip and I did this and received timely and helpful responses from Frederic, who encouraged me to contact him if I needed anything else during my stay, even though he would be overseas.
5. Choosing a property
There are lots of filters that can be applied when you are searching for a place to stay on Airbnb including location, price range, whether you just want a room or an entire place. Also, you can filter by facilities that will be available e.g. wifi, air conditioning, heating, elevator etc. Think about your own specific needs e.g. if you don’t like carrying luggage up four flights of stairs, don’t travel on your own and book an apartment on the fourth floor when there is no elevator.
If you don’t know what the area is like, try searching on Google Maps and check out Street View.
Choose a location that is in an area you are comfortable with (and by that I mean an area you have researched and feel it sounds safe). Also consider how close transport links are and if you are planning on eating in, find out how close the nearest grocery store is, so you can easily stock up.
7. Arrival time
Arriving at someone’s home is obviously not the same as arriving at a hotel and your host may have set times when you can access the place you plan to stay, whether you are renting a room or an entire place. In some cases you won’t have any face-to-face contact with your host if you are renting an entire place; instead you will receive instructions on how to access the place e.g. you may be given a door code, or a safe code to access a key.
I plan to arrive at an Airbnb property during daylight hours, especially if there will be no-one available to meet me. This way, if something goes wrong e.g. I can’t get a door code to work, I can contact my host and wait in a cafe or something whilst the problem is resolved – much better than arriving in the small hours and being stuck outside!
During your stay
It’s important to be an awesome guest. Not only because your host will leave a review for you, but simply because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t annoy your host’s neighbours and treat the place you stay in, better than your own home.
Let a friend or family member know where you are staying and if possible, travel with a phone and have emergency contact numbers stored for your contacts and emergency service numbers for the country you are visiting.
If you have any problems at all, you should always get in touch with your host or someone on their behalf, if your host has left alternative instructions. Don’t forget Airbnb is there too, if you need further assistance.
After your stay
Your host will have left instructions on how they would like their home leaving. Usually in the condition it was found in; not much to ask, right? 🙂 Always take care to follow the instructions you are provided with e.g. wash up, tidy up and if asked to change the bedding or take the rubbish out, do that too.
After your stay it’s important to follow-up and leave a review; Airbnb will remind you about this. It’s important to be honest in your review and there are Airbnb review guidelines available to assist you. As well as providing public feedback in a review, it is also possible to provide private feedback for your host too. This can also be really helpful and sometimes it’s appropriate to provide some feedback privately.
Get started with Airbnb
Register with Airbnb here and receive a discount off your first booking.
Do you have any Airbnb tips or questions?
I’d love to hear from you, let me know in the comments, below.
Disclaimer: I have not received any incentives for writing this post but I have included an affiliate link to provide you with a discount. For information about how I partner with brands, please visit my Ethics page for further information about this website, please visit the Terms page.