I love Airbnb, both as a renter and when I have rented out my own flat, however… not every time has been without drama. And I hate drama. One time, my dishwasher broke the day before arrival of a guest, and as I was in Los Angeles, I really could do anything about it. Everything was fine when my sister greeted the guests showing them around, but at the end when she told them about the broken dishwasher, well… lets just say hell broke loose. And I ended up getting the worst review in history, not only was her entire holiday ruined, but my home was filthy (oh and full of personal items). On two other occasions I have rented homes myself, which really didn’t live up to what was promised. I really do not expect to much, if I was looking for a hotel, well I would book a hotel, but an overall clean apartment is not to much to ask for I think – especially if you have travelled a long way to get there.
So what to do before you book what you think is the perfect apartment? It is not always only about the right price, the perfect photos, location, and wifi situation. Here is my list of things to check for before you book that Airbnb.
Go through all of the reviews. And I mean all of them, even if that means going through 100s. I am sure we can all agree on spending a few hours reading past experiences is well worth spend rather than regretting it later right? Always read everything with a grain of salt, don’t be turned of by that one bad review among 100 great reviews. The reviewer probably just had a very bad day, or as in case, made stuff up because there was no dishwasher. Quite often you’ll find that the reviews also leaves you with great tips for the best local coffee shop or other great local recommendations. I generally look for places with more than 20 reviews, this just shows it is an experienced airbnb’er who knows what it is all about – if one only has a few reviews, I keep it is as my backup.
I also find it very beneficial to read the profile of the host. Many times you’ll also find renters review on the host, is the host easy to get in contact with, flexible, and helpful – all things I find helpful on the go (especially if something should be unclear or not work, like that essential wifi. If you are only renting part of a house, like a shared or private room, you NEED to read the host profile, as you will be dealing with the host IRL.
Make sure the home you are looking at is close to where you want to be. It is so easy to write something like, extremely super close to that landmark everyone wants to see. But in reality, it is a five-mile walk and you find yourself rocking up in some dodgy suburb miles from everything with a host nowhere to be found. So if convenience and a central location are important to you… check this twice.
There is only so much you can prepare for prior to booking, but always think about what is important to you. You might think that an elevator in a 10 story building is a matter of course, but in reality, the building only have a dimly lit staircase or you think, everyone living in Morocco, would have an air conditioner, but think again. If it is not mentioned in the description, don’t assume anything – ask the host prior to booking.
If everything passed these boxed, I will book. And pray that they remembered to but on clean sheets on the bed.