The first time I used airbnb was in 2013 when I was doing and internship in Copenhagen. My host, Maria, was living in Frederiksberg in the city center right next to the underground. She sounded like a nice person in her messages and her room was free for 10 weeks – and it did not break my budget. That was the only selection criteria I had at that time. And I was lucky because I had a hilarious stay at Maria’s place. It turned out she was a sex columnist – and red wine and cigarettes were her muses. We became friends right away.
All my experiences with airbnb have been positives ones so far. I really can recommend the for going on holidays – you can meet locals, get the live-in-a-place energy and of course you can save some money. So, what should you pay attention to when you’re using airbnb for the first time?
A traveler’s guide to airbnb
Look at all neigbourhoods
When scrolling through the website, airbnb only shows you the apartments in the area or neigbourhood you’re looking at. When you scroll on, you might just find your perfect aparment in another area as the one you were looking at in the first place.
Read the reviews
All of them. Not only the first page. Is there something repeating itself? Like facilities being broken or the host being unreliable? Then you should probably look for another place. For example one time, my host stayed in Argentina when I arrived at the apartment. He gave me the phone number of his mum but her phone was off. Luckily, she was home when I arrived… but until I got there, I felt pretty tense.
Check what facilities are accessible
Sometimes, washing maching, kitchen or WiFi are not for free use although stated otherwise in the ad. Just ask your host if you can really wash your clothes or cook your own meals.
Install the airbnb app or get your host’s phone number
It makes the communication with your host so much easier. Once you’re on the road it’s not so easy to find a laptop or an internetcafé for writing a short message. Just install the airbnb app (for iPhone and Android) or ask your host for their phone number if you don’t have mobile internet on your phone when abroad.
Set check-in and check-out times
Your host might have children, might be working or might be moving in with friends as long as you stay in their flat. Just let them know the exact time when you are arriving and leaving so they can plan as well. One time I had guests that told me they would arrive »sometime in the evening«. This is are really enervating, just don’t do it.
Check cancellation policies
Cancellation is not always free of charge at airbnb. The host can decide which cancellation policy he prefers: flexible, moderate or strict. Depending on the policy you might be charged a fee once you cancel your reservation.
Get directions before
Google Street View is perfect for this one: Otherwise you might just walk past your holiday home five times. Another tip: Just write down the name of your host so you know which bell to ring.
Fill in your profile
This one’s for you: You’re going to live in a stranger’s apartment, right. But you’re also a stranger for your host, don’t forget that. Fill in your profile and let the other person know who you are. Who knows – maybe you can make new friends?
Do you use airbnb? What are your experiences?