Hey guys! I hope you had a beautiful weekend! We spent some time in Antibes, France and it was wonderful. I’ll share more later this week!
I thought I’d do an Airbnb post for all of you – this is the ONLY way we travel in Europe and I often get questions/blog comments/emails asking me how it works and now and then I get requests for a blog post, so I thought I’d write one up.
If you have more specific questions, feel free to ask in the comments and I’ll answer there!
What is Airbnb? Airbnb is an online community marketplace that connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for accommodations.
Why does my family use Airbnb? We use it exclusively. Because of occupancy laws in Europe we would have to rent at least two hotel rooms for my big family. That is NOT financially doable for us. We need room to spread out and a kitchen. Renting an entire apartment/home is perfect for us. Not to mention SO much cheaper. You can rent an entire space for 100 dollars a night. That’s not going to happen in the hotel world! Plus- we believe it allows us to see and experience new places in an authentic way.
How does it work?
1. Sign Up- HERE is my referral link. If you use this link, we will both get travel credit. If you don’t want to give me travel credit, that’s fine too. Just sign up directly at airbnb.com .
2. Search by Location/Date Range/Number of Guests – You don’t have to be terribly specific on location. You can even enter an area.
3. Narrow it down – When you get to the next page, you can refine your search on the left. I ALWAYS choose “entire place” because shared room/etc wouldn’t work for my family. You can also set a price range here, though I rarely do that.
4. Click on the map to zoom. Make sure that the “search when I move the map” option is clicked and look around the map of the city you are staying in. Do research on what the good/fun areas are and look in those spots. If those are too expensive then find an apartment that is close to the metro/public transportation!
5. Click on the geotags to see the homes up close. This will give you a thumbnail photo of the house. You can also scroll through the options on the left side of the screen, but I prefer using the map/geotags.
6. Click on the thumbnail to see all of the facts on the lodging– Photos are SO important. If there are no photos, no feedback, or there are 2 photos that are blurry/uploaded in the wrong direction then…NO. Shady. Really take your time. Read every word, every review. Look at photos. Trust your gut.
7. Read the reviews closely– This is the best way to get a true sense of what you are getting into. Note: Every airbnb apartment has to have a FIRST time rental. We were first time renters in the Positano apartment and it was probably our favorite. But just be careful. Make sure the owner is verified, etc.
8. Send the owner a message if you need clarification – don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
9. Request to book- Many times if you are messaging with an owner he/she will give you pre-verification. That means you can book as soon as you are ready. There are also instant bookings. But most of the time you will request to book, the owner will approve, and THEN it will be finalized. It usually takes time. Note: Airbnb does not authorize payment to the owner until you have been in your lodging for 24 hours. This is a good thing. 🙂
10. Enjoy your trip!
1. Read the fine print. I can’t stress this enough. Sometimes there are hidden fees, sometimes the host expects you to pay extra for bed linens (NO THANK YOU). Sometimes the house doesn’t supply extra toilet paper or hand soap and you need to bring those things. How is the parking? Are there dedicated parking spots or a garage close by? Check cancellation policies.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price. When you select the number of guests you will notice that sometimes the number really jumps the higher you go. If there is a HUGE price difference between four and six guests I will often email the host and explain that two of the guests are small twins and ask if they will count them as one (or not count them at all) and that we really want to come but we’d love some help with our budget. No one has ever said no.
3. Treat the homes with respect and clean up after yourself. Your host will review you after your stay (as you will review them) and good ratings are crucial for your airbnb experience. I always (even if the host doesn’t request it) strip the sheets and place the towels in a pile. We always take the trash out.
4. Leave specific feedback after your stays. This will help other airbnb users. We LOVED our home in Switzerland but it smelled like smoke and this wasn’t disclosed in the description. It wasn’t a huge deal to us but would have been horrible for someone with asthma/allergies. I felt bad sharing that in the review but the host was SO nice…but it’s important.
Okay- that’s all I could think of. Hope that it makes sense and is hepful.