Traveling via AirBnB

Heard mixed reviews? Well, let me tell you a little bit about our experience with Airbnb.com. Our little family used the services half a dozen times and we only have good things to say!

Do you have a horror story to tell with your host? Comment below, I’d love to hear your experiences weather positive or negative! If you have a really amazing property that you stayed at, link that below in the comments section, who knows, maybe we will be going there soon and will check it out! P.s. currently looking for good suggestions in Sydney, Australia, so if you have a home you loved, leave a comment with the home ID number!

Some photos from our top two apartments we rented via Airbnb.com

If you are traveling using Airbnb.com use my link to get $40 credit towards your stay!

Click on the photo to see my caption.

All the good stuff, in my own opinion after using the website and services, I think these are important items to consider when using Airbnb:

Personal profile.

Creating a profile with your current photo may help in letting the host know who you are and allowing them to pick you. With some international apartments for rent the host is often a business that rents out fully furnished apartments to business travelers and they look for ‘renters’ who will spend a month or multiple months instead of 2-5 days like typical tourists. Some hosts do not allow families with small children who could potentially ruin their furniture, or simply will wait for someone to book the home for a longer period. I found that writing a brief story about your reason for visit, what you’re looking for, will help in booking the place you want. We had this happen to us, and I was glad that I wrote to the host, she later told us that they have never had anyone stay for a few days, it was always for months at a time and usually actors or actresses who were abroad filming a movie. Another time we had booked an apartment we really wanted in Arizona and the only reason the host agreed was because our baby was not walking yet. There was a balcony at the apartment and she was worried about kids being able to walk out on their own and possibly fall, but she said our personal message request led her to understand that our baby was little and was under constant watch as he was not walking yet. Look for pictures of that balcony here below, it was one of the most beautiful apartments we’ve stayed in with the most incredible view from the balcony!

Choose a home type. 

Be very specific about your expectations and where you want to stay. Fill out all possible fields with what you want out of the type of home or room you are looking for. We have only used entire home rentals with smoke free environment, some were pet friendly, and all with location as the primary focus. You have to do what works best for your family or your travel lifestyle. You may enjoy renting a room instead of the entire place, just do what fits your budget and preferences.

Ratings are everything!

I 100% rely on rating and reviews when choosing an apartment for our family. I also leave a review in as much detail as I can after using the home in hopes to help someone else make their decision to stay there or not. So please, leave a detailed rating in the end, I will thank you for doing that because chances are, if we travel to that city I will rely on ratings of others to determine where we would like to stay.

Communication.

The way you communicate with the host is key! If they are responsive and answer all your questions well from the beginning, it will most likely mean that they will be very helpful in the entire process and make it easier to stay there.

If you have to wait a while to get a response, even though they are allowed up to 24 hours, just expect that to continue.

My must haves:

  • Safety
  • Location
  • Price, in that order.
  • Availability after our stay, in case we choose to extend our trip.
  • Laundry on site. We pack light, especially since we have to have a stroller with us and having laundry for those emergencies is key when traveling with a baby! Oh, the countless diaper blow outs where I was able to save the outfit!
  • Two bedrooms. Our preference is to have two bedrooms, but we also have found places with one bedroom that is separate from the living space so the baby can nap during the day and allow us to enjoy ourselves without whispers and waking him.
  • Smoke free and pet free. Generally these homes are cleaner!
  • Good cancelation policy.
  • Crib or pack and play. We stayed in places without a crib, and it all worked out well!  If you love the place but they don’t offer a crib, just book it! Comment below for my real life hacks in creating a safe space for a baby to sleep without having to pack extra gear into your luggage!
  • Check in and check out time. Some homes do it just like the hotels, but we like to leave in the afternoon around 1 pm, and have the flexibility for our family. Some places are extremely strict on this.

Reservation fee. 

Even though this fee is listed in the description, sometimes you just miss it and then your debit card can have a huge sum held up for this booking. Just something to look out for when you’re booking a trip! Some places have a high reservation fee that goes towards your booking total cost in the end, some have a very reasonable price to hold the booking.

Neighborhood.

When you are unsure of the neighborhood and don’t trust the photos, go to zillow.com and look at the location on the map where it shows the cost of the homes. Compare that to the other neighborhoods and make your decision that way. It’s not always reliable, but it usually helps to find out if you’re in the hood where you shouldn’t bring your family into. But then again, reviews from others who have stayed there help significantly! You can also look at the map and just google where the mall is, you can deduct from the location of the higher end stores where the best parts of that city are. It’s not always accurate, but it will help when you’re visiting a location you are not familiar with!

Rare gem.

Sometimes, and that’s rare, but sometimes a new listing will come on and you will have to take a leap of faith and stay there even though there aren’t any reviews yet. Someone has to be the first to try it out. If you know the city well and know that you can trust that building or that street, go for it! That home may have been just newly listed on the website and the initial price can be lowered until they get busy and have more visitors and reviews!

Be nice!

The host will review your stay, so be mindful and treat it like it was your home, or like it was better then your home. The host deciding to let you stay in their apartment will be able to see the reviews others left for you!

Leave a gift or flowers.

Pass on some good thoughts to the host, especially if it’s their home and not just a rental property. Buy flowers and keep them in a vase to enjoy for your stay and then add a simple thank you note so that the homeowner can enjoy the flowers too.

Ask for recommendations.

When we stayed in NYC, we had great reccoendations for food, take out places (like chinese are new tradition) and wine shops to visit. Shopping streets/locations, public transportation etc. Not all will list their recommendations, but they will usually help the most with these details to make your stay easier because they live there and do this every day!

Instant Booking

This feature is fantastic! When you are in a hurry and really need to find a place fast, we needed to use this feature to find a place to stay the next day or even the same day, it comes in super handy! You can select it in your preferences to have instant booking which means you will be instantly approved to stay there.

Cancelation Policy. 

Some policies are very strict and do not leave any breathing room for you to make changes to your trip. When choosing to travel via AirBnB you have a lot of flexibility, so it’s always good to check what you’re signing up for. We had to cancel a trip before due to a snow storm and we lost money because they needed 7 days to get only 50% of our money back. If their cancelation policy is outrageous or unreasonable we generally stay away from the home, because then I wonder if the price is just as unreasonable.

 

I hope you enjoyed my full review and some photos! Was it helpful?

Comment below and let me know if you found this info useful and if it helped you for future travels!

Don’t forget to use my code to get $40 off your trip! You can click here to claim it!

XX

L.

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