by Noel McCarthy, Sterifab Staff Writer
“To travel is to live”, said Hans Christian Anderson. And he was right. And there’s no better way than to become an Airbnb traveler. Airbnb is an exciting (and cost-effective) way to see the world. To visit those cities you’ve only heard about; to explore those countries you’ve only seen on TV. So, for you first-time Airbnb explorers, here are a few tips:
Know exactly what you want. That is, do your research! Do you need an entire home or apartment or is a single room sufficient? And are you willing to share? You can then sort the options on Airbnb to find a place that fits your needs.
Make sure the place you choose includes the services that are important to you, such as air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, or proximity to public transportation. Review the house rules carefully so you don’t run into surprises. Before booking, you can read what the host has written about pets, smoking, check-in time, etc.
Make certain that you read the whole listing, and view all the photos posted. Hint: If the photos are very blurry, or only one or two are displayed, beware. The host may not be showing everything for a reason! Also, keep in mind that professional photos will make the rooms look more spacious and (at times) brighter than they are in reality.
Connect with your host before you book, especially if the listing has no reviews. If the latter is true, do some online research about the host. Also make sure you understand your host’s cancellation policies, especially if you are booking far in advance of your trip. It’s the best way to avoid any extra charges or cancellation fees.
Confirm that your booking fee covers everything! If you don’t you could end up being surprised by extra (AKA hidden) fees, local taxes, VAT (value-added tax), or even charges for parking.
Always book well in advance of your travel and, if you can, try staying with local
hosts who are easy to reach. They can often give you good advice on restaurants, nearby attractions, places-of-interest, and how to navigate the local transportation system, etc.
Line up your arrival time with your host. There’s nothing worse than arriving after a long day’s journey only to find the place empty and the host MIA.
Always bring your own toiletries. Don’t worry about towels, pillowcases, or other bedding. They are usually provided.
Make a point of finding out about room cleaning arrangements and schedules. And consider packing a multipurpose disinfectant with you—something like Sterifab
that can get rid of bacteria, viruses and any tiny little critters. That way, you can disinfect your room when you arrive and sleep a little bit more soundly.
If you have a problem or have an issue with your booking, let the host know immediately. There is nothing to be gained by being shy.
Remember that the easiest and safest way to avoid any problems is to pay for your stay at the Airbnb website.
Finally, leave a review of your stay. Fellow travelers will thank you, and so will your hosts (hopefully).
Noel McCarthy has worked as a writer and editor throughout his career. A former director for Thomson Reuters, Noel also worked for PwC for 17 years. A staff writer for Sterifab
, Noel's expertise in bed bugs is a newfound hobby of sorts. He has enjoyed learning about these pesky little pests, and their entourage of friends including lice, mites and more.