Our condo was going through a huge plumbing renovation, and instead of having to be home and deal with the noise, and strict water off/on schedule, a lot of residents opted to find alternative accommodations during the project. We decided to seize the opportunity to turn it into a staycation, and decided to rent a small beach house from Airbnb.
Some of you may be veterans when it comes to using Airbnb for your travel accommodations, but for those that may be new to the idea you’ve come to the right place!
Follow along as I share our personal experience and some tips on how you can use Airbnb to find your perfect vacation stay.
Before I begin, I just want to state that I’m not paid nor endorsed by Airbnb, but simply sharing our experience with using the site. I advise that you do your own research before you decide to book.
Some Of The Reasons We Love To Airbnb
- Gives you the ability to experience the area like a local
- Being able to cook like you would at home
- Makes you feel a little at home
- Gives you the ability to find the perfect space for what you’re looking for
- You get more for your money when it comes to amenities
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is an online marketplace and hospitality service, enabling people to lease or rent short-term lodging including vacation rentals, apartment rentals, home-stays, hostels beds, or hotel rooms. Airbnb does not own these properties but acts as a mere broker and receives percentages service fees (commissions) from both guests and hosts with every booking.
How Do I Get Started?
First, you’ll want to set up a profile. Setting up an account is very easy! Go to Airbnb.com and set up your new profile. For an easier process, make a profile with your Facebook account. (Don’t worry, Facebook will not share or post any information without your permission). Fill out as much information as you can. Think about it as Match.com, but for travelers. You want to match yourself with the perfect location for your trip.
Find Your Perfect Location
Once you have a city or place in mind, investigate the neighborhoods. Each Airbnb listing shows exactly where they are on Google Maps. Hotels and resorts are centrally located, but most Airbnb places are going to be in residential areas.
Decide the Space You Want
Airbnb allows people to offer up a room or even their whole house/apartment to fellow travelers like you and me. But don’t let just renting a whole house/apartment be the limit to your imagination. You can find unique accommodations like; campervans, windmills, boats, treehouses, yachts, penthouses…. Airbnb has so many places to fit anyone’s budget. We decided on a cute beach cottage across the street from Punaluu Beach.
Look At The Ratings and Comments
It’s so important to read the comments and ratings of the host(s) or space you’re looking to rent. Keep in mind that some places might be newly listed so they may not have any comments or star ratings yet. Also, remember this is someone else’s home or living space, so everyone’s opinion about how they liked the space is going to be different.
Booking Your Stay
Once you have found the perfect place to stay, make the request with your credit-card or PayPal. The host(s) have 24 hours to accept or decline your request.
Tip: Always carefully check the price before you request a booking. After you add in service fees and possible cleaning fee it may increase your final price.
Requesting a booking doesn’t guarantee that you’ll automatically get the place. You’ll have to write a short introduction introducing yourself to your host(s) and letting them know who you’ll be traveling with and how you plan on using the space during your stay.
Tip: Short on time? Look for properties with a lightning bolt icon. This icon shows that you can book it instantly, and don’t have to wait for an approval by the host(s).
Wait For A Reply From the Host(s)
*Note: Money will not be withdrawn from your credit card or PayPal until the host(s) has accepted your booking.
Once you’ve been accepted, you’ll get an email notification for your convenience. You’ll want to keep in touch with your host(s) periodically until you’re ready to check in to make sure you are both updated on any last-minute issues that may arise.
It’s important to get answers to all your questions before your trip, so you’re not left with any last-minute surprises upon arrival. In our case, we had to bring our dog Oliver with us, and it was perfectly fine with our hosts if he remained off their furniture.
Most host(s) meet you in person when you check in but sometimes the property will have a code lock or key to get in. You can find all details of your stay under the ‘Your Trips’ tap in your account. We were given special instructions from our host as to how to obtain our key.
What If I Encounter A Problem?
If by any chance, you need to cancel your booking, your refund amount will be determined by your host(s) cancellation policy. This depends on how close you are to the date of the trip. If you need to cancel last-minute you can contact *Airbnb’s customer support to request a full refund.
The customer support team of Airbnb is available 24/7 to answer your questions.
After Your Stay
Give your host(s) an honest review about your experience. You want other people to get a better feel for how they may enjoy the space for their trip.
Last Minute Things To Know
Hosts can make their own house rules, and some won’t fit your travel plans like traveling with pets. Make sure you read the house rules carefully.
Make sure to look at photos of the property to make sure it fits the description.
Remember, when you book with Airbnb, there is no room service, or cleaning service. It’s your responsibility to keep the place clean and treat it with respect. Though the house we rented had all the amenities that one would find at a hotel, it is still a safe bet to bring any amenities that you might need, like towels, and toiletries.
Some host(s) will offer up plenty of recreational items for you to enjoy during your stay. Especially if you are in high tourist area. Our host(s) had kayaks, snorkel gear, and many beach items for us to enjoy.
Remember to have fun and enjoy your visit!
Thank you for reading, and hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions or have any suggestions to add for our fellow travelers, please feel free to leave a comment.