What to Look For When Booking an AirBnb

Most people know what AirBnb is, but a lot have yet to book their first stay on the site that has revolutionized the travel industry. For those of you who aren’t aware, AirBnb allows guests to book rooms (or houses) to stay in from actual people with real, non-hotel-related jobs. It’s a short term, rent-a-room service that allows for cheap stays and a unique look into the daily lives of the place you’re visiting. It’s definitely worth a try if you’re planning on going somewhere on a budget – just follow these five rules to make your first trip go smoothly!


  1. Think about what you need from your stay. If money is your top concern and you don’t mind sharing a room with a stranger, look for roomshare. If you want a whole house to yourself, double check to make sure the places you’re looking at won’t be shared by your host. Know what you want and have a list of priorities to look for.
  2. Check out reviews. All the reviews on AirBnb are provided from people who stayed at the property, so they’re pretty trustworthy. Also look for information about how your host approaches their position. Are they friendly or hands off? Do they invite their guests along to things or give them space? And which do you want?
  3. Reach out to the host before sending a booking. It may be standard practice to just make a decision about a hotel and try to book it, but this is someone’s home. Reach out to them with a little message, give them a chance to have an impression of you, and then decide after that interaction (however small!) if you want to try and book their place.
  4. Ask questions and build a rapport with your host. This builds off #3, but it bears repeating. Tell the host why you want to visit the city, if you’ll have guests, ask how big the bed is, etc… Giving your host an idea of what you want is a good way of helping them figure out if their home is a good fit for you.
  5. Relax! Get to the property you booked and take it easy. You’re on vacation, most likely, so you shouldn’t be worried or stressed at all. Most hosts have been doing this for a while and know that you’re probably jet lagged and turned around, and will allow you to get re-situated. They just want you to have a good time at their place, and a good time on your vacation!