My hubby and I were first introduced to Airbnb, when we were looking for an affordable accommodation in Amsterdam. Our friend suggested her friend who was offering bed and breakfast in Amsterdam. We booked a room and ended up in a duplex apartment with a host couple about our age. The experience was so amazing that we now use Airbnb in almost all our travels.
What is Airbnb?
Airbnb is an online market place, where people can rent out different accommodations (sofas, rooms, apartments, houses, villas, bungalows, etc.). Everything started in 2008 when first accommodations in the USA were offered and just 9 years later Airbnb is present all across the world. Nowadays, the platform is reachable almost everywhere and the app is translated into 26 different languages.
How does Airbnb work?
Believe it or not, but booking an accommodation through Airbnb is very simple. You can search for it on your computer, tab or download Airbnb app on your smartphone, create your profile and you are ready to go. Our preferred way is using the Airbnb app, as we can use it everywhere with a free WI-FI.
How to start using Airbnb?
When you create your Airbnb account, upload your profile photo and write a few sentences about yourself. This way the potential hosts get to know more about you and your interests, having higher possibility to get your reservation confirmed. Renting an Airbnb accommodation you can either book a place immediately, but some hosts require inquiry for reservation before booking. Having your profile nicely done, you are ready for your first Airbnb booking.
Searching and booking Airbnb accommodation
Type where and when you wish to travel and start exploring all Airbnb offers. You can also use filters and state the highest price of accommodation, number of guests, having a private room or complete house / apartment. There are numerous possibilities. We have used Airbnb on our travels around Europe and Asia – from the best known places to towns we have never heard of before. We also used Airbnb for our 3 months stay in a large 4 bedroom house in a small French town in the Northern part of France.
Before booking the Airbnb accommodation?
We met many travelers, sceptical about using Airbnb service. Some had bad experience (no answer on the booking requests or even not getting accommodation, despite it was already paid for). So, how to avoid bad experience on Airbnb? We use a basic formula and choose only accommodations with lots of good reviews and hosts who have a Superhost title. We have booked all our Airbnb accommodations like this and so far we have not had any problems or bad experience with the booking nor accommodation.
Who is Airbnb Superhost?
This status belongs only to the best Airbnb hosts, who go beyond basic accommodation offers. The Superhosts also offer additional services (for example in Kuala Lumpur, where there is plenty of Airbnb offers, additional services like airport transfer for an extra fee is offered, which is still much cheaper than using taxi or express train. Some also offer portable routers, one or two day trips etc.). The Superhosts have lots of additional information, great reviews – they are simply better than the rest.
Good and bad things about Airbnb
As mentioned before, you have to pay the complete amount for accommodation when booking, meaning long term renting can be extremely costly (for example: we needed to pay 1.700 EUR/month for our house rental in Northern France). Before you make a reservation, make sure to check what the terms of cancellation are. Some hosts offer complete booking refund, if you cancel the reservation 7 days before the booking date, some keep 50 % of the fee. The practice is that you will not be able to avoid losing a few percentages of the booking fee, as Airbnb takes some for its booking fee service – these amounts are dependent on the length and price of your accommodation.
Almost all of the hosts offer »just« accommodation, without any meals. But on the other hand most of the Airbnb places are equipped with kitchen, where you can prepare your own meal – we used a kitchen a lot to minimalize the costs of living in France, where eating out is expensive, while on the other hand, we did not need a kitchen when travelling around Asia, as eating out is cheaper than cooking the food yourself.
A really good feature of Airbnb is that the host gets the payment after you start using the accommodation. Before that, the money is safely stored at Airbnb. If you encounter any problems with your Airbnb accommodation (the accommodation is not suitable to description, the reservation is cancelled without prior warning), you can report this to Airbnb in 24 hours after check-in with your host. The reclaim form is simple and offers step-by-step instructions.
When you end your stay, do not forget to review your accommodation. By reviewing you help other travellers in getting the best possible Airbnb experience. Your review will not be published before your host writes a review about you.
If you are booking Airbnb accommodation for a longer stay, you get some additional discounts (one week around – 5%, one month around – 20%).
If I still did not convince you to use Airbnb with all the above, let me just tell you, that we have been using Airbnb accommodations on almost all our travels. We have used it in Holland, France, Seychelles, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Using the Airbnb accommodation feels like home far away from home. It is also a great way to connect with locals, getting first hand tips on what to do, where to go and all the other useful information, which no travel guide can give you.
We also enjoy sharing home with our hosts, as in this case, help is there for us 24 hours a day. Last but not least, because of Airbnb and our hosts Ana and Patrick, we spent amazing New Year celebration in Amsterdam, far away from tourist crowds, indulging ourselves in local dinner and the best possible views over the magnificent Amsterdam’s fireworks.
If Sanela managed to convince you to start using Airbnb accommodations create your profile and sign in here – you will get a free coupon for 30 EUR when booking your first stay.
About the author:
|Sanela Vodovnik Knez is a wife, passionate traveller and scuba diving junkie. After 11 years of being a teacher, she left her steady job in October 2016 to follow her dream – travelling and scuba diving. Her long time wish of switching warm winter jackets to flip-flops and T-shirts became a reality. She is now living her dreams. She loves Asia and its people, but not so much the pollution there. Sanela finds it important to teach the locals in Asia how their attitude towards plastic can turn the world into a better and greener place.|