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How to Use Airbnb: A First Timer’s Guide

October 29 2018

From the basic workings to pro tips, here’s everything you need to know

Airbnb – You’ve either wanted to try it for a while or have heard about it a couple hundred times. If you have a dozen questions and are a little clueless about the workings of this god-sent gift to wander-lusting souls, in this first timer’s guide to Airbnb, we’ve got you covered.

How Airbnb Works

Airbnb is a boon to travellers and locals alike. It’s an online community that connects travellers with regular people who put up their home, or a room in their home, as a listing for renting out.

 As a frequent traveller, hotel lodging becomes a barrier to budget travelling and hostels get inconvenient and uncomfortable really quickly. Airbnb is a crossover between a hotel and a hostel, combining the comfort of a hotel and the affordability of a hostel.

The Airbnb app and website lets you directly book the property of your choice and handles all the payments, communication as well as any dispute resolution between you and the host.

Lodging Options

  • Shared rooms

    Shared rooms are the cheapest Airbnb option and also the closest to a hostel accommodation. You’ll be sharing a single room with multiple people.

  • Private rooms

    You can rent out an entire room in the house of the host, where they or other guests may be living. The bathroom and kitchen area will be shared.

  • Whole homes
  • This option works the best when you’re traveling with your whole family or a large group of friends. It’s like a temporary home replete with all the facilities, as well as the assurance of complete privacy.

Why Airbnb?

  • Value for money

    You can have an entire apartment to yourself for a price of a hotel room or less! The privacy, space and added perks make Airbnb a value for money choice.

  • The local experience

    Airbnb accommodations are nestled between city hubs, suburban neighbourhoods, along beaches and famous attractions. When you’re staying among locals, you’ll feel like a local. You’ll also get an opportunity to interact with them and experience life as a local when you go out for grocery trips or a quick run at the neighbourhood park.

  • Home-like amenities

    On an average, a traveller spends anywhere between ₹500 to ₹5000 on food daily, depending on the country and choice of dining. You can save a ton of money on meals by cooking your own food in your private kitchen and use other amenities like the washer for clothes and have a home away from home.

  • Enhanced flexibility
  • Airbnb is way more flexible than hotels and hostels in terms of their check-in and check-out timings as well as other restrictions. The best part is that you can have an honest conversation about your requirements with the host and request them to accommodate them.

Is it Safe?

Safety concerns are valid when it comes to any aspect of travel and first-time Aribnb users are often worried about how safe this option really is. Since you’ll be staying in the homes of everyday people, they’re just as concerned about you being a threat to their safety and home as you are of them being a threat to you.

The review system of Airbnb is robust and researching is key in ensuring you have a good, safe and happy stay. Following are a few pro tips to help you experience such a stay with Airbnb.

Pro Tip #1 Read the Reviews Thoroughly

This is the most pivotal step that can completely make or break your Airbnb experience. You have to ensure that the claims made by the host in their listing are true and look out for any bad experiences any of the guests may have had. This will enable you to judge whether or not it’s a safe, hygienic and guest friendly accommodation.

Pro Tip #2 Review the Pictures Carefully

If there are only two pictures, if the pictures are blurry, or if all the pictures are from one angle thereby concealing other angles, it’s a red flag. Pictures are worth a lot of truth, they show you what sugar-coated words cannot.

Most of the best Airbnb listings have multiple good-quality pictures with full views of all the rooms including the bathroom. Such places are the only ones you should consider.

Pro Tip #3 Use Google Street View

When you’re travelling to a new city, it’s essential that you get a feel of the neighbourhood you’re going to be staying in. You need to check if there are restaurants, shops, a hospital, and a bus or train station close to the Airbnb accommodation. Use Google Street View to scope the neighbourhood thoroughly.

Pro Tip #4 Communicate with the Host

You must never book before speaking with the host directly. You should ask them anything you’re unsure about. Communicating with them beforehand will give you a fair idea of how organized, helpful and friendly they are.

In addition to the above pro-tips, another measure to ensure a convenient and stress-free travel is by getting a travel insurance policy. It will cover the financial loss of any travel inconvenience you face, from loss of baggage to delayed flights.

Okay, we know you’re really excited to try Airbnb for yourself now. But there’s one last thing you need to know – you have to be a good guest and leave a detailed review for other users of the Airbnb accommodation you use.

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