Airbnb: how to find the best accommodation?

Airbnb has become a must for booking your accommodation when traveling. Here’s how to find the best accommodation!

When I travel, depending on what I want to discover and how long I want to stay, I sometimes stay in a hotel, with a local, or rent an entire apartment.

I choose Airbnb when I want to get privileged contact with a local or to feel at home shopping and cooking for myself.

Be warned that Airbnb offers in tourist areas are becoming increasingly professionalized, with accommodations completely dedicated to seasonal rentals. A far cry from the original spirit of Airbnb!

Airbnb has become so important that some cities, such as Paris, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, are trying to limit its expansion, which is taking place at the expense of traditional rentals.

That said, you’ll find it hard to do without Airbnb, and here are 9 tips to make the most of it like a pro and find the best accommodations.

Of course this article isn’t for you if you’re already a regular Airbnb user.

If so, let me know in the comments how you use Airbnb! What tips and advice would you give to those just starting with Airbnb?

Tip 1: Choose the right location!

Your Airbnb must be well located. Easy to reach either on foot, by public transport, or by car, depending on your situation. Close to the places you want to visit, so you don’t waste time on transfers. With a neighborhood, you like: in trendy or quiet places, for example.

Define your search area. It could be the part of town you want to visit, the seaside or the mountains. Airbnb lets you use a map and adapt the investigation as you move it around. Depending on the density of supply, you’ll need to zoom in more or less.

Be aware that Airbnb only gives you an approximate location of the accommodation. The exact address is only given after booking. However, a few clues can sometimes help you find it. This could be the name of the property or indications in the photos such as a store sign or a very distinctive view.

In my experience, it’s better to have accommodation that’s a little less comfortable, but very well located, than the opposite. For example, I’d rather have a modest studio in Amsterdam’s canal district than a superb loft in Amstelveen that requires me to take the tram into the city center. Or, in Martinique, I’d choose a small rustic bungalow on the beach rather than a beautiful villa in a residential area!

Airbnb in Amsterdam

Tip 2: Make the most of Airbnb’s sorting functions

Airbnb lets you narrow down the offer to what you’re aiming for. Feel free to use it by checking off what’s important to you. So, are you looking for a bed and breakfast or a place of your own?

Do you want a house or an apartment? What equipment do you need? How many rooms do you need? What price range are you willing to spend, etc.?

The risk, however, is that you use too many criteria! Don’t hesitate to remove them if you don’t find what you’re looking for.. Owners are not always professionals, and their descriptions are sometimes incomplete. If you over-sort, you’ll miss out on interesting proposals.

Airbnb invites you to indicate the dates of your stay to have the vacant suggestions with prices. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, do a search without a date. You’ll have access to the entire Airbnb offer. Once you have selected a property, click on “Select your dates” to see the available dates. You can then decide whether it’s worth it to change your stay by a few days.

Touchétie card

Tip 3: Look at the photos, but be cautious too!

When I read an ad, the first thing I do is look at the photos. If I don’t get a good first impression, I’ll abandon it right away.

On the other hand, if the images make me want to go further, I’ll read the description and the comments of previous visitors. I then return the photos with a critical eye.

I try to visualize the apartment as if I were walking through it.

Are there any photos missing from the description (for example, no photo of the kitchen, even though it’s mentioned in the description)?

Are the shots honest? With the right lens, it’s easy to create the impression of width in a narrow room. The swimming pool photographed at ground level can give the impression of being huge!

I don’t dwell on photos of details (a sculpture, a bouquet of flowers…) or of places of tourist interest in the region, as is all too often the case in ads, and which contribute nothing to my decision.

If I have the slightest doubt about the coherence between the photos, the description, and the comments, I don’t select the ad.

Pay particular attention to bedding. Wouldn’t the double bed mentioned in the ad be more of a sofa bed in the photos?

If you’re planning to dine in, you should also check whether this is possible.

Do you have a real table and chairs? Or will you have to eat on the sofa with the plates on your lap? A kitchen with lots of cupboards doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have all the utensils you need to prepare your meals!

If the accommodation appeals to you, list all the questions you’d like to ask the host or hostess.

Touchétie card

Tip 4: Read the entire ad! All of it !

It seems obvious. Yet all too often, we limit ourselves to photos. Airbnb is less standardized than a hotel, so you need to read the description carefully. Don’t take anything for granted, such as the presence of wifi.

Comments are very important to me. But you have to know how to read between the lines. Indeed, most of them are rather neutral, likewelcoming host, accommodation as expected.

If a comment comes up often, it means that it’s a strong point or a focus of the accommodation.

If there are one or two very negative reviews, I look to see what the host’s response was. I’m suspicious that the person who wrote it has made very few comments on other homes. There are grumblers everywhere.

I always click on the advertiser’s presentation link. This shows whether it’s a professional offering a large number of apartments, or a private individual.

I’m a little more wary of accommodations that have little or no feedback. It’s not prohibitive, but I’d ask the potential host more questions.

Touchétie card

Tip 5: “Superhost”: a good start for your search!

Airbnb has a star rating system that I find uninteresting. It is based on 6 categories (cleanliness, communication, arrival, precision, location, quality-price) that are too vague. As a result, scores are rarely below 4 out of 5, and it’s often difficult to know exactly why.

On the other hand,you can refer to the “Superhost” status that Airbnb gives to the best accommodations.

This means that the host is experienced (he has welcomed at least 10 travelers over a year), he always responds to requests, he doesn’t cancel bookings that have already been confirmed, and travelers have left numerous ratings, at least 80% of them 5 stars. Now that’s a confidence-booster!

Touchétie card

Tip 6: It’s important to talk to your host!

The Airbnb experience is above all a “fit” between host and guest. That’s why I never press the “book” button without first talking to the owner. I’d like him to clarify any points that are unclear in the ad.

Responsiveness, tone of voice, and accuracy of response are good indicators of who the host really is. If you feel comfortable, chances are you’ll be happy with your future accommodation.

But be careful not to be too inquisitive!.You must also inspire trust in the host. That’s why I give him some information about myself and why I’m interested in his offer.

Avoid asking questions whose answers are already in the ad. This will waste the host’s time and get you nowhere.

Touchétie card

Tip 7: Don’t look for the lowest price!

Many go to Airbnb hoping for a cheaper cost than a hotel. This is often true, but if you’re looking for quality accommodation, you’ve got to pay the price.

Don’t kid yourself, a nice Airbnb in the historic center of Rome on a long weekend in May will be just as expensive as a hotel room! Even private individuals have intuitively integrated yield management!

Be sure to look at the total price. To the price of the night, you must add Airbnb’s service charges and sometimes the contribution to the cleaning fee.

Be very careful about cancellation conditions. Airbnb explains it all on its website. If the host has chosen inflexible terms, you will be committed and it will be difficult to get a refund if you cancel.

The whole point of Airbnb is to give you more personal, often more spacious, accommodation. It’s just a different experience from a hotel, not necessarily cheaper.

Touchétie card

Tip 8: Watch out for your e-reputation!

At the end of your stay, Airbnb will invite you to leave a comment and an appreciation of your stay. Keep in mind that for future requests, hosts will look at what you’ve written. They’ll also read what your hosts have written about you. If you come across as unsympathetic or negative, you’ll be turned down for accommodation.

If you have any grievances, please let us know, preferably by private message. Your comment will remain public for a long time, and its impact will be significant for your web host, even if the problem you’ve reported is a one-off. Unless you’re dealing with someone who’s completely dishonest, the penalty is often disproportionate. Be genuine, but kind.

Touchétie card

Tip 9: What to do if things go wrong on the spot?

The press regularly reports on travelers who have been ripped off. The reality is that this happens very rarely. Even less so if you follow the recommendations given in this article.

The biggest risk you’ll take is an untimely and late cancellation by the accommodation provider. In this case, contact Airbnb customer service immediately. They’re here to help. The same applies if the accommodation does not match the description you have read.

Touchétie card

Now you’re an Airbnb pro!

Now you’re ready to choose your next Airbnb. The best accommodations are yours!

These recommendations also apply to other sites like Abritel, which offer the same type of accommodation.

If you’re LGBT, refer to Misterbnb! It’s a site that works on the same principle as Airbnb, with gay or gay-friendly hosts.

The article has been illustrated with photos of our best Airbnb accommodations


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *