Lessons Learned from using Airbnb on my Vacation

Airbnb - Amsterdam Livingroom

Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.
– Robert Frost

I’ve been traveling the last several weeks through Europe and have been using Airbnb for some of my lodging choices. It’s been hit or miss, but luckily more hits than misses. I really do like how the site works in connecting travelers with hosts around the world, it made it super easy to get a nice spot on the cheap around the world. I could have done hostels but when you have to pay $30/bed for two people, that’s $60 per night already. If I could find private space under $60, I’m golden and we were always able to. Here are some of the tips I’d give to future folks using Airbnb.

Rent from folks with one listing only on Airbnb

Airbnb - Amsterdam Bedroom

The reason why I’d only rent from folks with one listing is because more likely than not, it’s their own space of your renting a private rooms from them. With that in mind, people who are giving their space up are more likely to have a more cleanly space since that’s where going to be sleeping after you’re gone. I’ve done both renting out a private room and the whole apartment — both had a cozy charm about them.

If you do rent from someone who has more than one listing, you’re going to have to ask yourself if the host is doing this as a business or is it actually their space. The experience I had with someone like this only provided us the minimum in accommodations and it didn’t have any charm or character since the host didn’t even live there (or even in the building). I wouldn’t do that again.

Have open communication with your host

You’re going to a home, apartment, or condo — you’re not going to a hotel or even a hostel with a front desk to checkin to. You’re not going to have room service or anything like that, so I suggest you do a lot of your communication on the front end.

  1. Connect with your host well before your arrival to discuss checkin process (i.e. getting there, key exchange, etc.)
  2. Get the phone numbers and emails needed — sometimes the host isn’t the one you communicate with.
  3. Make sure you get wifi code (if available)
  4. Make sure you get the ground rules for the space
  5. Try and get some tips and recommendations from the host since many of them are local

Communication is going to be key on the front end because it’s going to be so much harder to figure all this out during the vacation, plus you don’t want to worry about that when you’re trying to figure out what sites to see. Remember there isn’t any 24/7 desk you can call like at a hotel.

Utilize everything in the space you’re in

Airbnb - Brookyln

When you’re renting your space from folks on Airbnb, a lot of them are going to have some amenities you’d have to sometimes pay extra for at a hotel. For instance, while I was at Amsterdam — we had a washer we could have used to wash a lot of our clothes, which was awesome. The host even provided us with detergent to use. Plus, since these places is where they actually live, you’ll have access to their kitchen which includes the fridge and stove. These were super useful during our trip to help save money on food and drinks.

Definitely remember to take a look at the amenities on Airbnb because some of them are great to have. I know we didn’t even consider places that didn’t have wifi — so that’s definitely something to consider while you’re using the service.

So let’s recap:

Now the question is, would I do Airbnb again? Yes, I definitely would with the above things in mind. There’s definitely a different take to traveling when you get greeted by someone locally and if you’re able to get connected with people who welcome folks with open arms — even better. Several of the places we stayed at greeted us with beers and food upon arrival. It’s the little things that’ll make me use it again.