As we’ve mentioned before, we’re huge fans of Airbnb.
When you first sign up on the Airbnb site though, it can be intimidating. They ask for your personal information. They ask for you to create a password. They even ask you to create a profile, asking even more about you. It’s perhaps more detail than you would normally give to a hotel.
Because you are staying in someone’s home. Or at the very least, their investment property. We’re not talking big hotel chains or businesses renting rooms. These are their personal properties so they want to know who they are renting out too.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of crazy parties happening in Airbnb’s. They are trying their best to avoid that, so the clearer you are on your profile, the easier it is to use Airbnb.
So, how do you sign up?
Let me walk you through the steps:
First, sign up to their website. When you click on the link, we’ll provide you with a credit to use for your first stay. A bonus for you, before you even start! Can’t beat that, right? I’ve used the Airbnb credits before and they work seamlessly. So, go ahead, please use the credit.
Once you click on the link, it takes you to a sign-up page.
You can sign up using your Facebook or Google profile, but I prefer using the email option for privacy reasons.
Enter your email, your name, a password (at least 8 characters) and your birthday (to ensure you’re over 18). Then click the sign-up button.
Woohoo! You’re in!
When you click ‘Get Started’, you can add a photo to your profile. I’ve found this helps hosts know the face to look for, when you do arrive.
Add your phone number, which helps immensely when travelling to keep in touch with the host. On one occasion, we had an issue with an accommodation and since we had [the Airbnb app] on our phones, we could easily communicate with our host.
Confirm your email address. Check your email and confirm that the email you signed up with. There are legal reasons the host site must do this when capturing your email address.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be sent to a web page that welcomes you.
Complete your profile. This allows your hosts to know who you are and who they are renting to. Feel free to keep it short and sweet. If you need help, check out our profile.
Provide some form of Government ID (usually a photo of your driver’s license). I didn’t add this initially. Of all the stays, I’ve only found one host, a newbie, ask for this. When you travel through Europe, hotels ask for a copy of your passport. To me, this is no different than asking for that.
Now you’re ready to search.
In the top left of the site, you’ll see a search option. Underneath you can add your travel dates, number of guests, what type of room (here’s where you select private room or entire home), your price range to stay within, whether you want to ‘instant book’ (see below) and lastly, what additional filters do would like to search on.
For example, do you require internet? Is there a certain area you’d like to stay, especially if booking in a large city? I like to get specific here because it filters out a lot of places that just won’t fit. Why spend time looking at accommodations that won’t suit your needs?
Before we go any further, like me explain ‘Instant book’.
Instant book is like booking a hotel room. When you book, the booking instantly goes through and is confirmed. This is an option more seasoned hosts use. Otherwise, you make a reservation and the host reviews your profile and then decides whether they’d like to offer the room/home to you.
Creating a wish list:
As you find places you like, click on the heart in the top right of the accommodation. This will give you a pop up letting you create a wish list for places that look good to you.
For example, say you’re planning a trip to Europe and want to find accommodation in three different cities. Clicking the heart creates an easy bookmark for areas to stay that look interesting to you in each city, giving you the opportunity to drill into details as your search narrows toward your ideal stay.
If you’re researching a trip with other people, this also allows you to send them directly to the wish list so they can explore the options you’ve found.
To learn more about the accommodation, click into them. Click through the ‘read more’ options for more expansive information.
Read the reviews. This is probably just as important as the price and location. The reviews will generally give you a more realistic view of what you’re getting.
At times, I’ve been enamoured with a place based on photos or what’s on offer and I’m ready to hit the book button. But, after reading the reviews, I decided against it. I’ve found that the key to a great experience is that the host must be great at communication. There are occasions where you may never see the host. They’ll provide you ways to get into the property without even meeting them (I like these stays the best, quite honestly). But if something goes wrong, there must be a way of reaching the host and fast.
When you have decided on your accommodation, select book. You won’t be charged immediately, that comes on a following screen.
But you may wonder why you’re being charged for a cleaning fee and a service fee.
Most hosts use a cleaning service between guests. This off sets their costs. It’s common for hosts to charge but some do not. For the ones who don’t, I tend to go above and beyond before vacating. I always leave the property tidy, but if a vacuum cleaner is available, I’ll give it a quick run around the place. I always strip the bed then leave the linens with the towels in a central place like the laundry or bathroom too. That’s just me though.
The service fee is what Airbnb charges to use their service for your stay. It’s the price of using Airbnb. If you cancel the accommodation, this fee is non-refundable.
If you have questions about the accommodation, you can contact the host BEFORE you book. As I’ve said before, most hosts will get back to you quickly, generally within a few hours, give or take time zones. On one, I reached out to the host prior to our stay to ask how bad the traffic noise might be. This particular property also had a limited water supply, so I asked how open they were to us doing laundry. Not only were they quick to respond but they were accommodating and reassuring about all of the concerns we asked about. It ended up being one of the most comfortable stays we’ve had to date.
So, take a chance. See how you like AirBnb. If you find your experience positive – and hopefully even amazing like many of our stays have been – you can share your own links with friends/family which in turn, returns credits of your own. The more people who sign up, the more credit you get. We’ve stayed in some places for free because of their credit system! Now tell me, what hotels offer that service?
We’d like to hear about your experience, so leave a comment and let us know where you stayed. Would you recommend it? What did you like – or love – about it?
We love hearing about new places. Maybe it’s a place we can add to our own RTW travels.
Note: All of the photos are of places we’ve stayed with Airbnb.