Planning a trip soon? If you’re looking to stay in an Airbnb, there are certain mistakes you’ll want to avoid so your trip is as amazing as it can be. From cleaning fees tacked on because of vague checkout instructions to showing up in a part of town you really don’t want to be, there’s lots of things that can go wrong when renting an Airbnb if you don’t know these tips and tricks! Check out these 9 mistakes to avoid when renting an Airbnb:
Avoid These 9 Mistakes When Renting an Airbnb
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Mistake #1: Not Looking at Recent Reviews When Renting an Airbnb
When looking for Airbnbs, you might come across a listing that has gorgeous photos and a 4.5-star rating–perfect! Booked! But then you get there and it’s a whole other story. While the place might’ve been stellar five years ago, the furniture has now been worn down by countless other guests, the host doesn’t really care anymore, and the bathroom isn’t as clean as it should be.
Reading recent reviews will give you the best idea of what the place is like now. If you notice a significant drop in ratings in the past few months, it’s definitely a red flag.
Also, don’t just look at the star rating, but read through the actual reviews. Some guests will give 5 stars only to say that the linens were dirty, the host was rude, but the location was great–AKA not worth it!
One other thing to keep in mind when reading reviews: cancellation notices. It’ll read something like “This host cancelled this reservation 45 days before arrival. This is an automated posting.” If you see a bunch of these or it’s the most recent review, run for the hills!
Mistake #2: Not Carefully Checking the Airbnb's Location
For safety and privacy reasons, Airbnb does not let you see the address of the listing until you’ve booked or paid the deposit. However, there is a handy map that gives you the general area where the Airbnb is. Always, always, check the location!
If you’re unfamiliar with the city you’re going to be staying in, read up on the unsafe neighborhoods and cross-check it with your location to avoid high-crime areas.
Apart from safety, you’ll also want to make sure you’re staying in a location that’s close to things you’re planning on doing. If you’re booking an outdoor adventure trip, you probably don’t want to stay in a city center. If you want to take advantage of public transportation and city amenities, you won’t want to be stuck in the suburbs.
Once you’ve booked the place, you can see the address, so double check the location. Many Airbnbs now have free cancellations up to a certain point, so it’s worth it to cancel a reservation if the location is not safe or convenient.
Mistake #3: Expecting the Same Amenities in an Airbnb You Get in a Hotel
There’s some standard amenities in hotels that you just cannot expect when booking an Airbnb.
One of the most easily forgotten ones? Toiletries! Most hotels provide shampoo, conditioner, and body soap at the very least, while it’s more varied when it comes to Airbnbs. I’ve stayed at places with full bottles of every toiletry you can imagine, but I’ve also stayed at places that don’t provide anything.
Other amenities you’d expect from a hotel that you can’t expect from an Airbnb are on-site parking, free WiFi, 24-hour reception, free towels, free breakfast, and lots of wall outlets.
It’s better to come prepared with essentials because you just can’t guarantee what the Airbnb will provide. I’ve made a list of the essential items to bring when staying in an Airbnb below, so check it out!
Mistake #4: Expecting the Same Service You Get in a Hotel from your Airbnb
At a hotel, you have a whole staff of people whose jobs center around making your experience better and safer. At an Airbnb, you usually have one or two hosts who do this for additional income. You can’t expect to get the same service from the two.
Airbnb hosts probably won’t respond as quickly as you would expect from a hotel front desk. And while Airbnb hosts can be great sources for local recommendations, they are not a concierge available 24/7. So make your trip easier on everyone by setting realistic expectations for yourself for the service you’ll get from your hosts beforehand.
Mistake #5: Not Paying Attention to What’s In the Photos
And more importantly, what’s not in the photos. If the listing says there are 3 beds, but there’s only pictures of 2, there’s a good chance the third is a couch. Or if the bathroom isn’t pictured, it’s probably pretty gross.
Airbnb listings are essentially advertisements for the property, right? They’re going to show the most amazing parts of the house and maybe skip over the less-than-aesthetic spots. It’s important to keep track of what the host is showing you and what they’re leaving out.
Make sure there are pictures of all the beds they list, the shower, the toilet, and the kitchen. If they list an amenity and don’t have a picture of it (like outdoor space or a pool), don’t expect anything grand when you arrive.
Mistake #6: Not Checking the Full List of Amenities an an Airbnb (Especially in the Kitchen)
Airbnbs are great for longer term stays or budget-minded travelers because they usually come with a kitchen to cook some meals in. But if you’ve stayed in one before, you probably know the horror of walking into the kitchen to discover a single rusty pan and no silverware. Not exactly a chef’s kitchen…
Luckily, Airbnb has updated their list of amenities, so now hosts can check off that they provide certain appliances like refrigerators and microwaves, dishes and silverware, and cooking basics like oil and salt and pepper. Make sure you do your due diligence and look through the detailed list of amenities by clicking on the “show all __ amenities” button!
Another important amenity to check out if you’re going to be driving is the parking and facilities list. You can find out if there’s free parking on the property, street, or garage. If none of those are listed, expect to have to pay for parking or hunt for a spot on the street.
Mistake #7: Not Bringing the Basics When Renting an Airbnb
Okay, I mentioned that not every Airbnb provides the amenities you’d expect from a hotel. It goes beyond personal care items like toiletries, though.
While hotels have to be built to a certain code, Airbnbs do not have the same regulations in most places. This means important safety features like smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors can be missing! While hosts can list if they provide those, it’s always better to be prepared. Here’s a list of the basics you might consider bringing with you to an Airbnb:
- a roll of toilet paper
- soap (and dish soap if you have a kitchen)
- at least one day’s worth of toiletries
- smoke alarm
- carbon monoxide detector
- door stopper
- coffee and/or tea
- a spice kit if you’re planning on cooking
- basic first aid kit
- power adapter if you’re traveling internationally
Mistake #8: Not Reviewing the House Rules Beforehand... and Consequently Breaking Them
At most Airbnbs, you’re going to be staying in someone’s home, so it makes sense that they’ll set some rules for your visit.
Some common rules are:
- No smoking
- No parties or events
- No pets
- No additional guests
- Quiet hours
- Age restrictions
While the reason behind some of these is pretty obvious (like no smoking), others are a bit more confusing. Another common one is an age requirement not allowing children. This is to protect the host from any liability if the property is not safe for a child.
Every Airbnb host will have a different set of rules, though, so make sure you review each one before you arrive… or it could cost you!
Most rules you’ll come across are to protect the property and host, but also to protect you. It’s really important to follow the rules. If you do break one, you can be charged a hefty fee or be banned from Airbnb completely. It’s really not worth it!
Mistake #9: Not Reading the Checkout Instructions When Renting an Airbnb
A source of many internet memes and rants, Airbnb checkout instructions can be extensive and intensive, but they’re important to follow.
Some require you to clean the dishes you used and strip the beds. Others expect a full clean. You can find the full checkout instructions within the Airbnb app in your booking information. If any are unclear, make sure to clarify them with the host before you leave!
It’s best to know about the checkout instructions at the start of your trip, so you can follow them as you go. There’s nothing worse than having to check out in 30 minutes only to find out that you have to clean the entire apartment AND pack up!
That’s it on my list of mistakes to avoid when renting an Airbnb. If you’re looking to book an Airbnb on your next adventure, check out my lists of some of the best Airbnbs I’ve found across Texas!
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