exploring: part one – five simple tips for traveling with airbnb

Fresh off a sweet 9 day road trip, I am still in vacation mode.

Near the final days of our Tennessee and Kentucky adventures, my boyfriend Kyle and I were at dinner at a delicious Lebanese restaurant called Epices in Nashville (go there) and we were talking about our favorite AirBnB and VRBO’s since we started dating 6 years ago and becoming inseparable travel buddies.  Along the way we have found built some great habits that help ensure our lodging makes us feel right at home.

Our adventures have taken us all over North America. We’ve been to Austin, Denver, Seattle, San Fran, Savannah, Montreal and Quebec. The list goes on and on. It could be a quick trip to The City to see some music (that’s NYC for those of you who don’t live so close that you naturally refer to New York as “The City”) or a weekend up to Boston for friends and good food.

Stay tuned for part two of this post with recommendations of our favorite spots!


Tips on selecting an AirBnB:

#1 Always book the entire place.  You know how you hear horror stories about travelers using home sharing sites?  Well I have found most of them start with sharing a room with the host and having some awkward experiences.  Now I know some people show share rooms as hosts, or guests, and love it.  Personally, I am an entire house kinda gal.  Every booking I make is for the entire space. I like my privacy. If you are a traveler on a short budget, sharing might be more appropriate.


#2 Check out the facilities.  As soon as that box is checked for entire space, my next step is to find pictures of the kitchen and bathroom.  You can tell a lot about a space by how the kitchen and bathroom are maintained.  Remember, usually you don’t see pics of an entire place, you see what people want you to see to book the apartment.  As someone who enjoys cooking and taking nice showers/baths, I always am mindful of the condition of appliances, cooking utensils and how nice the bathroom looks in photos.


#3 Communicate with your hosts. You never know when an emergency could occur and you need to speak with your host. You could be locked out, have a plumbing accident, or maybe the wifi isn’t working.  Whatever it is, don’t wait until an emergency to be in touch with your host. I try to say hello once the reservation is accepted, a day or two beforehand, after check in and once I leave.  Communication is key.  Having regular normal communication will let you feel out the host before something comes up.  You often will already know if they are in town, or not. This helps put into perspective response time if something does happen and you don’t immediately hear back at 3 am when the host’s free roaming bunny is breaking all the cabinets in the kitchen (yes this actually happened to us in Brooklyn [of course it was Brooklyn]).


#4 Read the reviews.  You are probably thinking “Duh, Crystal.” but I will tell you the one time I booked a place and forgot to read reviews in advance I absolutely regretted it.  Reviews will tell you about loud neighbors, barking dogs across the street, great restaurants to try out nearby, and how well your host has responded to past issues.  I addition to never booking a shared space, my second rule is to never book a place that has zero reviews.  I would rather someone else is the first to try.


#5 Look for Superhosts.  Don’t know what that is?  A superhost has a badge next to their post and name which shows you that this house is responsive, books the place at least 10x per year, rarely cancels, and over 80% of the reviews are 5 stars.  This is an actual filter in Airbnb and while I don’t go so far as to actually filter like I did in #1 and #4, I do pay close attention to when a Superhost has an opening.


I’d love to hear your favorite booking tips as well.  Share them below in the comments!

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