Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Finding 'The One' - How To Pick An Airbnb

It’s like a running joke that Katy and I always pick amazing Airbnb’s when we go abroad, and it’s not untrue - but this isn’t just a magic inkling that I have when it comes to randomly clicking on pages of holiday homes, but rather I have this down to a knack. Finding the perfect Airbnb isn’t luck or guess work, but rather it’s a set of ideas, knowing where to look for information and being willing to compromise, though admittedly that is the one that I personally struggle with most. I’m always on holiday so I will chuck my Airbnb code in the bottom of this post, purely because if you sign up through it and book a house we both get money off - it’s not a sponsored thing, but rather a ‘please help me fund my travelling’ thing. Feel free not to click it though, except where noted at the bottom, all other Airbnb links are just direct links to the site.

I like to start with an idea of what’s most important to me and Katy for the trip. Is there somewhere we particularly want to go to? Somewhere we want to avoid? Do we want to be able to walk into town? Do we want to be close to the airport if we’re getting in late at night? I consider all of these things and then adjust my expectations accordingly. If I want to be in the city centre, near a huge tourist attraction, able to walk just about everywhere - I’m going to pay more than if I stay in a tiny, homely neighbourhood near the airport where I have to get trains or taxis in every day. Once I have both of these ideas formed, if I can’t decide which seems most optimum, I consider the expense of the city centre apartment compared to the cost of travelling each day, and tend to opt for the cheaper option.

Don’t be fooled by people with creative writing degrees writing all about their house - you can fall in love with flats with mould and shit views based on description alone, so ignore that save the list of amenities and head down to the comments. If a host is lying about how close they are to the city, whether they provide coffee on your stay and whether you can walk to your nearest McDonalds, there’s absolutely no doubt that the comments will out them. This isn’t a bad thing, as it goes the other way too - one apartment seem too far out? Check to see how people got around, because maps on Airbnb can be really deceiving, and even if they’re not, people are usually more than quick to let you know if the stay was worth the effort of travelling, and they also typically tell you how they did get around, which gives you a better idea for your own trip. 

One thing I’ve started doing lately is also considering the weather. Whilst a ten minute walk to a metro station then five stops on the train would be absolutely fine in Germany in October, in Portugal in June it meant I sweat my make-up off every single day before we even made it into town. If the weather if going to be unbearably hot, or very very cold (and Katy and I have definitely done both extremes), make sure you tailor your choice to be either very close to the city centre, or almost immediately close when it comes to the public transport that you’re going to need to take. Anything in between height of Summer and height of Winter holidays definitely does allow for more flexibility, so just bear that in mind if you hit the height of humidity, or the first snow fall.

Finally - don’t opt for an Airbnb based on the price it shows you on the search page, because these can hugely vary. Some houses are very cheap for just one night or so a year, and this shows on the search page, or some greatly increase the price if you change your group size from 1 to 2 people. I find it best to put my needs in, but then before falling in love with a place, click on the house itself and check the rundown on the price to check you aren’t paying extortionate prices for cleaning fees, single night fees or any manner of other extra. This can definitely save you a serious amount of money, so don’t get lazy and book without checking (I’ve done it in the past, and you’ll kick yourself when you realise how many beers £40 can buy you in some parts of Europe).

Essentially, Airbnb is a godsend, but it’s also a learned art, and I’ve just passed my tips on to you so hopefully you can make the most of your trip using Airbnb. Like I said, not sponsored (though if you have any collaborations, hit your girl up) - but if you want to use my link to sign up and save us both some money, you can do so here.

Sammy xo.

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