Get $20 Towards Your First Stay
New AirBnb users can get $20 USD towards their first stay by signing up using this special link, and making a qualified booking (a booking of $75 or more). Yes, you get a little something, and we get a little something. Win-win!
How to Use AirBnb
AirBnB has revolutionized the travel industry by offering guests a chance to stay with locals, or at least in the place of the locals that are currently renting it out. Choosing AirBnb generally puts you in different neighborhoods than you might otherwise stay in when booking traditional hostels or hotels, and it allows you to have your own space– a luxury that is often foregone for cheaper travel.
Apartments, and spare rooms in apartments, tend to be the most popular options, but AirBnB also has some unique properties, including boats, teepees, campers and treehouses all over the world. Staying in someone’s home through AirBnb can also cut down on your costs, especially if you’re in one destination for more than a week and plan to do some cooking instead of eating out for every meal.
Why Stay with AirBnB?
There are a handful of apartment and home rental companies on the market, but AirBnB has the largest variety, with properties in nearly every country. They also have their own system of reviews and references, so your friends can vouch for you, and visitors to a property can leave comments about the hosts and their stay.
Set Up a Profile
Before you can book a stay on AirBnB, you’ll need to set up your profile so that your hosts can learn more about you before letting you into their homes. Here you’ll provide your email address and profile picture, and you’ll need to verify your account via SMS (so do this before you leave for your travels). You can also describe yourself, including your favorite destinations, likes and dislikes.
Add things to make you memorable to hosts! You can connect your social media accounts and your blog (check out our guide on how to start your travel blog) so that your potential host can find out more about you, but it goes without saying that linking to countless pictures of you partying is probably not the best idea.
Your potential host has the ability to approve or deny your booking request, so it’s best to show him/her your true, relatable and trustworthy self. Remember, they are letting you into their home after all!
Once you’ve created an AirBnB account, it’s time to find a place to stay. Enter your dates, location and number of guests.
Next, decide whether you’d rather have the whole place or just a room. If you’re traveling solo, you might want to stick to someone’s room, because they can make local recommendations, but if you’re in a group, the whole place is a better option.
Look closely at the profile. It may say it sleeps 4, but one may be a mattress on the floor or a pull out couch. How many bathrooms does it have? Is it near public transportation? Check the amenities it includes, such as a kitchen, WiFi and parking.
When you see one that catches your eye, read the reviews on your selected accommodation. See what past guests have said. If you don’t see any reviews or if guests have negative things to say, you might want to look elsewhere.
Also check your accommodation on the map feature to see where it is in relation to the rest of the city. You want to make sure that it’s either close to the places you want to see or close to public transportation.
Once you’ve picked a place and it’s available for your stay, it’s time to book it. It’s also nice to send your host a message to let them know you’re excited about visiting.
Now you need to sort out specifics like check-in time and how you’ll get the key. If you’re traveling overseas, you may not have a local cell phone you can call your host with, so it’s important to have a contingency plan, like the key left with a neighbor or doorman.
It may be necessary to bring a few things in case your host doesn’t have them. The home should have essential kitchen items and bedding, but if you want wine, bring an opener (or check with the host first if there’s one available). It’s also a good idea to bring something to lock up your valuables (just in case!) and a gift for your host if you’ll be spending time with them in their home.
Do you best to arrive within your intended timeframe, and once you do, kick back, relax, and enjoy your stay!
We’ve had some great experiences by choosing AirBnb over traditional hostels and hotels, but we want to hear from you.
Have you used AirBnb yet? What sort of places have you stayed in using the service?
Join the Her Packing List email community!
Get our latest packing lists, gear deals, and travel news by email.