I love AirBnb and the day I learned how to use AirBnb is probably one of my top 5 best days of travelling.
I actually remember hearing about it a few years before even trying it out, but that first time I visited www.AirBnb.com changed the way I would travel forever.
I’ve been using AirBnb happily since early 2013, when I used it to book my first ever apartment stay right in the heart of the old town square in Warsaw and since then I’ve used it dozens of times with barely any hiccups.
Whenever I did run into an issue involving an apartment booking I was able to get support right away and never had to worry about any problems more than a few hours.
Anyways, when it comes to finding amazing apartments through AirBnb abroad I’ve had plenty of luck on staying at truly incredible places.
Today, I want to share some of the tips and techniques that I’ve been using throughout the years that have helped me to avoid any issues and have helped me to spend the night in wonderful apartments.
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How to Find the Best AirBnb Apartment: Helpful Tips and Techniques
Take Advantage of the Filters
One of the first things I do when I’m looking for a place to stay on AirBnb after I’ve added the location and chosen my specific dates is to scroll through the filters and apply the ones that I’m interested in.
There are a wide range of different filters available and there are so many different things that you can choose from that taking advantage of this feature alone is going to give you pretty accurate results when it comes to finding suitable apartments to stay in.
I recommend taking a look at all of the different filters under the room type, options, size, amenities, cancellation policy, property type and host language filter choices.
I’ll let you take a look at them so I don’t have to go through all of them here but the filters that I always click off are:
- Entire apartment
- Wireless Internet
- Washer (If I’m staying for longer than a few days)
- Laptop friendly workspace (Great for digital nomads and anyone else needing to use their laptop to get some work done)
- Free parking on premises (Great if you’ve rented a car or if you’re on a road trip)
Others than these filters I don’t really change anything else, but there are a lot of options available so it’s a good idea to scroll through them and see if there’s anything that you prefer.
There is one thing I recommend and that’s if you’re traveling solo and looking for a room instead of an apartment.
If this is the case for you I recommend selecting the filter for “Lock on Bedroom Door” just for some added privacy and security.
By taking advantage of these filters you can really find an apartment that meets all of your requirements and you hopefully won’t encounter any surprises once you reach your AirBnb.
Set a Price Range
The next thing I do when looking for an apartment is to set a price range.
AirBnb has a nifty little graph/grid display that shows you the average rate and shows how many apartments are available for certain prices.
If you’re visiting somewhere expensive you can expect the much higher and if you’re visiting somewhere affordable then the average is going to be lower.
Of course, I always like to save money where I can so I start by setting the price range to just a little bit below what the average is.
From here I look for suitable apartments and if there’s nothing that meets my requirements or there aren’t too many options available then I’ll slowly increase the price range until I find what I’m looking for.
Whether you’re traveling on a budget or you’re looking for somewhere more luxurious it’s always a good idea to set a specific price range because this will help narrow down your choices and make it easier for you to find a place to stay.
The price range option is available for both nightly and monthly rentals and it’s really helpful if you’re looking for somewhere to stay long-term and you want to stick within a reasonable monthly accommodations budget.
Check Out the Map
After you have applied some filters and set a specific price range you’ll be presented with a list of apartment options available.
What I like to do now is to check out the map and see what’s available in the best locations.
I would recommend looking for places to stay either near the train or bus station or as close to the center of town as possible.
For places like Paris or Prague where there is really good public transportation you don’t have to worry about the location as much but in other cities it’s a good idea to try to find a central location that you can use as a base for exploring.
To zoom in, simply double click on the specific area where you’re interested in staying and the available apartments will refresh and show you everything that’s available in that specific area.
One of the features that I like about the map is that it also shows the price so you’re able to get a better idea of the location and how much your accommodation is going to cost you.
The AirBnb map is very detailed so if you’re not sure where exactly should stay just click around on the map and look for any central or popular areas.
Alternatively, you can just quickly Google search where the best neighborhoods are and then make your way forward from there.
Always Read Reviews
This might sound like a common sense tip but I’ve actually met people before that have stayed in AirBnb apartments without reading the reviews.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to stay somewhere that has reviews and there are plenty of new hosts that would love to host you and earn their first review.
If you’re interested in an apartment in the host doesn’t have any reviews I recommend just asking them about it and also taking a look at their profile to see if it’s properly filled out and to determine whether or not they’re a reliable person.
Otherwise, you’re definitely going to want to read the reviews of anywhere that you’re interested in staying.
The reviews will give you a better idea of what the apartment is like and what you can expect when you arrive and they’ll also tell you if anyone has had a bad experience.
At the top of the reviews you can take a look at a quick summary that uses a star rating system, which covers six different aspects of the listing.
These aspects include:
- Accuracy (of the description)
- Communication (how well the host communicates with guests)
- Cleanliness (how clean the apartment is)
- Location (whether or not the apartment is in an ideal location)
- Check In (how the check in process went)
- Value (whether or not the apartment was worth the price)
Apart from this star review system you can also search the reviews for specific keywords.
I usually like to search for “Internet” and “wifi” to see if anybody has had any complaints about the Internet and if I’m staying somewhere long term I also like to search for “bed” and “desk” to get a better idea of what the furniture is like.
The reviews are going to be able to give you a better idea on what you can expect during your stay so I recommend reading as many reviews as you feel comfortable with before booking somewhere just to help you avoid any problems when you arrive.
If there’s anything you’re worried about or you want to find out more about don’t hesitate to message the host and ask them to clarify.
Browse Through All of the Photos
This is probably another more obvious tip but always make sure to take a look at all the photos that the host has uploaded.
If there’s somewhere that I’m very interested in I like to look at each one carefully and try to get a better idea of what the apartment looks like before I book.
To be honest, if I’m visiting a very popular destination I usually look for apartments that have a wide range of photos available.
If there’s just one or two photos then it doesn’t seem to me that the host cares too much about showing people what they have to offer and I like to look for the hosts that have taken the time to upload a range of detailed photos showcasing the best aspects of their apartment.
Ultimately, it’s really up to you to decide whether or not having more than just a few photos is important to you, but in my experience the best hosts are the ones that put in the most effort into their profile.
Contact More Than One Host
One of the mistakes I made when I first started out booking apartments and something I think it’s quite common is only contacting one host.
Yes, all of the apartments that are available in the search will have availability for the dates you selected, but whether or not the host is actually willing to host you is a different story.
I’ve contacted hosts before, and this has happened many times with places I really like, only to have them say they’ll get back to me.
Well, I never hear back from them again and if I was only relying on just one place that I really liked I would’ve been out of luck when it came time to travel.
Always try to have a few different apartments available that you’re interested in staying at rather than just focusing on one.
While it’s likely that you’ll get lucky with your first choice, you never know what can happen and you definitely want to keep your options open so try to find a handful of different ones that you like and then move forward from there.
If a few hosts get back to you and you feel bad, just be honest and let them know that you found somewhere else to stay rather than ignoring them and keeping them waiting for you to reply.
Book in Advance
Finally, one of the best tips that I take advantage of when it comes to booking the apartments I want is to book well in advance of my travel dates.
This is especially important if you’re traveling during the summer, any holidays or if you’re visiting somewhere where there’s a festival or concert going on.
The sooner that you’re able to book the more apartments that there will be available for you to choose from. If you wait until last minute you might not be able to find anywhere at all or the prices will be inflated and you end up spending more money than you needed to.
If I’m traveling during the off season I like to book about 2 to 3 months in advance and if I’m traveling during the high season then I like to book about 4 to 6 months in advance.