With the emergence of a “Sharing Economy”, more and more people are using services like Uber and Airbnb to save money. The idea behind Airbnb is that property owners open their home, summer house, sky-high apartment, to welcome in paying guests for a specified period. This can be under many different circumstances - you can opt to share the place with the owner themselves, or also have an entire room, or lot, to yourself.
Keen to use it, but don’t know where to start? Never fear, faithful reader, these five hints and tips might have come just at the right time.
1. Sign up for an account.
This means creating a login, and filling out your profile. This doesn’t mean you have to tell the world what you had for breakfast, but definitely try to flesh it out. Got a cute profile pic? Include that. Good at the piano? Include that. Black belt in jujitsu? Include that. But why go to all this effort?
Because no-one likes lending their property to a serial killer.
2. Look at the properties.
And look at the ratings associated with them. Thankfully, previous renters - referred to as ‘guests’ by Airbnb - are pretty fair and straightforward when it comes to writing feedback. No matter how great the photos may look, or the included facilities are listed as, the ins and outs of the place can be found within the ratings and comments.
Adjusting the search parameters for your dream homestay in can ensure that you will find somewhere that suits your needs. Want to really experience life in the place you’re going to? You can specify here that you would like a private room. Or maybe you like your space? You can also use the filters to ensure you have enough bedrooms and bathrooms - or even an entire lot - to cater to your needs.
Sometimes it’s also a matter of deciding what’s important to you. Prefer to have access to Foxtel, but don’t want to give up close proximity to the CBD? That can sometimes be the difference between choosing one listing over another.
3. Contact your potential host.
Sometimes certain listings can raise more questions than answering them, and that’s okay. This is especially the case for some, which have ‘extras’ that can be purchased as part of the package, and may need clarification.
But what if you’ve already confirmed your booking? Well, this is exactly like that time you texted a stranger and told them you really liked the look of their place, and asked if you could stay there for a few days - and they said they’d be cool with it, just so long as you hand over some dosh for their trouble.
Yeah, socially-speaking this is kind of a new phenomenon.
Manners always goes a long way, so take some time to introduce yourself, and let your host know why you’re aiming to visit the area - you never know what tidbits of local knowledge they may have up their sleeve! Think: you’re aspiring to be professional, but friendly.
This is a pre-paid service, meaning there isn’t any skipping out on the bill for this one. Will that be Visa or Mastercard?
Keep in mind that being referred to Airbnb gets you money off your next trip. Use my code AISLINGP6 next time you’re looking to travel!
5. Your stay.
In all seriousness, the main thing is to stay in contact with the host to let them know when you’re intending to arrive, and also the time you’re seeking to leave. Ensure that you can be contacted through other means as well - phone numbers are incredibly handy, especially if you get lost, or need to contact the host at short notice.
The aim is to ensure that you’re a good tenant. Keep the place clean, don’t damage the place, and - if there are any - try not to disturb the neighbours. The reasoning behind this is that not only do you have the opportunity to give feedback for your stay, but your host also gets to rate you. That rating, and their comments, will be on display for any future potential hosts. So, if you have any future plans for using Airbnb’s service again - be on your best behaviour!