Find your dream holiday pad with Airbnb
Choosing your hotel is one of the most exciting things about booking a holiday. But what if instead of a simple bedroom with a cramped en-suite, you had your run of a beautiful poolside villa or seafront apartment? By connecting you to property owners across the world, Airbnb’s website makes it possible to find incredible pads at a fraction of the cost of top hotels.
15 million guests have used Airbnb to find a home for their travels. Here’s how you can do the same.
You can afford to be picky
Home is where the heart is. But nobody said the home had to be your own. Airbnb features a dizzying selection of properties that are available to rent - over 350,000 in 190 countries. It started as a cheap way for young travellers to rent a sofa or a spare room during their travels. But today you can rent entire properties - whether it’s a spare holiday home, a local family’s second home or a property mogul’s latest purchase. There are some seriously swish places up for grabs.
Is it safe?
It’s natural to feel a bit sceptical and cautious with an unfamiliar platform. Especially when you are dealing with ordinary members of the public, rather than ratified businesses. But there’s no need to worry. Airbnb administrate payments on your behalf. You pay them, they pay the host. The important bit here is that Airbnb will only pay your host 24-hours after you have checked-in. So if your apartment is dirty or not as described, you can get your money back before it’s pocketed by someone trying to pull a fast one. The same applies with cancellations. In the rare event that your booking is cancelled at the last minute, Airbnb will refund you and help you find somewhere new. Their customer service team is available 24/7 - anywhere in the world. (A bit like ours.)
So how do you get started?
1. Set up a profile
Step one is to set up a profile and link it to a social media account, such as Facebook. Airbnb is built on trust. Insisting guests and hosts have verified profiles builds credibility and assurance on both sides. Don’t worry, you don’t need to share your life story. You can be up and running in five minutes.
2. Start exploring!
This is the really fun bit. Like we said at the top, the sheer quantity of properties available on Airbnb means you can be as picky as you like. Select the date you would like to stay and the rough area. You can then refine your search based on things like number of bedrooms as well as amenities. Pool, hot tub, indoor fireplace, wi-fi, you name it.
Alternatively you can search based on proximity to popular attractions. So if you are keen on visiting the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris, the Teatro Lirico in Sardinia or the Museo Nacional Del Prado in Madrid, you can find somewhere nearby in a snap. You can even specify the type of neighbourhood you are looking for - peaceful, cosmopolitan, rural - and let the website do the legwork for you.
It takes you closer to places less travelled by tourists.
Closer to the real parts of your destination.
Away from the high-rise hotels.
If that’s what you want.
3. The ins and outs and everything in between
Found somewhere you like the look of? Give it a click to find out more.
You will get a description of the property, photos, a list of amenities and details of the host’s cancellation policy. You can also learn about the person behind the property. When you are shortlisting your favourites, it’s best to focus on properties with plenty of detailed photos and a thorough property description. You need to be sure about your booking and vague information means taking a bit of a gamble. Something you’re unsure of? From the property description page you can get in touch with the owner to learn more about the property, ask any questions and confirm availability on your requested dates.
4. Dive into the reviews
The property description page will likely feature reviews from previous guests. Read them. They provide impartial insider knowledge that could help you whittle down your options. A good tip is to look for hosts who respond to reviews - good and bad - it shows they care and take the welfare of their guests seriously.
5. Request to book
Settled on your perfect pad? Congratulations! It’s time to book. And it’s as easy as clicking a button. The property owner will then get a notification and decide whether they would like to accept your request. If they do, your card will be charged and your booking will be reserved. Pour yourself a glass of wine and start planning your holiday outfits.
What are you waiting for?
You know what they say about going abroad. Doeth as the locals do. Airbnb makes it easy, taking you off the well-worn tourist routes. Many hosts are extremely forthcoming when it comes to giving you a unique, local insight into your destination too - from restaurant recommendations to secret beaches. That’s one of the reasons is best to exchange a message or two with your host before you book. It establishes a bond - after all, people deal with people.
Obviously, booking with Airbnb means it’s up to you to arrange things like flights and airport transfers. That has to be considered. But Airbnb can be a real money-saver, especially if you are travelling in a small group. Divvy up the cost of a nice villa and you might be surprised at how much extra cash you have for your holiday kitty.
Who’s for sangria?
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