Airbnb has become a market leader when booking online accommodation. And though it seems this company has made leaps and bounds maintaining their impeccable track record, they are not without fault. Any traveller who books with a third-party platform should do their research, allowing them to be savvy when looking and booking for accommodation for their overseas adventures.
Read all the reviews
Most companies will have a mixture of good and bad reviews; with honest remarks coming across the board. It’s a good idea to read all the reviews on the listing you are choosing. If you find there are none, ask the owner or go on Airbnb’s many forums and simply pose the question – ‘are there any reviews on this property?’ If it is a brand-new listing then don’t expect many reviews. The good thing about Airbnb is only the renters who have actually booked accommodation can leave a review so you know it will be legitimate.
No Mi Casa Su Casa... remember your Airbnb is not a hotel/motel
An Airbnb accommodation is not a hotel or motel by any means. No housekeeping, no room service and definitely no conventional reception, if any. Even if the owner tells you their home is an investment property, you must treat it like their own private property. Just as Uber drivers use their own vehicle to drive customers, the same thing goes for Airbnb hosts. Remember that you are walking into someone’s personal space and should operate as such; especially if you are renting a room or wing while the host is currently living in the space and renting out rooms.
Communicate with the host before you arrive
Another good idea is to communicate with the host of the property before arriving. This can include a simple; ‘hello, I’m excited to stay at your property,” or, “looking forward to staying. Is there anything I need to remember?” Some form of communication would instil trust and confirm that the host is legitimate and you haven’t been ‘ghost listed’ (when hosts put up a home, they have no intention of selling but still want to drum up hype or excitement for their profile).
Take out travel insurance to cover you for lost deposits
Holidays can be expensive! Especially when accommodation and flight costs are needed upfront. The best thing about travel insurance is having financial cover for the unexpected – including your lost deposits of any tours or activities booked. Taking out travel insurance in advance can save you thousands of dollars on medical and pre-paid expenses you were not expecting.
Check the cancellation policy
Airbnb has six levels of their cancellation policies which renters can choose from when it comes to booking a property. Each listing will clearly state which cancellation policy is applicable to the property. Renters are able to review and cancel their bookings by simply clicking ‘Cancel’ under their reservation. Check what cancellation policy your particular rental property has. You can then choose accordingly so you are fully aware of what the conditions to cancellation are. Every property will have different cancellation specifications so be sure to check so you can save hundreds of dollars!
Research the location
Knowing where the location of your rental property can make it easier for yourself on arrival. With the resourcefulness that is Google Maps and Google Street View you can actually see where a landmark or property is. It’s a good idea to check where the nearest transportation system is along with hospital and emergency centres like police and the Australian consulate. When a listing says ‘it’s close to the city centre’ be sure to check what they mean… a 15-minute walk could be a 45-minute drive.
Having simple things like this covered can make your trip a breeze, where you only need to worry about what is your next sight-seeing adventure will be.
Macy booked an Airbnb months before her trip to New York. When she arrived to the property it was not what was listed on the site – in fact, the property wasn’t even there! Mortified and disappointed Macy called Fast Cover after speaking with Airbnb and informed them of the dodgy listing. Macy was able to put in a claim^ on her Comprehensive policy for her accommodation expenses that she could not recover in any other way.
^Exclusions, limits and sub-limits may apply. Claims are assessed on a case by case basis. See our PDS for details.