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Airbnb 101

We love Airbnb! Alhamdulillah, thank God we have very nice experiences staying in Airbnb accommodation 5 times already. Several friends asked us about the process of booking it and more of the DOs and DONTs, hence we are now posting about it.

Our very first Airbnb experience was in 2014. We thought about Airbnb-ing since a couple of years before but were still unsure about it. The thought of not getting the right/nice host haunted us. Nevertheless, the need came to us when we were browsing for accommodation in New York City. In July 2014, we bought good bargain tickets to NYC, flying in October the same year. Afterwards, we looked for hotel deals on our favorite site, Booking.com, but the rates were just outrageous! It’s three months away and yet options were limited. So finally we decided to browse Airbnb and found one apartment that was reasonably priced, strategically located within a 5-minute-walk from the nearest Metro station in a very nice neighborhood called Financial District or FiDi. The apartment was super comfy, located just across Ground Zero (where the Twin Towers were once located), and there’s a 24/7 doorman on the ground-floor-lobby. The host was super nice, she even let us left our luggage there when we needed to go to Boston & Washington for a short trip.

After NYC, our second attempt on booking an Airbnb accommodation was Washington but we failed to do it because there’s a glitch on the payment part. We got an error message and yet our credit card had already been charged 4 times. Fortunately the Airbnb team was able to resolve the issue in less than 24 hours. We decided to book a hotel instead since we felt a bit jittery on booking via Airbnb again then.

One year forward, we went for our Spain trip; this time we were ready for another Airbnb experience. We browsed all the available options in Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla and Cordoba and we decided to book the ones in Barcelona, yes we stayed in two different accommodations there. Both apartments were super nice with large windows and cool bathrooms! Strangely, both located in the same building near one of the chicest street in Barcelona, namely Passeig de Gracia, and hosted by the same person. Hhhmm… an interesting business we got here, maybe we could do the same set-up in Jakarta. Hahaha.. it sounds like a good idea for another post. ;D Why didn’t we use Airbnb in other cities? Well Sevilla and Cordoba are small cities and the people in Spain rarely speak in English so we chose not to get ahead of ourselves, we went for a safer option, booking a hotel. While in Madrid, there weren’t many good Airbnb choices near Madrid’s main station (since we needed to go to the airport using the train), so we chose a hotel instead.

The fourth time we went for Airbnb was in St. Petersburg last year. The location was within walking distance to the down town area. Eventhough the pathway to get inside the building was a bit dodgy but the apartment itself was super chic and the host speaks good English. Meanwhile in Moscow, there were no good Airbnb choices near the Kremlin area so we decided to book a hotel instead.

The latest Airbnb stay was recently when we went to Milan for our fashion-week experience. The place was located within a 10-minute-walk from the Duomo, the surrounding streets felt a bit quiet and alarming however the building itself was great and the apartment unit was soo nice, it got amazing kitchen in such small space. Well almost every single Airbnb we got in the past have amazing kitchen appliances. We got another lady-host and she was lovely, the same hospitality we experienced with the lady-host in NYC.

All in all, we have summed up our Airbnb experiences in below 101 guide so you can book yourself a chic Airbnb place!

 

 

DO Airbnb, when :

  • The city you’re going to is a big or capital city with many English-speaking locals
  • The hotel rates during your trip dates are considered a bit more expensive than the average for that particular season or month, simply go to Booking.com for comparison, we consider above $200 per night is a no-go

Several things we recommend when booking through Airbnb :

  • For Room Type options, pick only Entire Home
  • For Amenities, tick Wireless Internet and Shampoo/Essentials; for us, these two are the most important things to have, but if you need things like Breakfast, etc you can just tick them up however it will shorten your list
  • For Facilities, sometimes we tick Elevator in Building and Free Parking (if we go by car), but this depends on your preference
  • You can limit the rates within your budget, so you can focus browsing on what you want
  • When seeing one particular booking, read carefully on the Check In/Out time whether it suits your schedule, House Rules & Minimum Stay, and also Price column whether you can add extra people freely or there’s an additional service fee or how’s the cancellation term; we recommend that you are 100% sure to book it before you do the payment because the process of canceling it is a bit tedious
  • Read all the latest 6 months reviews to have a clearer idea about the space and the host; we recommend not to book an Airbnb listing with less than 10 reviews
  • If you still feel unsure about something on the details, you can just message/email the host, a good host would reply in less than 24 hours, if not we recommend you to leave this listing and find another
  • Pictures are worth a thousand words, yes this is so true, go with the listing that has many pictures describing the place, the neighborhood, the space, its facilities and amenities
  • Location, location, location! Always search the ones that are located near a train station or subway/bus/tram stops or main attractions

Few things to note while staying in an Airbnb listing:

  • Write down the complete address of the place, how to get there, even signages or known places that can help you spot that particular building/unit, plus the host’s number, specifically their WhatsApp number
  • Keep the place clean and tidy when you leave the place because the host can also review you just like Uber
  • Keep your voice and sound on a normal pitch so that neighbors feel okay about strangers being around
  • Leave a review on the listing, you’ll help both the host and potential bookers

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