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Airbnb Tips for Guests: Book Your 1st or Next Stay

Choose a vacation rental via Airbnb for your next vacation. I’ve learned a few Airbnb tips for guests and always seek Airbnb options when planning my vacations.

When I don’t book a hotel with, I’ll book an Airbnb.

Ever since I booked and stayed in my 1st Airbnb and saved hundreds by forgoing a regular hotel stay, I became a fan.

If you find yourself scouring the internet for a decent cheap hotel room and can’t find anything within budget, booking an Airbnb may be the answer. I’ve canceled plans because I couldn’t justify the crazy hotel cost. Believe me, there is no need to give up on your vacation plans just yet.

When we spent our vacation in Kauai for a week, I was surprised at the quick reaction we’d receive when we told a few acquaintances we stayed in Princeville.

“Oh, that’s so nice!” They’d say with a moment of enthusiasm before they sadly comment, “We can’t afford to stay there when we go.”

Obviously, if we are staying in Princeville, that means we’re probably staying at one of the high-end swanky resorts on the North Shore, right? Wrong!

We’d turn the conversation all about Airbnb and the experiences we had. I can chat travel all day long, so I have no problem inspiring others with Airbnb tips they can be someone’s guests in the future too.

featured blog image | airbnb tips for guests

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What is Airbnb?

Technically, Airbnb is a short-term rental platform that allows homeowners to rent out their space to travelers. For some, it’s where you can find cheap travel or unique accommodations. For others, Airbnb is a home away from home. Sometimes, Airbnb is a great way to book a room at a boutique hotel.

It’s more than just homeowners sharing a room in their home. There are entire homes, vacation rentals, unique places, and experiences. Small boutique hotels have been added to the mix too. Sometimes you can even find Bed & Breakfast.

Not everyone has been lucky with Airbnb. Some people don’t think it’s worth it. Others don’t see the value. Then there are those that will always prefer all the amenities that come with staying at a hotel, and I get that.

I stick to renting out entire spaces that offer us full privacy. I look for clean, modern spaces that have WiFi, laundry, AC/Heat, and maybe free parking if we are renting a car.

For example, we rented a studio in Kauai which essentially turned out to be a large room with a cathedral ceiling, a balcony, and a newly redone bathroom. It was super clean and it was all we needed. It reminded us of a hotel room. We shared a washer dryer and entry space with the studio next door.

To add to the experience, the studio was located in a vacation resort with access to BBQs, pools, and tennis courts with cliffs behind the property with a lookout into the ocean. It was less than half the price of other hotel resorts nearby. You can see a video of the space on my Kauai Instagram Highlights.

Airbnb tips

Why Book an Airbnb?

1. Because you’re traveling on a budget

My first time booking an Airbnb listing was nerve-wracking. I mean, what if the Airbnb host bailed last minute (I’ve heard stories)? What if I got there and it’s nothing like the photographs? Just like booking a hotel, anything can go wrong but we can’t always think negatively or we’ll get nowhere fast.

We took our chance on a 1 bedroom apartment in Florence, Italy with a sweet location in Santa Croce. Not only did the apartment turn out to be beautiful and comfortable, we felt right at home for the week.

The Airbnb host was fantastic and she even provided a local cellphone to contact her if anything. We paid only $100 a night plus a small cleaning fee for the week in Florence.

Let me also clarify, there is nothing wrong with treating yourself to a luxury resort stay. I love them. It’s an option to shop for as well. You may come across a great deal and there is no better feeling than taking a luxury vacation for half price or less. Am I right?

For Kauai, I noticed the hotels are a bit steep, especially if you’re looking to stay in a prime location like Princeville. We were on a budget. I also just couldn’t justify spending that amount of money on a hotel room that we would hardly spend our time in. We planned to rent a car and explore as much of the island as possible. That’s not how we roll.

That’s when I started to look at our Airbnb options and realized we can rent an entire condo for less than hotel rates. Sold! I just needed to find the right listing for us.

2. Space for you and your family

Another popular reason is space. Families opt for Airbnb’s because they can get a home where they can spread out for a fraction of the price of or at least comparable to a hotel, but with a lot more room. They can invite the grandparents and perhaps another family to join. Maybe even room for your family pet.

3. A Home away from home

In addition to space, that home-away-from-home level of comfort is much needed for some to even leave their day-to-day space. They don’t mind traveling but they want to feel like they are well, at home.

Sometimes that means having a full kitchen to prepare some meals. Separate rooms for everyone. Large backyards to BBQ in with a pool, lake, or beach.

4. Location. Location. Location.

When we planned our 3 day trip to Girona, Spain, all the big hotels were right outside the city walls. I wanted to be in the old town of Girona, in the middle of it all.

I found the nicest loft right down the street from Girona, Cathedral. Everything was within walking distance. The host was so accommodating and communicative.

Sometimes we have to look at alternatives outside of hotels to be where we want to be.

It’s also nice to live like a local, even if it’s just for a few days.

5. Unique Accomodations

Did you know that you can stay and be a guest at some of the most unique accommodations in the world on Airbnb? There are planes, treehouses, tiny houses, a bubble dome… the list goes on.

Travel Resources to Help You Book Your Next Trip

Here are the travel resources we use to research and book our travel. Start planning!

Sign-Up for Airbnb

Don’t wait. Sign up now! Get your profile ready, so when you do find the perfect booking, you are not wasting time getting verified. Within that time, you could lose the booking. I tell you this from experience.

Also, if you use my link below you get $40 off your first booking. You never know when Airbnb will take away this referral coupon, sign-up now.

Sign up to Airbnb now and take $40 off your first booking.

Complete your profile

Completing your profile is so important. Especially as a newbie with no prior reviews.

Yes, you will be reviewed as a guest. Don’t worry, you will have your chance to review your stay as well.

In the meantime…

  • Make sure to complete your profile and let the host know a little about yourself.
  • Connect your Facebook account.
  • Add your government id. This is Airbnb’s way of verifying that you are a real person. I highly suggest doing this ahead of time.

You must be thinking by now, “It’s so much easier just to book a hotel room.” Yeah, probably, but a little bit of patience pays off in the end. You will only have to complete your profile once unless they ask for any additional info in the future.

15 Airbnb Tips for Guests

1. Compare with hotel rates in the area

Go to enter the location and dates for hotel rates in the area. Then look at the Airbnb rentals. You may be surprised.

2. An entire place, private room, hotel room, or shared room?

Choose to filter out your preference.

Airbnb Tip - I like to select entire home

3. Cleaning, admin, and any other additional fees

Check these. Add them to the total. Sometimes I find a great rate per night rate, but once I add the cleaning and admin fees, I realize it’s not really that great of a deal. In every city, the service fees vary. You will want to go back and compare it with hotel rates and amenities. What are you getting with an Airbnb vs the hotel?

4. Amenities

Look over the amenities. Does it include free WiFi? How about parking? Air conditioning? A kitchen? What is important to you? Everyone differs. I like a kitchen, but we eat out so much it’s not that important.

5. What is the cancellation policy?

Flexible, moderate, or strict. I personally stay away from strict cancellation policies, unless I plan to cover it with travel insurance. Check the fine print.

6. Don’t be afraid to contact the owner

Contact them directly with any questions before you decide to book or even after.

7. Negotiate

You can negotiate rates for a long-term rental of a week or more. Never hurts to try.

8. Save listings

As you search, save the listings you may be interested in. Create a folder for the city you plan to visit. This makes it easier to return and book when you’re ready. Don’t be surprised if it’s no longer available for your dates when you return. Some of these bookings move quickly.

9. What are the rules?

Yes, there are different rules for each home. It’s usually pretty straightforward. For example, no parties allowed, and no noise after 10 PM. Don’t leave dishes unwashed. That sort of thing. If anything on the list seems farfetched, move on to the next listing.

10. Always read the reviews for each Airbnb rental

Before I book anything, I read through ALL the reviews. If the listing does not have a review, then it is not an option. It’s nothing I don’t already do on Tripadvisor with hotels.

11. Look at Superhost or Airbnb Plus listings

This is probably not fair to newbie hosts, but I try to book rooms that are hosted by Superhost because they are known for providing top experiences for their guests. If the listing you are interested in is an Airbnb Plus, this means it’s a high-quality listing and Airbnb- not a must but if it may help you feel better about booking it.

12. If your stay is less than 3 nights, it may not be worth it

After adding admin and cleaning fees, the total cost will probably exceed the cost of a hotel room. I recommend looking at hotels instead. Unless you’re looking into renting a cheap room with shared space, then that’s a different story.

13. Include a personal message with your booking

When you send in your booking request, it doesn’t hurt to say something as to why you think their listing will be great for your vacation. Hosts are looking for guests

14. Wait for a final confirmation email

After you book a listing, unless it’s an ‘instant booking’, it’s not automatic confirmation that the booking is yours. The host will first check your profile and decide to confirm the reservation. Then, they will send you a final confirmation email.

15. Be a guest… a well-mannered houseguest

Make yourself at home, but also treat the property with respect. Treat the home like you would expect someone staying in your home.

A Downside of Airbnb

I’m sure others have plenty of reasons why they don’t like Airbnb and you can tell me all about it in the comments. The one downside, at least for me, is not having a daily cleaning service.

I know serious first-world problems.

It is a small luxury I miss when staying in an Airbnb.

When you’re on vacation, I’m sure that the last thing you want to do is make your bed every day. It’s nice when you’re on vacation to have someone come in and tidy a bit. I do try to keep things nice and I’m not one to make a mess. It’s the price I pay to save some money so I can travel longer or do other things that I wouldn’t have been able to afford otherwise.

Airbnb Should Be An Option When Planning a Vacation

I have loved our experiences with Airbnb and has been the right choice for us for some stays. While Airbnb is not ideal for every trip, it is a great option to research when you’re planning your next trip.

Depending on the type of traveler you are, Airbnb may not be for you at all. If you are adamant about having amenities that hotels offer on a daily basis like daily cleaning or room service, just stick to your favorite type of accommodation.

Sometimes we think a destination is completely outside of our budget because franchised accommodations are overly expensive. Finding the right Airbnb listing can make those dream vacations a reality. Always give Airbnb a quick look.

Have you used Airbnb? Do these Airbnb tips for guests help you? What are your top tips or concerns as an Airbnb guest?

Don’t forget to sign up for Airbnb and get $40 off your first booking.

Don’t forget to share the love on Pinterest:

Life Travel Soul

Thursday 10th of October 2019

I’ve never tried booking through Airbnb. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Great tips! I’ll be checking out this option on our future travels. ?✈️❤️

Kathy | Tasty Itinerary

Wednesday 16th of October 2019

Airbnb can be a great option. Not always, but we have found some great stays and saved money while traveling. It all depends on your needs. You know how to reach me if you need any other help with booking. Can't wait to hear about your first experience!

Lauren Elena

Sunday 23rd of June 2019

I love this! Great tips! I will definitely use your tips if I ever use Airbnb. Everyone uses it but still, I’ve heard a few horror stories but that comes along with everything in life. My family and I are going to Airbnb soon so hopefully that experience will make me more comfortable about doing it on my own one day. I think the one thing I might miss besides getting the place cleaned up, is a continental breakfast. ???‍♀️ But, I love to save money!


Tuesday 25th of June 2019

I hope you guys have a great experience with the Airbnb your family rented. Can't wait to hear all about it.

I do miss a continental breakfast sometimes. And sometimes, it forces me to check out local breakfast fare.

Thanks for reading!


Friday 21st of June 2019

This is a great and informative post about Airbnb. As you know, we didn't use Airbnb for the first time until last year. Crazy, right?! However, our friends love it for traveling abroad and have used it for years. One couple stayed right on the canals of Venice for super cheap. They loved the prime location for a steal.

Our first experience wasn't amazing, but I'm not turned off; you can have issues even at the classiest or most highly recommended hotels. For us, we had this outrageous $100 cleaning fee for a one night stay with a binder full of instructions saying that we had to take out the trash, do the laundry for everything we used, and clean everything...for that one night. The cleaning fee was the same price as the room...and it was overpriced for the location. Why I was a paying an additional $100? We didn't want to fight it so we just let it go. However, the actual place was super cute and clean. The neighborhood was extra nice too. The host just happened to be a jerk. I do like that we never had to meet him too; we just got the key in a lock box and checked in when we wanted too.

I definitely prefer booking a whole private place to myself, and that is a great bonus of Airbnb. I like that if you are staying somewhere long-term, you can save a lot of money for a great place where you can cook and do your own thing. As a solo traveler, it's great too because there is a little more accountability for you if the host is around.

I'll be checking in with this post when I book again. Thanks for all the honest tips.


Friday 21st of June 2019

Ah, a place on the canals sounds so nice! Jealous.

I like to mix it up when we travel. When we were in Spain, we only stayed 3 nights out of our trip at an Airbnb. While we were a week in Kauai and didn't have any issues, I told hubby that the next time I wouldn't mind taking off after the 4th or 5th night to a nice resort and enjoy that luxury for a couple of nights. It's a nice way to experience it all.

Now, I would have totally tried to negotiate that $100 fee cause it was only 1 night. It makes no sense. How big was this house? There are always rules but I always try to read them before booking because sometimes I think they are ridiculous. I don't mind tidying up before I leave because I do the same for my own cleaning lady. If you're there for a week or more, at some point you do have to clean for yourself unless you pay extra to have their cleaning service come in. This is why I think staying at an Airbnb between 3-5 days is probably the best.

If you ever need help with it let me know!