In an age where there’s an app for just about every aspect of everyday life, travel has certainly seen a lot of changes. There are many ways to find the cheapest hotel possible or those hidden gems, but one of the most interesting and ground-breaking trends if the vacation rentals. Much to the chagrin of hotel companies, home owners are putting their places up for vacationers to rent out. It’s often a financially competitive option that gives you a more independent experience in your travels that hotels don’t offer. However, if you’ve never used Airbnb (one of the more popular platforms) it can be a daunting thing as these privately-owned residences don’t have security of an established hotel. So if you are interested in trying out this experience, here are some tips on how to do it safely and get the most out of it.
One of the biggest risks for a service like this is being surprised by what you get. You can secure a rental that, on paper, sounds ideal, but when you arrive it’s far from what you had in mind. To avoid that problem, make your searches as specific as possible. Search for the type of rental you want (i.e. apartment, condo, home), search for a specific area, for the size, the number of beds. Any way you can narrow things down to your ideal rental the less room for surprises.
Look for photos.
Photos are key to finding the right rental. Many of the people who put up their homes for rent do include photos, but there are occasionally some that leave them out. It’s too risky to accept a place based on the description alone and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For the most part, photos don’t lie. So stick to the rentals you can see beforehand and don’t be shy to request more photos before committing.
While photos are a big help in finding the right place, reviews are even more important. Reviews let you know everything that the photos don’t show. They can let you know if the renter is fair or if they try to keep your damage deposit. They let you known if it’s a quiet neighbourhood or if there are noisy neighbours. Sometimes reviews can be biased but for the most part they give you an honest look at the rentals.
Communicate with the owner.
It can feel strange renting a place from someone you’ve never met. To ease your mind about the whole thing, keep an open line of communication with the renter. Introduce yourself before you confirm your stay, ask questions leading up to the vacation and reach out to them just before to reconfirm any details. It can help make the whole thing a lot less weird.
Don’t be put off by rules and damage deposits.
For some of the properties available to rent on Airbnb, they set out a list of rules for their home and possibly ask for a damage deposit beforehand. Some things like this can turn people off of the experience but it really shouldn’t. Obviously, some exceptions apply but these precautions taken by the renter should help make you feel more comfortable renting from someone like this. They are taking a risk with you as well and if you’re both being safe about it, it will likely turn out better for all parties.
Be respectful but comfortable.
While these rentals can be a fun, comfy and cheap alternative to a hotel, you do have to remember that it is not a hotel. Yes, you’re on vacation but you’re staying in someone else’s home. You need to keep that in mind and be respectful of their home. But on the same subject, while it can feel odd staying in someone else’s home, be comfortable. You are paying for your time there, you’re not a guest. Come and go as you please and enjoy yourself!