When we travel, we tend to always opt for a hotel stay. But on our recent city break to Lisbon we opted to try out Airbnb. I was a little dubious about using it.
I compared both hotel prices against some of the AirBNB apartments. I was looking for a place that matched my budget. A modern, clean, four star rating in a great location with easy links to the airport and tourist attractions. After thorough comparison, AirBNB was working out to be a cheaper option per night.
Work colleagues reassured me that they don’t consider any other accomodation options but AirBNB. It simply cuts out the middle man so you can get cheaper rates while enjoying self catering accommodation. Plus the host is available 24/7 through the online website or app.
So I decided it was time to be brave and open an AirBNB account and book properly.
So here’s my first hand experience of using AirBNB for the first time.
Creating an account
You can sign up to AirBNB using your Facebook, Google Account or Email account. If you choose to set up your account with an email, you also need to input your first and last name, a password, and your date of birth (which isn’t visible to the public). You have to be over 18 to set up an account.
Like many social media sites, it requires a profile photo and description of yourself. Although these are not necessary to add, it can certainly help the host of your accommodation see what type of person you are. Plus Airbnb profiles without a photograph are more likely to have their bookings declined.
I was surprised that AirBNB requires government issued photo identification such as a driving license or passport to verify who you are. This did reassure me, as the host would need to do the same to list their property. However, hosts will never be able to see the ID that you provide, it is just for AirBNB to verify your identity.
AirBNB excepts bank details or PayPal. I would advise to use PayPal as it’s both safe and secure. If anything should occur, getting a refund should be straight forward. What I noticed about AirBNB, was it allows you to pay the full balance or opt to pay in two stages. First part of the balance on booking the room or place. Then a second final payment three weeks before your due arrival date.
Airbnb super hosts
Once you begin your search for accommodation, you will find a filter of different options. Depending on your destination, you may come across a Superhost or an AirBNB plus. I was advised by a colleague to always opt for a super host, why? These guys have been verified and have been reviewed and rated by others who have stayed there. It’s a great safe option, if like me your new to AirBNB.
AirBNB plus are hosts who have been inspected and viewed by the AirBNB team who has verified the place. Sometimes these places cost more but at least you know there safe.
We opted for an apartment which used smart lock entry. Most places uses lock box or meet host who gives you the key. The smart lock required an app to unlock the apartment door and main door of the building. It seemed a good option.
Communication with the host was via messages through the AirBNB app. My host was welcoming and exact address location was given so I could arrange transport from the airport.
Arrival at accommodation
The taxi we used took us straight to the appartment building. Getting in the apartment was straight forward. The host had left the keys for us to use daily. The apartment looked just like the photos on the website. It was clean and in a fantastic location. The host had even left us a welcome pack with a bottle of red wine, biscuits, jam and Melba toast. When we accidentally set off the house alarm, the host was quick to respond to my message on Airbnb app to enable it to stop.
Yes we would not hesitate to use Airbnb again. My Airbnb experience was great, basically a self catering apartment without the middle man and cheaper too. The accommodation suits all budgets and needs.