A Guide to Using Airbnb for Your Travel Lodging

What is it?

Airbnb was launched in 2008 and has changed the way people find travel lodgings. Instead of booking a room in a hotel, travelers can use the Airbnb website or mobile app to rent rooms and homes from Airbnb “hosts.” These hosts are everyday people who have an extra room in their house or are interested in renting out their entire home. Depending on your budget and lodging preference, you can choose to reserve either a single room in a house, an entire floor of a home, or an entire home.

How is it different from staying in a hotel?

The great thing about Airbnb is it allows you to break away from the conventional hotel and stay in a place with a little more character and uniqueness. For example, you could rent a converted water tower in the middle of forested Carmel Valley, California, a luxury treehouse in Florence, Italy, a historic castle in Northern England, or a private beach villa in Brazil. But if staying in a water tower isn’t your cup of tea, don’t worry! There are plenty of more traditional “homey” lodgings that can be rented as well. Access to a full kitchen, additional bathrooms and bedrooms, and a laundry room are just a few of the benefits to renting through Airbnb. However, Airbnb guests do not have the luxury of room service or daily room cleaning and must commit to being fairly tidy and respectful of another person’s home. If you’re a rock star looking to throw a party and trash a room, maybe it’s best to stick with your hotel booking.

How does it work?

Using Airbnb to reserve your vacation lodging is simple. Just create a free account on the Airbnb website (airbnb.com) and then enter your lodging criteria into the website or mobile app search bar. Then, have fun perusing all of your options! Be sure to read the descriptions of each lodging carefully; good hosts will include a variety of photos, along with plenty of information about amenities and house rules. Airbnb includes a map of the area where the home is located, and we recommend that you do some research on an area before renting any lodging to ensure the neighborhood is safe and close to other locations you’d like to visit. Also, read the reviews carefully for each house/room—both hosts and guests can be reviewed on the site, which ensures that both parties are on their best behavior. There are many well-rated homes that feature hundreds of reviews. The best part is that only verified guests (those who have stayed at the site) are allowed to submit reviews, so you know that you’re getting reliable information.

After you’ve chosen a location, contact the host before booking. Introduce yourself, tell them when you’d like to stay in their home, and how many guests you’ll be bringing with you. After they approve your dates, you can go ahead and complete the booking process! Be sure to maintain communication with your Airbnb host leading up to and during your stay; most well-rated hosts love getting occasional updates to ensure that you’re enjoying your time in their home. NHR  

For more in-depth information regarding Airbnb, check out the Airbnb help Center (https://www.airbnb.com/help).

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