4 Steps to an Airtight Air BnB stay

When done right Air BnB will truly revolutionise your holiday booking process. It's a database of unique stays at affordable prices, why is it then, for many people, it seems out of the question? Simple: Host Fear... Stranger danger is an internet mantra, so it's no wonder Air BnB gives some people the chills, but Air BnB is actually built to minimise estrangement rather than enhance it! When was the last time you had direct contact with a hotelier? It is the Build-a-Bear of travel without the price tag, you can customise the quality of your host as well as your room and you need to try it! So, here are my tips for a Safe, Economic and Luxurious Air BnB stay : 1. What Last things first, what NOT to do when you are ready to book. When you have decided on which place is your dream stay you will be met with a button that will say either: Instant Book Your dates/ price/ room is guaranteed, your transaction will complete (best for last minute and stranded). OR Request to Book Your booking is requested, if accepted your transaction is complete. Hosts sometimes list things incorrectly/ take a while to react and requesting two can cause double booking... Let me introduce you to a third button Contact Host (bottom of the page) Your booking is sent as a message, meaning; you can send multiple booking requests without consequence. Personally I always contact the host first, it is an opportunity to find out more about them; language compatibility/ helpful/ positive/ crazy? Ask a question and judge their answer, being ignored before you arrive is never a good sign.

2. Who Host Profile let you read about a host from their own perspective like you would on any other social media website. It is incredibly insightful as it comes with some extra clues like How many Air BnB's they have to offer: the more rooms, the more business orientated (the hospital corner types); whereas one roomers tend to be live in hosts (the live like a local experiences). and Appraisals from guests, reviews can only be left up to two weeks after a stay for relevance (similar to Booking.com). Read, the most polite review can be the most telling (i.e. "XX is a great host and their children are so lovely and bubbly" hint: child friendly/ loud children live here).

3. When & Where Research your Destination! Go to the official travel website and check your dates don't fall on that one weekend of the year where everything is closed! Even if you are on the go, it's worth knowing. Place is vital to whether you have a good stay and it's more than where you are going, it's where you are going when you get there. City centres boast small commutes and ample eateries, but if everywhere you want to go is elsewhere you've doubled your expense for half the convenience.

Air BnB Guides are created from hosts favourite places, use them to get to know the locality (it's worth checking WikiTravel and Tripadvisor too). Once you have a firm idea of where you will be spending your time, cross check rooms using the map (on the app an icon reading "MAP" should appear as you scroll downward). Disappearing Venues? It isn't you- it's them! The one set back with Air BnB is that destinations seemingly disappear when using the Map feature, just jiggle it around a bit or use the list for your initial search. Try to book a month or so in advance as you will get the pick of the pack for the best price. If you are more about where rather than when, you can search all Air BnB's with their average prices and bend to the dairy (simply miss out the date field on the search engine). 4. How To find an Air BnB go to Airbnb.co.uk type in your destination and choose the type of Air BnB you want: Entire Home/ Flat: Exactly what it says on the tin, an entire home or flat all for you! Private Room: Kitchen/ Bathroom/ Lounge are communal whereas sleeping space is private. Shared Room: All spaces are communal, typically a hostel or a mezzanine/ sofa-bed (can mean camping accommodation too).

You can then add optional extra filters such as date/ budget/ guests and begin your search.

To save money search on the local currency (in settings), there is no science to this, the exchange rate is often just better this way. Air BnB will take payment in the currency of the country which your card is registered to, so you will not be charged foreign transaction fees by your bank (yay). To save more money sign up through invitation, earning up to £25 in credit for you and the person sending the invite. For long term travellers in a group, invite each other in a chain to earn more overall credit! You will need to make an account with Air BnB in order to book so do not be alarmed that the invitation is asking you to do this. There are sometimes offers when you sign up using PayPal so it is worth searching online too. (Don't know anyone who has used AirBnB? Here is an invitation from my own Air BnB account, just click here.) So have I turned your host fear into host curiosity yet? Remember, all your hosts details are written in front of you and you can talk to them directly. Air BnB is a far more unique and personalised way to travel (and far cheaper!), I really recommend giving it a go. Through Air BnB I have been able to experience local culture completely differently than with a hotel. My hosts have been great people who are open-minded, proud of their culture, kind and helpful. I hope your stays are as good as mine :)

[Air BnB www.airbnb.co.uk; WikiTravel www.wikitravel.org; TripAdvisor www.tripadvisor.co.uk; Booking.com www.booking.com ]

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