7 tips for guests to get the best out of Airbnb

Since Airbnb came along in 2008, travellers have been able to experience a much more local and authentic stay in their chosen country.

I've stayed in country houses in rural England, canal-side apartments in Amsterdam and an East Village studio in NYC. Every time, I've had a much more authentic encounter with the city I'm in. In New York City, my host took me in to stay with her in Brooklyn, during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, when Lower Manhattan (where my Airbnb apartment was) spiralled into chaos during a four day blackout. We have been firm friends ever since.  In Barcelona, my apartment was just two blocks from one of the best tapas restaurants in town, and my host, a warm welcoming lady in her 70s, linked my arm, and we gossiped while she walked me to where the only open supermarket was, before hugging me goodbye.

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My beautiful Airbnb apartment in the Eixample neighbourhood of Barcelona

My beautiful Airbnb apartment in the Eixample neighbourhood of Barcelona

I've highlighted some top tips to find the best apartments on Airbnb and how to be a great guest (and even save some money too!). Choosing a great host (and being a great guest) can open you up to experiences that you will never forget, and who knows, even life long friends!

1. Book the best Airbnb apartments by having a verified account

You're more likely to be accepted as a guest if you have a verified account. And it only takes a few minutes! All you need to do is supply a scan of some ID (e.g. a passport), your phone number, and if you like, your Facebook account. This will give your prospective host some reassurance, especially if this is your first booking (and you have not yet received any reviews).

2. Book your Airbnb with confidence by booking with a Superhost

This is a great way of pretty much guaranteeing a great Airbnb apartment, and a great host. Hosts can only gain Superhost status by receiving a 5 star review at least 80% of the time, maintained a 90% or more response rate, and to never have cancelled a confirmed booking.

My daughter and I felt right at home in our Airbnb apartment in Amsterdam

My daughter and I felt right at home in our Airbnb apartment in Amsterdam

3. If you can't find a super host, pick an Airbnb host that has a profile picture and a detailed listing

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Take a look at your hosts listing, and make sure they have a profile picture, extensive details about their property, consistently good reviews and are responsive to reviews if guests have left feedback. If they take the time to reply to their guests and have detailed instructions (and good photos) of their listing, chances are they will care about their property and be a good host.

4. Read all of the Airbnb reviews - good and bad

One bad review isn't the end of the world. Especially if the host has replied and explained what went wrong. However if there are more than one, or the host has frequently cancelled the booking (this shows up as a review automatically), then it's probably good to steer clear.

5. Build a rapport with your Airbnb host

If you have any questions about the property (is it quiet, family friendly, is there any parking etc), it's absolutely fine to message the host. This way you can also build a rapport, and to see if you would be a good fit for each other. On my first trip to Rome, I was unfamiliar with where the best neighbourhoods to stay would be, but after chatting to my host via email, she explained the location and local area and it turned out to be perfect!

6. Why it pays to be a good Airbnb guest

Airbnb is built on good relationships between hosts and guests. Your reviews as a guest are just as important as the hosts, and prospective hosts will look at your profile to make sure you are verified and a good guest. Plus it always feels nice to get a good review right?

7. Two easy ways to save money on your Airbnb booking

First off, if you're planning on a longer stay, some properties offer this on their listing, but even if yours doesn't, it's fine to message your host and to ask for a discount. This worked for me, and I saved hundreds of dollars on a three month stay in New York. 

If you're taking your first trip, be sure to use a discount code! You can save £25/$30USD on your first ever booking by using this code.

I would love to hear your comments below, or tips on how to get the best out of Airbnb!

SEE ALSO: Step by step solo trip planner