Planning a trip is multifaceted. I need airfare. I want to rent a car. A place to stay would be nice. What is my budget? These are all topics to consider when puzzling together a trip. Air BNB is a company that has made it easier and cheaper to find a place to stay and live like a local. Think Uber but for a living arrangement. Basically, you rent out someone’s home while they are away or home depending on what you opt for! Staying in a Air BNB listing is easy pick your place, pay through the website, meet the owner and BAM! happy travels. What happens when you plan to stay in a listing for an extended stay? Or in a foreign country? More research has to go into your planning. I’m here to help. Listed below are questions I would ask myself to ensure an unforgettable location which is both safe and practical.
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1.Where can I buy groceries?
Cooking at home is going to cut your food budget nearly in half. Psychologist Abraham Maslow suggests that meeting physical needs are the highest priority to establish a simple lifestyle. By physical needs I’m talking food, water, shelter etc. How few of us travelers protect our diets when we travel? As lovely as it sounds to indulge daily in Foie Gras and wine, one needs to consider the budget and one’s own health. A kitchen is imperative when browsing Air BNBs. A fridge, sink and range are bare bones and just enough to cook a fresh meal.
2. Is the tap water safe? Or should I budget for bottled?
Don’t get trapped in the bathroom for the entirety of your trip after picking up a parasite. Water is a need right up there with food. I swear by water while traveling. It aids jet lag, mood, health and overall feeling. Do yourself a favor and research, research, research. Some states in the U.S. although fully developed even have issues, mostly due to the mineral content and industrial pollutants.
3. Is my location safe at night? Or in the daytime?
When traveling to a new city or abroad safety is imperative. It’s impossible to predict the safe and not-so-safe neighborhoods. Take some time to confirm sure that adorable flat is in a safe location, especially for a solo woman or a family trip. Research daytime and night time crime.
4. Are weekly or monthly discounts offered?
Depending on your stay, it may be more economical to stay in a home that offers an extended stay discount. Tight budgets love discounts right?
5. How close is public transport?
If a car rental isn’t in the budget, consider the availability of public transportation. I remember Dublin having a great bus system. I hardly drove the rental car for the first few days. Consider the availability of rideshare businesses too. I would count on Uber in a major city but, if the plan is staying in the French countryside it may be wise to rent.
6.Where are the attractions?
It is probably impractical to stay in Venice if visiting Rome is on the docket. When in Rome – stay in Rome. Are attractions, walking distance? Will it require a taxi or a rideshare? Create an itinerary for specific museums to visit and attractions that are on the bucket list.
7. Does the room meet personal needs?
Refer to question number one. What are your basic needs? I know my needs require amenities such as a kitchen, Wi-Fi, maybe a washer/dryer. Traveling with kids? Pets?
8. What are the reviews?
The biggest risk is staying in a home without reviews. Anyone I know who has used Air B&B and neglected to check out reviews had been disappointed. Not to say that they are all suspect however, chances of a dud increase.
9. Is my host a Superhost? Verified?
A Superhost on Air BNB is an experienced individual who offers a comfortable and helpful experience. A Superhost can be identified by a badge emblem blow their online picture. I also recommend checking for verified pictures and descriptions as well as becoming verified yourself. Air BNB works both ways. Guests can also be reviewed by hosts!
10. Can I contact my Host?
Yes! Introduce yourself. You are a person who will be occupying another’s home. Shoot them an email! It doesn’t hurt to explain your travel situation ie. Planning on a late arrival? Questions about location? Have pets? Nine times out of ten they will be more than willing to accommodate.
11. What is the cancellation ratio? Cancellation policies?
Watch your emails for an updated house schedule. Hosts have the right to cancel your stay with as little or as much notice. Becoming stranded is scary. Do them the same courtesy, if you choose to cancel, review their personal cancellation policy to ensure you are available for a refund.
What did I miss? What do you look for in a good stay?