Home Life and Family Budgeting 8 Things to Know before You Book an Airbnb

8 Things to Know before You Book an Airbnb

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Airbnb is an increasingly popular option for budget travelers, but what’s the catch?

If you are travelling and are not willing to pay hundreds of dollars for accommodation, Airbnbcan be a much cheaper option than hotels. Going this route does have its drawbacks. Here’s what to look out for before you book that room on Airbnb.

01 Hidden costs

The advertised daily rate on Airbnb does not include costs such as “cleaning fees” and Airbnb’s own “service fees” (see screen capture below). These fees are typically about 10-20% on top of the advertised daily rate.

02 No breakfast

Unlike what the term “bnb” suggests, the vast majority of Airbnb listings exclude breakfast, even if you are willing to pay extra for it. Some hosts allow you to use their kitchens, but this would usually be clearly stated. Otherwise, you should make plans for breakfast elsewhere.

03 Choose your host wisely

Avoid hosts that have the host cancel the booking X days before arrival (see screen capture below). Also, avoid long-serving hosts that have no or few reviews. That is however not to say that you should give new hosts a chance.

04 Upload a clear profile photo

It is unavoidable that a minority of hosts may have unwarranted negative stereotypes of guests, based on their gender, nationality or even ethnicity. To avoid unpleasantries arising from this, it is perhaps best to provide a clear photo of yourself in your profile and state your nationality when making the first booking enquiry. This is so that your host can make an informed decision whether to accept your booking.

05 Communicate with your host before booking and before arriving

Check about late arrivals and check out times. Hosts typically have to work/study and as such they would often expect you to fit around their schedule rather than yours. Unfortunately, many hosts are unapologetic about it and expect you to know this. Furthermore, 2-3 days before your scheduled arrival, do message your host again to check that he/she has not forgotten your booking and/or his/her availability to host you has not changed. Airbnb does provide a small credit as compensation should hosts back out at the last minute, but it is best that you avoid the hassle by checking with your host well before your arrival.

06 Disable Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC).

Generally, due to DCC, it is generally 2-3% cheaper for online products or services using the currency of the seller. In this case, this would mean the currency used in the country of your AirBNB that you visit. However, the AirBNB site defaults to your own local currency (e.g. SGD) and there is no specific option setting that allows you to disable dynamic currency conversion. The specific way to get around this is to simply change your local currency (at the bottom right of the Airbnb page) to that used in the country you are visiting. For example, if you are booking a room in Switzerland, change the currency to CHF (Swiss Francs). The converted credit card bill in SGD from your Singapore bank will be lower than the SGD rate quoted by Airbnb. The downside is that if you are a regular traveler, you would need to switch your default currency each time you make a booking for a room that is located in a new country.

07 Get coupons

Look for coupons that are linked to certain credit cards. These are in season from time to time, though not very common. Airbnb is also often classified as online retail spending that qualifies for rebates from your bank.

08 Get a referral

You get a S$45 discount off your first booking if you use this referral link

Conclusion

In summary, you should be aware of the potential pitfalls when using Airbnb, even if you are a seasoned traveler. While most hosts are friendly and decent people, you certainly will not be getting the same level of service at an Airbnb compared to a hotel. Nonetheless, Airbnb is a great option if you are a budget traveler who would like to meet locals during your travels.

 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 October 2018 04:39 )  
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