In case you haven’t heard, booking an overseas’ strangers’ apartments to live in during a holiday through Airbnb is kind of the norm now. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; Airbnb home listings dot the global map – over 190+ countries, enabling globetrotters to secure a temporary residence in a local hosts’ lodging place for very affordable rates and alternative styled living rather than the usual hotel.
Furthermore, securing accommodation through the online portal saves expenses, provides a more homely environment and increases the chances that you might meet fellow like-minded travelers whom might become your best buddies over a couple of beers. The Airbnb hosts are also a great source to understand the country’s environment, culture and recommended attractions from a local perspective.
So the next time you’re sourcing for a suitable place to stay through the duration of your holidays and have grown weary of the hassle of checking into a sterile, unwelcoming hotel room, you know where to turn to.
For all those who have never figured out how Airbnb works exactly, no worries! I have come up with the Ultimate How-to guide on booking an accommodation through Airbnb’s online platform.
Step 1: Sign Up for an AirBnb Account with Promo Code
Before you sign up for an account, you’ll want to click my Airbnb promo code link to get FREE S$62 in your account for your first booking (above S$100).
My mistake was signing up without using a referral link and losing $62 SGD credits I could have used for my first booking!
Airbnb operates on a travel credit referral system – Every account gets a referral link when you click on ‘Invite Friends’ from your account, and you can invite your friends to sign up for an Airbnb account via your link (automatically giving them S$62 in Airbnb credit), you’ll receive S$38 back in travel credits when your friends travel with Airbnb.
Even better, if they manage to successfully host travelers via their listings, you’ll get S$100 in travelling credits! So note before you sign up for an account to use my referral link and get S$62 FREE credits for your first Airbnb Booking!
Joining the Airbnb community has never been made easier; all you have to do is sign up using either Facebook, Google+ or your email to automatically generate your account. Hey, one less password to remember, right?
Step 2: Search For Awesome Accommodation
The rather no-brainer intuitive user experience design on Airbnb website makes it exceedingly easy to source for a suitable accommodation.
Simply click on the search bar located right at the top of Airbnb’s homepage, key in all your travelling details – where you are heading to, traveling dates, budget, number of guests and preferred space, then you’re good to go.
After you have shortlisted a few listings which you think are suitable for your traveling purposes, be sure to scour through every single review left by previous travelers.
Main things you should look out for include: Is the host who they make themselves out to be? Is the lodging true to pictures? Is the location accessible? Out of all the questions I just listed, I believe ensuring the identity of your host is paramount.
Look out for the ‘Verified ID‘ logo on the ‘About The Host’ section. Verified hosts have to link various online and offline profiles to Airbnb. Find out more here.
Step 3: Spice Up Your Profile
Airbnb runs entirely on trust; guests need to feel safe heading over to a host’s place and hosts have to be assured that guests do not damage their property. Therefore, hosts would be a lot more willing to rent out their living spaces to a guest who has a complete profile page. Describe yourself and link your social media accounts to Airbnb to let potential hosts or guests know that you are an actual, living person who means no harm.
Step 4: Strike Up a Conversation With The Host
Even though you can skip contacting the host, I would highly advice against it. I like to contact the host even before I make a booking, just to get a general feel of the person. It’s a no-go for me if the host is rude, condescending or straight-out non-responsive as last-minute issues might happen and you need their response.
You’ll be dependent on the local host should you need anything in the course of your travel so it’s definitely a good idea to ensure that your host is helpful and trustworthy with prompt replies.
It never hurts to build a sense of friendship before-hand because it makes settling into the apartment a whole lot easier if you are cohabiting with the hosts and their family. They might even invite you out for dinner and show you around neighbourhood spots where only locals hang out if you guys hit it off! Furthermore, there are also certain benefits to be had when you message the host before booking because they might offer discounted prices to you!
Step 5: Book Your Dream Accommodation
The most exciting part! Other than actually jetting off and laying your eyes on the apartment, of course. If you have managed to charm your host into inviting you over to their place with a discounted price, you’ll be able to book the accommodation immediately.
Most people opt for the normal route, which involves clicking on the ‘Request To Book’ button. Hosts have 24 hours to approve of your request, before it expires and is no longer valid. Your credit card is charged only when the host accepts your reservation.
If you’re in a bad rush or are generally impatient and need to confirm your booking of the accommodation immediately, you can opt for listings which are available for ‘Instant Booking’ – indicated by the lightning symbol (how clever) beside the pricing.
Instant booking promptly reserves the lodging for you in your specified time frame, without requiring the approval of the host. Here, your credit card will be charged immediately.
And congratulations… You now have a place to stay at during your holiday!
Step 6: Just In Case…
In the unfortunate event that you would be unable to stay over at the hosts’ place after having booked it, you will need to cancel your reservation. Depending on how strict the host’s cancellation policy is, you might not be able to get back all of your money.
You can check on a host’s cancellation policy right when you click to view the details of the listing. For the full details on cancellation policies, refer to Airbnb’s website. Hopefully, everything goes well and you wouldn’t ever need to cancel on your booking.