We’ve recently started using Airbnb when travelling with the kids. While we’ve had to sacrifice some amenities (we still haven’t found an AirBnB with a pool 🙂 ) Airbnb has provided comfortable, affordable travel accommodation for our family.
Despite good experiences the travel control freak in me kicks into over drive when booking an Airbnb.
Prior to booking I go through an extensive ‘vetting’ process. Family travel can be stressful enough. I want to be sure our accommodation won’t be an added stress on arrival. Keep reading for my tips on how to choose the right Airbnb for your family.
With so many properties at great destinations Airbnb can be overwhelming. You need to shortlist.
- Use Filters – This seems obvious but make sure your filters are set to meet your needs. When travelling with the kids we want access to an entire home – not shared space.
- Keep an eye out for Superhosts- Superhosts are pretty self explanatory. They have received enough quality feedback ensuring they provide a top notch service to their guests. Airbnb verifies feedback regularly in order to maintain Superhost status. Not every great Airbnb will have Superhost status though so it’s not a definite requirement for us. Absolutely all our hosts must be verified by Airbnb. It’s not a fool proof process but verification does add another layer of security.
- Read the entire brochure – for me the more detail the better….its saves me asking the host directly if they tell me in the brochure how far away public transport is and if there is decent wifi. Also it’s very important to check finer details like hidden costs and cancellation policies.
- Read the reviews – Generally we only look at properties with a number of reviews when we’re travelling with the kids. The reviews give you a good sense of what to expect.
- Read the hosts reviews of guests – If you click on the icon for guests leaving recommendations you can see what the host says about their guests. It’s a good way to gain insight into your host’s personality. Also, if travelling abroad you can get an idea of how well they use English which may be important to you.
Emailing Potential Hosts
Once we’ve shortlisted a few properties I email hosts directly with some questions. When we travel with the kids I want to make sure we have a responsive host in case of an emergency. Also there are some details I want to be sure about before we travel. The questions can vary but here are some of my typical host questions.
- What floor is the property on and does it have a lift? (important if you’re travelling with a buggy)
- What basics do you provide in the property? — I don’t mind stashing a roll of toilet roll in my suitcase but I won’t be bringing bed linen. Also there is a big bonus for us if there is tea and coffee already stocked in the kitchen!
- Where and when do we get the key? —This is important. Hosts with several properties may expect you to come to them to get the key and it may be in a different location than where you are staying. Particularly if we have a limited time I want a host that will meet me or leave the key for me somewhere near the property. I don’t want to drag the kids across town to get a key.
- Do you live locally? – – You may be surprised to discover some hosts don’t live in the city or even the country of their property. This might be fine, but when we travel with the kids I prefer knowing I can get in touch with someone local in case of an emergency.
- Is there an early check- in option? If your travel plans bring you to a location early you may want to either check-in early or know where you can at least store your luggage for a while. Obviously you can’t expect a host to always facilitate an early check-in but they should be able to give you an idea of where you can store your luggage if not with them.
- Exact location details – Is the property at the top of a steep hill? (I can hear the kids whining already) Where is public transport? Is there a shop nearby? One of the perks of Airbnb is self-catering options and even breakfast in each morning can save on spending.
Within a week or so of travel I generally send an email to the host via Airbnb checking in and confirming everything. It’s also a chance to ask any last minute questions and finalise directions. By this time the hosts know if they can facilitate early check – in too.
Review your host and the property based on your needs. Airbnb works because of honest feedback. Write a review that speaks to your needs and your group…if you travelled with a family and young kids speak to that so other families benefit from your feedback.
Do you Airbnb when you travel?? Tell us your tips for scoring the perfect Airbnb!!