Want to live like a local at your faraway dream destination? Interested in meeting new people by renting out your extra room or second home? Then check out Airbnb!
If you’ve never heard of Airbnb, you must have spent the last years on a deserted island! This online platform has become one of the most popular ways to book a place to stay – or to rent out an otherwise empty room or apartment. Airbnb is a virtual marketplace that started out as a small idea when the founders offered an air mattress in their living room. But today, it has exploded into an international phenomenon with listings in around 81 thousand cities and 191 countries.
Airbnb – It’s Easy to Get Started!
Airbnb lets you list your property on the Airbnb website for free. Those properties can be whatever you have available, ranging from just a room or apartment to houseboats, stand-alone garden retreats or entire homes. You can decide yourself how much to charge on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. Just describe your offering, put in some photos, and let potential guests learn a bit about you through a user profile. You can also set the amount of a possible cleaning fee. Keep in mind, you might be required to pay rental income tax.
Find Out About Legalities of Airbnb
Think about that fact that there may be some restrictions to hosting on Airbnb depending on the area you live in. Perhaps your condo association may have their own rules on short-term rentals. Be sure to check it out before starting. The city of San Francisco, for example, recently began to implement a requirement that ensures hosts register with the city. Those who aren’t registered can be fined up to $1,000 per day and face possible criminal charges!
Highlight the Good and Get Ready for Guests!
If your place has something really special, be sure to mention it! Wireless internet, smart TVs, air conditioning, pools, proximity to tourist sites or beaches – those types of amenities will attract more people to your site. You can also decide on the type of cancelation you want to offer. For example, you can decide on ‘super strict’, where 50% of accommodation fees will only be returned if canceled 60 days before the booking. Or ‘moderate’, where a full refund is given up to five days before the booking. Once a traveler requests a reservation and you’ve confirmed it, Airbnb will take a small service fee for the processing.
What if my Airbnb Guests Damage my Home?
Concerns about property damage are what keeps a lot of people from listing on Airbnb. And there have been stories of homes being trashed. That’s why Airbnb has come up with a host guarantee program that provides damage coverage. However, you should be sure to read the small print as certain things will not be covered. In addition, it’s a good idea to find out about getting additional insurance for your specific circumstances.
Airbnb has Many Benefits for Travelers
Airbnb gives travelers the opportunity to feel like a local. Many Airbnb listings are not directly in tourist centers, where most hotels are located. So you get a better feel for what it’s like to really be a part of the community. You’re staying in a resident’s home and can experience what it’s like to live in their neighborhood.
Besides that, especially if you’re traveling as a family, you’ll have more space in an Airbnb rental than in a single hotel room. So everyone can really relax in their own space. And you can save a lot of money. Not only because Airbnb properties are usually less expensive than hotels, but also by being able to prepare your own meals in a real kitchen. Many rentals also have washing machines and dryers, so you’ll save on that too! In addition, there’s often a lot more choice of location with Airbnb rentals as opposed to hotels.
Pros and Cons as a Guest
Of course, with Airbnb as with everything else, there are always good and bad points. If you’re really into convenience, then an Airbnb might not be for you. At a hotel, there’s always someone at the desk to ask about transportation or to contact a doctor in case of an emergency. Many have their own restaurants so you don’t need to worry about cooking. In case you’re feeling lazy, you can also ask for room service.
A big disadvantage for some travelers is that they don’t know if the listing will really be as it was described on the website. However, Airbnb has a review system, so that guests can post comments about their stay. So really take a look at what past guests have said! In addition, while you might not be able to cancel at the last minute without losing money, hosts can. So it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place. For example, book a hotel for the same dates with a 24 hour period for a money-back guarantee.
Look into Details for a Great Vacation!
You should be able to feel confident about booking if you take the time to research the Airbnb listings you’re interested in. Once you’ve arrived at your Airbnb lodging, go through the home and make sure everything seems safe. If you feel something is off, contact the host immediately. Or, in the worst case, get in touch with Airbnb’s customer service line. But don’t worry too much – thousands of travelers have used Airbnb without any problems at all.
Just be sure to share your favorite vacation photos on FamilyApp!