I recently spoke about why I choose to stay in an AirBnB rather than a hotel when I go away, and even though I had high praise for the service, I do also have my wariness when booking somewhere to stay. So, here’s how to pick the right place to stay – for you!
First things first: Where are you staying? Because sometimes, depending on where in the world you’re going, a hotel might be the best choice. So before browsing through the beautiful homes on AirBnB, find an affordable hotel to fall back on. Like, when I went to Benidorm last year with my mum and my little sister, I wouldn’t have even considered an AirBnB, but when I’ve been to Lisbon, I never considered a hotel.
Okay, so now you’ve decided that you definitely want an AirBnB, let’s get started! The website has a lot of useful filters, so if you want somewhere that has an elevator for easy access, you can tick it off in the filters, amongst many other things like whether or not you want WiFi access, whether or not you want to meet up with your host so if you want to meet them and get to know the person letting you stay in their home, you can. This will narrow down your options dramatically, whenever I’ve been looking for somewhere to stay, after adjusting the filters I normally get left with about twenty pages – and that’s still not done. Because AirBnB also lets you set a budget. How much you want to pay per night.
Obviously depending on the time of year that you’re going away, the more you’re willing to pay, the nicer the accommodation will be. When I went to Lisbon in December, I paid very cheap for where we stayed, it was less than a ten min walk into the centre, it had everything we needed, it was gorgeous, and it was cheap. When I went to see the price for it in April though, the cost per night had shot up, understandably, and it actually had become unaffordable for my budget. Where we did end up staying though, was on budget, and honestly, I did prefer it. It was much more homely and the location even more central.
Even though you’re filtering like crazy and have about fifteen pages to get through, you may find somewhere that you love, but reviews exist for a reason. Don’t be hasty booking somewhere to stay. I’d looked at hundreds of AirBnBs, I’d found the one a whole bunch of times, but going through the reviews, there was always something to put me off. Like one place apparently had a humidity problem, another one had issues with the host being late and some people didn’t like the area that the AirBnB’s they were staying at were located. I also had Pedro to guide me through the choice making too, he’d tell me when somewhere was too far from the centre, when an area was a bit dodgy or if there were Portuguese reviews, he’d translate for me, which made the choice making a lot easier on my behalf.
Now: Some people choose AirBnB’s for the aesthetics. There are many houses and apartments that cater to the whole Instagrammable niche. I’d found an AirBnB that I adored, it was Instagrammable, but we ended up not staying there and even though I was bummed about it, looking back, it only stuck out to me because it was a niche looking place, it had a swing in the living room and a 70s theme ongoing throughout the entire apartment, and I don’t think we would’ve felt “at home” there. It was a bit, lifeless. But if that’s what you like – by all means, choose somewhere that you can snap away at!