The other day a friend was asking me about Airbnb and I began to tell her what I look for in reviews, so I thought I would pass along what I look for in an Airbnb description and reviews, other than recent good reviews. (Above are the very cool keys for the apartment I stayed at in Rome!)
- Bed comfort – I have arthritis and I need a comfortable bed, otherwise there will be no sleeping. This isn’t always an obvious one in the reviews though and you may have to read a couple of pages of them. If the bed is truly horrid, most people mention it right away. If the bed is comfortable, they may not mention it at all. Look at the pictures to. Is it a real bed or a sofa bed or futon? You know what you can handle and what you cannot.
- Host responsiveness – This isn’t just how quickly they respond to your initial contact about a reservation, but how they respond if there are any issues during your stay. Personally, I haven’t had any issues, but you want to know that they will fix issues. Many people state if they have had issues and if they have been resolved. I once was looking at a place in Istanbul and all the reviewers said the host changed the apartment to a different one once they arrived. This was a huge red flag for me. I didn’t consider any of his listings.
- Shower size – This may sound silly, but showers in Europe are tiny. The Rome apartment I stayed had a small shower and people had commented on it. I thought well, I am small it won’t be a big deal. It was even a tight squeeze for me to get in and I had to step in sideways! If you are tall, look and see where the showerhead is located. Nothing worse than bending over to wash your hair.
- Location – Not as simple as it seems. Being near the tourist attractions can be more expensive in some cities. In Rome, I opted to be in Rome but further out from tourist things, but close to public transportation. I really enjoyed this as it felt like I actually lived in Rome. Being near good public transportation is key for me, but you may want to be close to the action and walk. You should keep in mind how much transportation from your location will cost, as it doesn’t make sense to spend a fortune on transportation and save money on the accommodation. If you are unsure about the location, contact the host and look at what the reviewers are saying too.
- Noise – Remember you are staying in an apartment with neighbors that if they are loud there is probably nothing you can do about it. Not that this doesn’t happen in hotels too. Sometimes street noise is also a factor and not much you can do about it. I have seen several listings for lovely places, but everyone has complained about the noise. Now when I travel, I always bring earplugs!
Sometimes you will see recent negative reviews and I always consider those a warning sign to stay away. However, sometimes the negative reviews are quite old. Look to see if the host has responded and see what more recent people have to say. In the beginning of some being new to Airbnb, they may have made some mistakes and have learned from them. Also, remember you get a rating as a guest too so keep the place tidy and follow the rules!
Airbnb is giving out $25 credits for everyone that signs up through my link. I do get a $25 credit if you stay and $75 if you host, but nothing else and this was not given to me as incentive to write this up.