Seoul, South Korea
Quepos, Costa Rica
I have rented through Airbnb when I traveled to Chicago, Malaga (Spain), Seoul (South Korea), Quepos (Costa Rica) and recently Naples (Italy). It's been a positive experience on all my rental stays *knock on wood*.
I highly recommend renting an entire apartment if you're planning to stay in the city/town for more than 4 days and if you have 2 or more people. It's sometimes cheaper to rent than to book a hotel room. You will have access to a kitchen, living room, washer, wi-fi, t.v., and sometimes a patio depending on the apartment you choose. It will save you from eating out all the time by making your own meals!
- Budget - have a budget in mind while browsing through the sites. You can tailor your search to the amount you want to pay each night. There is also a Airbnb service fee that is included in every booking.
- Rules - always read the terms of the host. Ensure that you understand all the rules before you book. And if something is not clear or you need more information, contact the host directly to clarify. Make sure to check the minimum stay required as well, again, this varies from host to host. And if you think you can't adhere to the rules then by all means look elsewhere.
- Contact your host - don't be afraid to ask questions or if you have any concerns. I had to ask about parking with my host and he was a great help. Referring me to street parking or a private one. Your host can give you tips and suggestions on what to do, visit, eat, shop, etc.
- Check in/check out - most hosts are more flexible with check in/out. If you are going to be late or early, always check with your host ahead of time if he/she can accommodate your time. Once you confirm your booking, you will be provided with your host's contact information. I always save his/her phone number on my phone. In Italy, we had set a time for meet up with the host and when I got to the train station; it was delayed. I sent a text message to the host letting him know so we arrange a different time to accommodate the delay. It's always best to communicate with your host when you can to let him/her know changes in your plan so they are not waiting around for you.
- Inspection - be thorough with your inspection once you check in to make sure the apartment is in the condition as listed on the website. Ask questions if you don't know how to use something inside the house. And ask about garbage days and where to throw the trash (soo important!). And if you forget something, contact your host.
- Local - the best part of staying at an airbnb is that you feel like a local. I love shopping for groceries and then going home to the apartment to cook a meal. It makes me feel like I live in the city/town that I'm visiting. I get to interact with locals than with my fellow tourists more.
- Clean - leave the apartment as you found it. This is not a hotel but your home for the length of time of your stay so treat it like one. No one else will clean up after you.
- Review - make sure you write a review after your stay. It is a benefit for you and the host to have positive reviews of course. Always discuss your stay with your host when you are checking out. It's best to be upfront about your stay. If you have any problems, always talk to your host first to discuss solutions before contacting Airbnb.
I've been lucky to have stayed in apartments with great hosts who made me feel at home in their city and apartment. It truly made me feel like I was a local (for at least a short period of time).
Have you tried Airbnb and did you like the experience? If not, would you?