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How to Book Airbnb Rentals That Don't Suck
Harder than you'd think these days...
I was exploring one of my favorite countries, the Dominican Republic.
A couple of buddies and me decided to rent a massive apartment in Santiago de Los Caballeros. The listing seemed solid. Plus, it was one of the few three bedroom apartments in the whole city. Even though it didn't have a lot of reviews, we booked it.
Upon arrival, everything seemed decent. The place was well decorated and the Airbnb rental genuinely looked like the photos.
Always a plus.
We checked in and got comfortable, as we planned to stay for a little more than two weeks at the place.
Fate had other ideas.
Two nights into our stay and the water went out. Nothing in the sink. Toilets not flushing. No shower.
So we called the host and let him know we were having issues. He said someone would be over in the morning to fix the issue.
We roughed it through the night without water. Not a pleasant experience when middle of the night bathroom runs are on the docket.
The next morning the plumber never showed.
We called the host, again. Was told someone would be over in the evening. Around 7pm, “someone” finally show up. He inspect the place and tell us they'll have to buy a part to fix some pipes – but the store is already closed tonight.
Now, you can imagine the smells after two days of not flushing a toilet…
We were not pleased.
Views from my “shower” for the week.
Yet the lack of options in the city ensured we waited this out. My buddies and I agreed that we'd leave if the place wasn't fixed by the following evening.
But we had one question…
How are we supposed to shower?
It's been over a day already. We need to get clean. Luckily, there's a solution.
The “someone” take us to the rooftop of our apartment building. There's a water tank. They open the top of it and hand us buckets.
Butt-ass naked rooftop showers to be exact.
While all your Dominican “peeping Tom” neighbors look on from above.
When in Rome and shit.
So the plumber arrives the following morning and “fixes” the issue. The water is back on and the toilets are flushed.
All is right in the world.
Until the following morning, when the water shuts off, again. No more indoor showers. No more toilet flushing.
We call Airbnb. We call the host. No more Airbnb rental. It was time for a hotel.
How to Find Airbnb Rentals That Don’t Suck
Clearly, the Airbnb above blew.
Luckily, not all rentals on the site are that bad. In fact, you can find some dope spots just by following a few guidelines…
1. Location, Location, Location
I’m not a fan of renting that “luxury” apartment chalk full of amenities about a half hour outside the city center.
If you're traveling to a city, then stay in the city. Even if it means average accommodations compared to places outside the city center or “vortex zone” of the area.
Dial in on the exact neighborhood and area you want to stay before starting your search.
2. Filter Properly
I always use these three filters when booking an Airbnb:
If I’m going to a spot with a lot of rentals, I’ll also add in:
This eliminates most of the shitty places from your search and dials in on the high-end, serviced apartments in a city.
3. Balcony Lives Matter
This one is a little personal…
But I always try and find an Airbnb rental with a great private balcony.
There's just something about looking down at the new city you're about to explore every morning – cup of coffee in hand.
Plus, the photo ops don't hurt either.
Oh, and wine dates on the balcony with a view.
Seriously, having a sick balcony is way better than a pool, gym, or hot tub at your place.
You'll just get more mileage from it.
Sadly, Airbnb is retarded and won’t let you filter for a balcony or terrace. So you’ll have to do some digging.
4. Read Reviews
No doubt about it.
But you've absolutely gots to read reviews on Airbnb before booking a place.
There's been numerous times I thought I found an ideal Airbnb rental – only to read the reviews and quickly find out the place has issues.
Airbnb has a community feel to it. And other travelers don't want their fellow nomads to deal with bullshit while on the road.
So you'll often get a detailed assessment of the pros and cons of any Airbnb rental right in the review section.
5. Read the Fine Print
You absolutely need to read the fine print of any and every Airbnb listing you're about to book.
Because hosts often hide stuff in the listing that you need to know.
Things like rules, deposits, and the like.
For example, I rent Airbnb apartments because I'm a grown ass man. I like my privacy and I expect to live in the Airbnb rental like I would my own home.
I don't do rules and regulations.
I'm a respectful adult and I expect to be treated like one. I’m not going to be treated like a little kid staying at a hostel.
So I always ask hosts if there are any other rules I should know and if guests are allowed over.
I want a double confirmation to ensure no issues arise.
I also make sure the deposit situation is covered, as some hosts try to be sneaky about getting a cash deposit — which is complete and utter bullshit, and against the rules on the platform.
6. Ask For a Speed Test
This is an Airbnb tip for anyone making money online.
You always want to have decent Internet in the Airbnb rental – even if you plan to use a co-working space or cafe to get work done.
As such, I always ask the host for a screenshot of the Internet speeds at the apartment.
In the Airbnb app, you can send photos and screenshots.
All a host has to do is download the SpeedTest.net app and run one test from inside the apartment.
Then screenshot you the photo on the Airbnb app, like this…
It's simple and should take 5 minutes.
If you work online and a host cannot provide that screenshot for you, then it's not an Airbnb rental you want to stay in.
Te lo juro.
7. Check Cancelation Policy
Your trip might get delayed or cancelled.
So always worthwhile to check the cancellation policy on any rental you’re about to book.
While any booking longer than 28-days is essentially a write off due to Airbnb’s bullshit “long-stay” cancellation policies — shorter stays vary.
Some hosts allow cancelations and some don’t, so you gotta read the full policy before booking.
Hotels vs. Airbnb
A lot of this comes down to personal preference…
I have friends who refuse to stay in anything but Marriott Hotels.
I have other friends who need a fookin’ chefs kitchen before booking an Airbnb — and wouldn’t even consider a hotel for more than a weekend.
For single bros traveling around, the biggest differences between hotels and Airbnbs come down to two things…
The majority of hotels don’t have great balconies with views.
The majority of hotels don’t have kitchens, much less fully-stocked kitchens ideal for having females cook for you.
On the flipside…
Hotels have more availably, better cancelation policies on long-stays, and more amenities like gyms, pools, restaurant on-site, etc.
Hotels are just easier.
Also, if something fucks up at a hotel, they’ll fix it immediately in most cases — or switch your room.
That’s rare on Airbnb!
Ultimately, this comes down to personal preference and how long you’re staying.
Personally, I prefer hotels for anything under a month these days when rolling solo. 1-3 month stays Airbnb is often ideal.
Harder Than You’d Think…
While booking Airbnbs should be insanely simple, the platform does some dumb shit to “protect” hosts and allows some asinine rules from time-to-time.
By following the guidelines above, you’ll be sure to book a sweet spot that won’t cause you any headaches during your stay.
And hopefully, avoid taking showers on a rooftop while your neighbors watch ;(
Ya tu sabes,