10 Tips for Booking an Airbnb for Solo Travel

How to save money, be safe, and have a great experience!

Ready to take that solo trip, but you’re intimidated about where to stay? An Airbnb can be a great solution! I’ve been booking airbnb properties for myself for several years now and I’ve found it to be a great way to go, especially for single people. Single people have more flexibility when traveling than do families because you don’t need a lot of space and you’re not worried about finding the right place for the kids. Unlike hotels you’re not paying for beds you won’t use and you can find places for rent in nicer, safer neighborhoods. If you’ve never taken the Airbnb plunge, here are my tips for booking the right place.

  1. Start your search by putting in your budget. After you’ve said where and when you want to go, the next thing you’ll want to enter is your budget (click “Filters”). This is a great feature in Airbnb because it allows you to see only properties in your price range. So instead of sifting through hundreds of options you may only have to choose among a dozen or so. Beware that the cleaning fee, and taxes (usually 10-12%), are not included so figure that into your budget.
  2. You’ll also want to indicate what type of place you want. After you enter your budget, you can select the type of place you want – entire place, private room, or shared room. Entire places usually cost the most, but you’ll have the most autonomy. I’ve never chosen the shared room option, because that’s not really me, but you can save some money this way and also make friends. The private room option can be a nice, money-saving compromise. A lot of times this will be called a “guest suite,” which will have a sleeping area and a private bathroom, with access to a shared living space and kitchen. However, guest suites may also have a TV area with a small sofa or chair and a “kitchen” area with a coffee maker, microwave or small fridge. This may be enough for your stay and you can save money over having an “entire place.” There are many other filters you can apply to get what you want, but beware of getting too specific, as it can knock a lot of properties out of the running that might actually suit you just fine.
  3. Find out if the hosts are “built-in.” Sometimes your hosts will be right on the property, which can be good from a safety standpoint, or sometimes they’ll be next door or down the street. That will usually be indicated in the description of the property, but if not, ask. They can give you tips on sights to see, where to eat, where to go and not go. It takes a bit of the “I’ll be all alone” worry out of your trip.
  4. Message your hosts. You have the option of messaging the hosts before you book to ask them any questions you may have. I’m usually working when I travel, so even if the description says there’s high-speed internet, I always verify that and let them know I’ll be working. I’ve also traveled with pets and I make sure that’s okay, too. You can ask questions about shared walls, the noise level and safety of neighborhood, your access to the property, and where you’ll park your car. It’s a good idea to come up with a few questions so you get a feel for the hosts. Are they responsive? Do they sound welcoming and friendly? It will put your mind at ease to know someone’s waiting to welcome you to their place.
  5. Look for nice neighborhoods. You won’t be given the actual address of the property until you book, but you’ll be given a general location on a map. Go to Google maps and see if you can determine where it is. Use the photo option to get a look at the neighborhood. You’ll get a feel for what it’s like this way. You can also point blank ask your hosts – is the neighborhood safe, is it quiet, etc. Another option is to do an online search of crime rates for the area. I sort of did this by accident once and found out the place I was going to had a very high crime rate. I was able to cancel the reservation and was so relieved!
  6. Find a place that’s pet-friendly. If you feel more comfortable traveling with your dog, find a place that accepts pets. These are harder to find, of course, but they do exist. Verify the details of your pet staying with you in case there’s an extra charge or a rule that your pet can’t be left alone in the property.
  7. Beware of shared walls. These can be actual walls, or people living or staying above or below you. Sometimes the property will be separated from the host’s home or other rental units by a garage or pass-thru, or sometimes they’ll be built above the garage. If you’re sensitive to noise like I am, you want to iron out these details with the hosts. You can tell a lot from the photos, assuming they have good ones.
  8. Read the reviews! People are usually pretty honest about things like space, location, safety, noise, issues with the property, and responsiveness/friendliness of the host. If the same things keep coming up over and over, you might decide to steer clear.
  9. Look for places that offer free cancellation 30 days out. Once you book most Airbnb properties, you have 48 hours to cancel and that’s it. This can be tough if you’re even slightly unsure about your travel plans. And you need to book early for the best selection of properties. But some hosts offer free cancellation 30 days in advance of your stay.
  10. Get travel insurance. If you’re booking a longer stay, your best bet is to get travel insurance as soon as you book a property. It generally costs $75-$100, but that’s nothing compared to the $2,000 you might end up losing if something happens and you can’t make your trip. Look for exactly what reasons it covers for cancellation.

There you have it, my top 10 tips for booking the right Airbnb property and taking some of the expense and anxiety out of planning a solo trip. Always remember that your hosts are available to answer any questions you may have!

Leslie Kaz, coach for single women

I help single women get from where they are to where they want to be by overcoming their sadness and starting to live their best lives through mindset and lifestyle changes. Contact me to learn how it’s possible to live a single, blissful life.

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