Airbnb is one of the largest short term holiday rental platforms in the world, offering millions of travellers a safe and affordable alternative to traditional hotels.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in any city, whether it’s for a vacation or work trip, Airbnb connects you with private property owners who are looking for people to rent their houses or rooms to. The platform calls these people hosts.
When booking through Airbnb, the platform facilitates communication and payment between you – as a guest – and your host. These hosts aren’t traditional hotels and are usually ordinary homeowners willing to rent out their holiday home or make some cash off a spare room.
For you, this offers an extremely cost-effective solution for when you’re backpacking across Europe or spending a short weekend away in a new city. This guide will tell you all you need to know to get started booking your first Airbnb rental in minutes.
Finding the perfect destination
To begin, let’s look at where you’d like to go. If you know exactly where and when you’d like to go away, you can easily input this information to find Airbnb rentals suitable for you.
To start – go to Airbnb.com and enter the location and your check-in dates.
Enter your specific city and when you’d like to go. Entering the right number of guests will help Airbnb find the right size property for you.
Are you unsure of where you’d like to go?
No worries, Airbnb has a great discovery feature. Simply click on the Location tab and hit the I’m flexible button.
This will give you a list of interesting getaway ideas for you to have a look at. By default, these listings are probably going to be either too far away, too outlandish or too expensive to be realistic options.
Click the Filters button to explore the options (like budget, property type, location etc.) to narrow down the search.
Searching in a specific city
Most people who use Airbnb already know where they’d like to stay and for how long. Simply enter the city you’d like to stay in. For this demonstration, I’m going to look for places in the sin city, Las Vegas Nevada.
Tap Check-In to pick your dates. You can input exact dates – although if you’re flexible on when to go, pick I’m flexible.
This will let you pick your desired month and how long you’d like to stay. Airbnb will then show you the best options within these dates.
You’ll then be shown a list of options to choose from:
If you’d prefer, you can look at all of the options on a map by tapping the ‘Show map’ button.
At the top of the screen, you can select the specific details of your search.
This includes the type of place: whether you’re renting just a room, the entire place or if you’re staying in a hotel. It’s important to keep note of which type of place each listing is before booking.
You can also select other common desirables including free parking, Wi-Fi or even a hot tub!
Once you’ve found a rental place that suits you, go ahead and click it to open the listing page.
Have a careful look through this page, taking note of the amenities on offer. You can also check the reviews left by past visitors to gauge whether a place is worth staying at. In general, it’s not a great idea to stay at places that are rated poorly or have no reviews.
If you have some more questions about a particular place, scroll down to the bottom of the page to contact the host.
Reserving a room
Once you’ve found the right place and have confirmed it is available for your desired dates, it’s time to reserve it.
Start off by clicking Reserve – you’ll then be prompted to make an account if you don’t already have one. You’ll be asked to provide details such as your name, email, and date of birth. You may also be asked to verify your ID before making a reservation. Moreover, some hosts require you to upload a profile picture so they know who to look out for!
Next, you’ll fill out your request to book. Some hosts will let you book immediately, while others prefer you get in touch first.
You will also see the breakdown in the price details. This will show you what additional fees you are paying for in your total cost. This may include a cleaning, service, or even a pet fee if you’re bringing your four-legged pal!
If you’re booking now, you can pay in full using your credit or debit card, or through PayPal. Airbnb also offers the option to pay part now, part later.
Enter your information and I highly recommend that you read the cancellation policy. You can also write a short message to your host letting them know why you’re travelling when you’ll check-in and any other info.
Once that’s all done, your request will be sent to your host for them to confirm. Once they’ve accepted your request, the place is yours! Feel free to message your host with any questions or information, and they’ll get back to you through Airbnb.
Depending on the host, you will receive the exact address and arrival details 1-2 days before your stay. That way, you know how to get in to your Airbnb.
It’s that simple! That’s how to book an Airbnb in minutes!
Book on the go with the Smartphone App!
Did you know you can now book easily on your smartphone using the Airbnb app? It’s free to download from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store.
The process is fairly similar to booking online. To get started, make an account and sign in on the app.
Then, tap Explore. Using the Search (🔎) bar, you can enter your desired destination to look at hosts in that city. You can also use the app to look for cool experiences and excursions for your trip.
Once you’ve found a listing – either through list view or through the map view, just like the website – you can hit Check Availability to enter your desired dates.
If the place is available, and you’re happy with the reviews, click Reserve to make the booking. The process is exactly the same here as it is with the website. Enter your payment details and also leave a short note to your host. Your request will be sent to your host for approval.
The Airbnb app makes it super easy to keep in touch with your host before your visit – allowing for push notifications when you receive a message. Downloading the app is a great idea for any prolific traveller.
And that’s it, that’s how to book an Airbnb for your next trip in minutes through their web portal, or through the Airbnb mobile app. You can also use Airbnb to look for things to do during your trip. It’s classified as ‘Experiences’ by the app.
A new feature they’ve just added is ‘Online Experiences’. The most popular bookings here are travel experts lending their time to help you plan your next getaway. Other options are online cooking classes and even an online escape room! Get started at Airbnb.com today to book your next adventure.