Is Airbnb safe? Check out these tips to improve security on your next vacation.
More and more, people are looking to set out and explore new destinations, immerse themselves in the local culture, and learn more about the people who live in those places. This is why Airbnb, the peer-to-peer marketplace that allows people to rent homes and spaces from one another, is rising in popularity.
Airbnb allows homeowners and property owners to rent rooms, apartments, houses and other unique rental spaces to interested travelers. Most hosts offer these spaces at an affordable cost, and many of them are located in the neighborhoods in which people are looking to travel. On the flip side, renters are able to select from a wide range of rooms and experiences on the Airbnb marketplace, usually finding a unique accommodation for a great price.
For many travelers today, taking a vacation is about more than scoring a cheap hotel room in the center of a big city in order to hit the most popular tourist destinations and attractions. However, as this is a peer-to-peer transaction, there is an element of risk.
Check Out Your Options and Learn More About Them
It’s important that you do more than look at a couple of photos on an available rental and check out the price. These are not hotel rooms — you do not have the same guarantee that you would if you were booking at a large chain hotel. You need to explore the profile of the home you are considering, and get in-depth details about it.
Airbnb includes profile verifications that hosts can earn in order to improve their reputation on the site. If you come across a rental that you are interested in that does not have these verifications, you can request that they complete them prior to moving forward. In addition to reading the profile thoroughly, you also will want to look at renter reviews and at any social media pages for the rental.
Have Realistic and Accurate Expectations
Remember that you are renting someone else’s home or room — you aren’t booking a room at a local bed and breakfast, or at a boutique hotel. You can’t expect that you are going to walk into a plethora of amenities, or homemade treats, or tiny little toiletries perfectly-sized for your stay. By understanding the concept of home sharing, you will have clear expectations of what to expect when you arrive. This allows you to feel comfortable and confident while you stay in a new place.
Don’t Be Afraid to Communicate with Hosts
In fact, you are encouraged to communicate with hosts both prior to booking and after you have finalized your reservation. Airbnb recommends that all renters communicate with hosts on the Airbnb messaging system. This ensures that all messages are recorded within the marketplace. Ultimately, if there are any security issues that occur, you can work with Airbnb employees who will have access to the message history.
By communicating with your host, you will have a better idea of what to expect when you arrive, the safest places to visit once you get there, and any local destinations that you might want to check out (or avoid) while you are traveling.
Be Honest About Yourself on Your Profile
While Airbnb renters can rate hosts and review them based on their own experiences, hosts can do the same for renters. It’s important that you provide open and honest information about yourself, much like you would expect from the host. However, if you feel that a host is asking you an uncomfortable or inappropriate question about your personality or background, you can reach out to Airbnb to report the incident.
If your hope is to continue to use Airbnb over and over again to explore new places, you will want to be a considerate guest in order to earn great reviews from your hosts.
Consider Purchasing Traveler’s Insurance
Traveler’s insurance can be beneficial, whether you are going near or far. Airbnb doesn’t offer traveler’s insurance policies to renters who are booking over the marketplace. However, many travelers can purchase policies from other providers who will cover their losses in the event of illness or injury while traveling. This can give you the confidence that you need to truly enjoy your vacation, while also providing you with necessary protection as you go out and explore the world.
Trust Your Instincts
If something doesn’t feel right with a reservation, do not book it. And remember: in an emergency situation, or if your personal safety is threatened, contact local police or emergency services immediately.
Whether you’re looking to leave the hustle of Los Angeles to explore the natural wonder of Yosemite, or you’re a San Francisco local who just wants to check out a new perspective within your own city, if you keep these useful tips in mind, you shouldn’t have trouble scoring a safe place to do it all.
Is your next vacation looking more like a staycation? Why not check out some tips for keeping your home safe. Download our free fact sheet 20 Facts Every Homeowner Should Know.
Thinking about switching roles and becoming an Airbnb host? Read our companion post Is Airbnb Safe? Security Tips for Airbnb Hosts.