How to use Airbnb safely

Tips for travellers using Airbnb for the first time.

Only a decade ago, when planning a vacation, you probably wouldn’t consider the option of staying in the home of a stranger. Now it’s one of the most popular ways to travel.

Airbnb is used by thousands of people every day. It is easy to book, widely available and often much cheaper than booking a hotel — among other benefits of staying in holiday apartments.

When it comes to safety there are some guidelines you should follow to ensure your vacation is an enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to ensure you enjoy a safe and comfortable stay with Airbnb.

Read the reviews carefully

This might sound obvious but it’s not just about looking at one positive review and booking that accommodation right away. In general, the reviews tend to be positive, so if one review is negative, add weight to that over other positive reviews.

Always pay through Airbnb

It is important to only communicate and make transactions with an Airbnb host via the official website. If anything goes wrong outside of the site, Airbnb won’t be able to help you. Airbnb has been cleverly developed to safely accommodate any communication or transaction that would usually go on between guest and host. A request to communicate or make transactions outside of this platform should be considered suspicious.

Treat it like any other holiday

Airbnb uses the idea of ‘feeling like a local’ to attract customers looking for an authentic experience that is quite different from staying in a hotel. However, it is important to remember that you are not in fact a local and to act accordingly. This means planning ahead and doing research about the area before you arrive. Is the accommodation in a safe area? What are some of the most common dangers you should avoid in that particular place? Make sure to tell friends and family where you are going just as you would on any other trip.

Ask questions about general safety

Remember that when you are using Airbnb you are putting your trust in the process. Hosts do have safety guidelines to follow, however unlike hotels they do not have to undergo inspection. The best way to ensure your safety is by asking ahead. Question your host about fire alarms, and first aid kits and the general neighbourhood.

If you are travelling with children double check with the host to ensure the accommodation is child-friendly. Airbnb has a partnership with a website called ‘Safe Kids Worldwide’ which lists common safety guidelines for a child safe house. Often hosts will list whether or not their house is child-friendly but it is certainly worth double checking.