What You Need to Know BEFORE Arriving at Your Airbnb: Part 2 (European Edition)
It’s no secret, I’m sort of obsessed with Airbnb – booking an apartment or a room through Airbnb is ideal for short-term and long-term trips. Why? First, you get access to a kitchen – you’ll be saving on meals by cooking and you’ll be eating more fresh produce thanks to the (virtually) always-included fridge. Some other perks might be: complimentary wine and homemade snacks, a wonderful host who loves to cook and you end up getting a free lesson (and meals), handmade soaps by your crafty host, adorable animal friends for the weekend… things you wouldn’t otherwise experience at your regular hotel. So yes – Airbnb is a great alternative to hotels or hostels for your accommodation. But there are some things you need to know before arriving at your Airbnb.
You can read the first post I wrote on this subject here.
After spending two months in Europe, across 8 countries and 11 different Airbnb rooms/apartments in different cities and towns, I have a few more things I’d like to share with you, my fellow travellers. Here are the 3 things you need to know BEFORE arriving at your Airbnb:
Are there any additional fees?
When booking through Airbnb, all costs are supposed to be included in the final price. Your host should NOT be charging you for any extras. But unfortunately, that might not always be the case. I did have a host who charged extra per day for access to Wi-Fi and extra on top of that if I went over the allowance of her providers daily data limit. As a travel blogger, of COURSE I went over that limit. Lesson learned: when you travel, be sure to ask your host if the Wi-Fi is included and unlimited. Nowadays, most places should have unlimited Wi-Fi (especially if it says so in their amenities tab).
Note that some cities in Europe have a tourist tax. Most hosts include the cost of the tax in the listed price. Other Airbnb hosts will charge you cash for the tax – when and if they do, it is usually included in their listing description. To be sure, ask before booking. If you do have to pay cash, you can now be sure to set the funds aside right away and not be left short. Know that you can also ask for a receipt.
Has anything changed since the apartment/room photos were taken (or changes to the amenity list)?
I’ve almost always been delightfully surprised upon arriving at my booked Airbnb – the places I’ve stayed at have been even bigger and more beautiful than they appeared in the photos. On occasion, a host has changed the single bed to a double (score!). There has been new furniture or a fresh coat of paint. A change can be good news!
Other times, a change can disrupt your trip. For example, if you’ve been traveling for a while (without a washing machine) and have booked an apartment with a washing machine… let’s just say that you’ll be looking forward to that washing machine. Upon arrival, you learn that the washing machine doesn’t work, has to be repaired, has disappeared…what have you. It’ll put a damper on your plans when you have to spend half a day at a laundromat – especially when you hadn’t planned for it! Needless to say, ask about any changes in amenities or updates to the room.
How and when can I be let in?
Unlike a hotel, you can’t just walk into an Airbnb apartment (which might be one of the reasons why it’s safer… but that’s for another time!). You and your host will need to clearly communicate the meeting time, place and the how for your arrival. If they are unable to meet you, they will either provide you with instructions to find the key or have you greeted by a reliable friend/family member. This clear plan will save you the money of having to text them several times or even worse, opening your data to message them via Airbnb. But do save their number in your phone… just in case you do need to message or call them. It’ll cost a TON less than using data.
What have you learned to ask before arriving at your Airbnb in Europe? What type of accommodation do you prefer when you travel?