Why I use Airbnb & Tips for when you stay

I am writing about this because I have actually just booked an Airbnb for Monday night in the city. We have an early morning appointment on Tuesday and we decided to take advantage of the trip to enjoy a romantic dinner in the city without rushing back afterwards. This isn’t my first time using Airbnb, nor will it be my last, but it can be quite nerve-wracking trying something new or different, so here’s some of my tips about using this online service.


What is Airbnb?

Airbnb is an online accommodation website that I have been using for three years now, but it’s been available since 2008. The site allows residential property owners to enlist their property for daily, weekly or monthly rentals. In fact, I even have a property online in my hometown, Durban, South Africa, which I am able to run from Canada, and I hope to have one running one day in Canada too. I enjoy hosting guests from all around the world an making new friends. It’s an incredible experience and if you’re at all interested in travelling and meeting locals around the world, you should sign up too.

Sign up here for free, and you’ll receive $40 CAD free travel credit on Airbnb!

How Does it Work?

You can search online for a particular property in a specific town or city that you will be visiting. You can narrow down your search according to neighbourhood, budget, number of bedrooms and the type of property (private room or enter property).

Once you’ve found exactly what you’re looking for, you either request to book or message the Host to enquire about you stay. The Host will usually have to accept your booking before it will be confirmed and the payment will be processed. However, that also means that a Host can reject your request.

Rejects usually result from uncompleted profiles or lack of reviews on your own profile. In other words, if you’d like to ensure you don’t get rejected, put up an actual photo of yourself in your profile; flesh out your profile by adding something about you and your interests; give your potential Hosts something to work with – it goes a long way in contributing to their willingness to let you into their property when they know something about you.

There are a few benefits to the service.
  1. Sometimes an Airbnb rental provides you with a bit more space than a hotel room. And for this reason, it can also be a great option for families with kids.
  2. You can meet locals & experience a neighbourhood as a local.
  3. I find that I can trust reviews of Airbnb apartments more than Booking.com and the like. When a host has a golden medal and/or a gazillion great reviews, then I usually know we’re in good hands!
  4. I enjoy being able to pay the price of a bed and that’s it. Airbnb’s are usually cheaper than hotels. Sometimes, I find hotel prices a bit ridiculous on a vacation where we spend more time walking about than we actually spend in the room.
  5. I also love the way Airbnb has set up their payments online using a credit card, with ease, and no awkward money-handovers. But note, this also means that you cannot pay in cash – so don’t ask to do that either.
That being said, there are times when I don’t use Airbnb.

That’s usually when I find hotels that are in the same price bracket. My Airbnb property (also, an actual B & B) in my hometown, Durban, South Africa (here’s a peak) has presented me with insight to both sides of being a Guest and a Host. With hosting your own guests, you come to a realisation pretty soon that some people still expect hotel amenities and standards. One thing is for sure, an Airbnb is no hotel and don’t expect it to be. And if I had one piece of advice for a potential Guest, it’s book a hotel if you’re looking for that kind of experience.

If you choose the Airbnb Route:

Try to keep an open mind and embrace the uniqueness of the experience rather than focusing on all of the amenities you might have had in a hotel.

Here are some simple tips I live by when booking an Airbnb:
  1. First off, check out the reviews. Scan more than a few.
  2. Then, check your host’s profile, verification, and reviews. Your Host’s approach should give you nothing but confidence in staying with them. If not, find another Airbnb.
  3. Also, filter your options by deciding what you want from your Airbnb stay: an entire apartment or just a private room? Wifi or no? How many bedrooms and what kind of beds? (Sometimes it’s just a couch, so be aware)
  4. Read the rules of an Airbnb apartment. They are there for a reason.
  5. Once you’ve found a space you like, message the Host and tell them why you’re in town, who will be staying there and what time you estimate that you will be arriving. Now is also the time to ask questions: like is there parking on the premises, will someone meet us there or is it a key-less lock?
  6. Airbnb keeps contact information under lock and key for the most part. If the Host has an emergency and has to cancel, you won’t know unless you check your email. Don’t neglect the only source of communication between you and the Host.
  7. Show up with an open-mind, ON TIME. Again, remember, it’s not a hotel. You cannot expect your Host to wait around for you all day. Stick to your agreed time of arrival and if anything changes, always keep in touch with the Host.
  8. On that same point, be respectful, it’s someone else’s house. And remember, they will be reviewing you! Follow the House Rules you read above. Leave the property the way you found it. Clean and tidy.
  9. Don’t forget to review your Host, so that they can review you.

DON’T FORGET: If you sign up using this link, you’ll receive $40 CAD free travel credit on Airbnb!



Excited for our mini-getaway,




3 thoughts on “Why I use Airbnb & Tips for when you stay

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