Whenever we travel, we love to get as close to the local experience as possible. Hotels are fine, but when traveling with kids, renting a property is a much better option. That’s why we love using Airbnb for families.
My husband and I are what you would call early adopters of Airbnb. We started using it in 2009 when we were living on the east coast, and looking for places to stay during weekend trips to New York.
Back then, it was still a relatively new site operating in only a few cities. Now Airbnb has grown to many countries around the world, and is recommended by a number of travel bloggers out there.
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Using Airbnb for families
From our experiences, Airbnb is not without its hits and misses. We’ve stayed at some sketchy places that didn’t quite live up to our expectations. But for the most part, our experiences with Airbnb have been positive ones. For those of you new to the Airbnb scene, here are eight tips for using Airbnb for families.
Check out the reviews
One of the things that makes Airbnb work so well is the reviews. They help potential renters get a sense of what the property is actually like. When traveling with a family, it’s even more important that you stay at a place you feel comfortable in, so make it a habit of reading the reviews when making your decision of where to tent.
Accept the pictures with a grain of salt
Along the same lines as reading the reviews, make sure you look at the pictures to see what you’re getting. With that said, do keep in mind that the pictures are also meant to entice. We have stayed at places that looked great in the pictures, but turned out to be somewhat average in real life, or much smaller than we expected.
Try to book the entire space when using Airbnb for families
When traveling with family, having a certain level of privacy is important, especially if you’re traveling with young kids. We recommend looking for rentals that allow you to book the entire place.
This gives you and your family a little more space, and you don’t have to worry about your baby waking up the owners at three in the morning. If you can’t get the entire place, the next best thing is a private room.
Research the neighborhoods
Always do your research before booking a rental, especially when your using Airbnb for families. It’s important to make sure the neighborhood you’re staying at is one that feels comfortable for your family. If you have the address or the general neighborhood, Google street view is a great tool to use to see what the neighborhood is like. Also, use sites like Yelp to see what stores and restaurants are in the area.
Don’t be afraid to try something unique
There are some pretty interesting rentals out there, from houseboats to campers to treehouses. Renting through Airbnb is definitely a great opportunity for you to try out some of these unique lodging options. And especially with kids in tow, it’s a wonderful chance for them to experience something new.
Communicate with the owner
This is probably one of the most important tips for using Airbnb for families. Before booking accommodations, I always reach out to the owners with some additional questions. I let them know upfront that I am traveling with kids.
In some cases, you may find out that a particular rental is not well suited for children. This happened when we were looking for rentals in New York. There was one that looked great in the pictures, but we were informed by the owner that it probably wouldn’t have much room for a crib.
In other cases, as was the case when we booked a rental in Berkeley, the owners were more accommodating to us because of our kids. They even brought us some toys for our daughter and son to play with. The take home lesson here is to always communicate with the owner.
Treat it like your own home
Remember that when you’re using Airbnb for families, you’re most likely renting someone’s home. This is not a hotel room. While the owner will more than likely be as accommodating to your needs as they can, don’t expect the same type of service as you would at a hotel.
Along similar lines, treating the Airbnb like your own home means taking the same type of safety precautions as you would at home. For us, that means traveling with a travel carbon monoxide detector. Like at home, these devices help us make sure that the air we breath in the Airbnb is safe.
Also, be respectful of the space that you’re renting. If you accidentally break something during your stay, let the owner know. Clean up after yourself, and make sure the place looks the way it did when you first got there. Renters get rated too. Leaving a good impression with the owner will help influence your ratings as a renter on Airbnb.
Give honest feedback
Speaking of ratings, don’t forget to review your rental after your stay. This may not directly affect your own stay, but will be helpful for future renters. If there was an issue with a part of your stay, mention it in the review. A good owner will take that feedback and improve upon it for future rentals.
Be honest, but don’t be mean. Think of it as giving suggestions to the owner on how they can improve, while also telling future renters what they can expect from the property.
Making travel more memorable by using Airbnb for families
These eight tips are what we’ve learned from using Airbnb for families. Over the past six years that we’ve been using Airbnb, we’ve found that more and more, we’ve relied on Airbnb to meet our accommodation needs rather than going with the standard hotel options.
Our experiences with Airbnb have made our travel more unique and memorable. How about making some of your own memorable Airbnb experiences.
My family and I love Airbnb, and we think you will too. If you’re thinking about using Airbnb, click here to get $20 off your first Airbnb rental.
Have you had experience using Airbnb on your family travels? Share your thoughts on Airbnb for families!
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