Booking long-term travel can be quite a task. You may be skeptical that it will actually look like the photos, or you may be doubtful that you can even find a place that meets your requirements. Long-term travel accommodation is more of a commitment, so it’s important to get exactly what you are looking for and will serve your needs while you’re traveling. Learn how to use Airbnb’s booking system to the best of your ability to have a successful and comfortable long-term stay, wherever you go…
Use the filters
To find the best Airbnb for you, utilize the filters! Figure out the ‘musts’ (non-negotiables), ‘nice-to-haves,’ and the not necessary.
Questions to ask yourself when considering what filters to use:
Are you going somewhere hot? If so, you may want air conditioning and a pool.
Are a washer and dryer a must?
Do you need a kitchen?
What’s your price range?
What type of place do you want – The entire home, a hotel room, or a private room within a house
Examples of filters to use for long-term travel
Air conditioning/ceiling fan
First, it’s best to start with your non-negotiables, and if you find multiple places that you love (remember to save the Airbnbs that fit best so you can go back to them later), then you can decide on which place you’ll choose by comparing the price and the extra amenities as well as the reviews, photos, and talking with the host.
Read the reviews
As a good rule of thumb, don’t bother looking at an Airbnb if it has less than 10 reviews. There should be enough reviews so that you feel confident that you are getting the full picture of the Airbnb accommodation. Look for at least 15 reviews, and read each one.
That way, you’re getting a good idea of what the place offers. Lengthy reviews are appreciated, and especially when someone says they had a long stay there. Also, one bad review shouldn’t scare you off, depending on what the complaint is. Take into consideration the ratio of bad to good reviews.
Study the photos
Quality photos are a must when choosing an Airbnb, especially for a long-term stay since you are essentially renting an apartment or house without seeing it in person. Ensure the listing has at least 15-30 quality photos, and pay attention to how they show each room. Are they hiding the windows? That could mean there’s something blocking the view. Are the photos seamless? The photos and furniture should be the same in each photo to ensure it’s the same unit.
To go a bit beyond looking at the photos on Airbnb, visit Instagram. This is easier to do if you are looking at apartments since the name of the apartment/condo will usually be in the Airbnb listing (or in the photos). Go to the ‘places’ tab on the search page, and search the apartment name and city you are staying. Hopefully, you find a few pictures that have been geotagged, which will be a more realistic depiction of the listing compared to the professionally staged photos on Airbnb.
You know the city you’d like to stay in, but what about the area within the city? It’s important to look at the map within the Airbnb listing to get a rough idea of where the listing is located. Airbnb will show the whereabouts of each listing, so visit Google Maps to search what’s in your potential neighborhood.
View the restaurants, grocery stores, landmarks, and attractions in the area to assess if the location will work for you. Also, a quick Google search of the neighborhood to determine safety is always a good idea.
Read the entire description written by the host, and make sure it’s informative and detailed. Sometimes lengthy descriptions will sneak in that you will have to pay for electricity at the end of your long stay, so make sure you read the description in its entirety.
Read the description of each room. Good things to note is if the TV offers Chromecast or Netflix (which usually will mean you have to login into your own account, so don’t forget to log out when you leave!) If you are using a kitchen, make sure you see in the photos or description that the kitchen provides sufficient pots, pans, and other kitchen devices you may need (blender, dishwasher, microwave).
Take a look at the list of amenities to ensure everything you want is there. Scroll to the bottom of the list, and you will see what is not included. It’s usually crossed out.
Message the host
Message the host with a question/concern you may have, and they will get back to you in less than 24 hours. This is great to do because it usually means the host will pre-approve me for the rental and the date you are inquiring about.
Possible questions to ask the host
Do I have to pay for electricity?
Are paddleboards, kayaks, bicycles, etc., provided?
Is the couch a sofa bed?
Can a guest spend the night or a week with me?
Does the kitchen come with ___?
Booking the Airbnb
As your search for the best long-term Airbnb rental winds down, you’ll need to begin comparing all the listings you’ve saved. A go-to tip when comparing accommodation (on a budget) is to nix the ones that cost the most. As your list becomes shorter, compare what each listing offers: layout, furniture, location, and extra amenities (bike, yoga mat, blender, etc). Narrow down your choices until you have your favorites. It’s always nice to have one or two as back-ups in case the place gets booked, or for whatever reason, you don’t get approved, and apply!
The Bottom Line
No matter where you travel, these tips can be applied any time you are in need of travel accommodation. With all the options available when we travel, there’s no reason not to stay in a home that best suits your needs. Enjoy your travels!