Once you have your destination mapped out and you have the flight tickets ready, the next step would be to get yourself a place to stay. The in-thing nowadays is couchsurfing; travelling and staying in someone else’s apartment or sharing a room (couch). There are a number of websites that allow you to choose where and whom you want to stay with, among those Roomorama and my favourite — AirBnb.
I am not a fussy traveller and basically what I look for are: convenience, cost and cleanliness (in that particular order of importance). So for the trip to Europe, I chose to stay with AirBnb in Paris and also in Rome. The rest were hotels in Amsterdam and Munich, while I splurged for a stay in Venice since it was with my parents.
Convenience, cost and cleanliness
First of all, you need to sign up in order to proceed with any bookings and to interact with the owner. By signing up, you could also rent out your own apartment or rooms, so it is a two-way process once you have registered. Pop in the place you want to go, the dates and the number of people in your group, the website will do the rest. Then you can rearrange the suggestions given according to your taste, either by AirBnb’s recommendation, the cost or even according to the neighbourhood that you prefer.
In my case, I decided to rent a whole apartment, all to myself. I still prefer the privacy of having a place to stay without barging into someone else’s life. Although you can still choose to do otherwise. Having a local around to help you out is an advantage, he/she is probably a phone call away, they could always point you to certain places that they like and you could also hang out with them. Please remember that most of the house or room owners have their own lives, they probably have a 9-to-5 job, so they might take some time to reply you. If you have certain requests, either with the check in and check out times, or anything at all, try to have it settled via e-mail or through AirBnb’s own messaging system before making the plunge.
They probably have a 9-to-5 job, so it might take some time to get a reply
Be sure to check the amenities offered (free wi-fi, washing machine, towels), the size of the apartment and also the pictures provided by the homeowner. If you are pleased with what you see and what you will get, confirm the reservations with the homeowner. Once he/she has confirmed your booking, the amount is deducted from your credit card but will only be paid in full upon your actual rental date (I think). If you are still worried, let me assure you that AirBnb have safeguards in place to help you out with any errant homeowner, as long as you follow AirBnb’s instructions, which include, NO payment outside of the AirBnb system.
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