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Airbnb newbie - help, please!

Lewes, United...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 8,101
reviews: 40
Airbnb newbie - help, please!

I'm considering using 'airbnb' for an apartment rental for a vacation. I have never used this service before so am looking for help, tips, advise, etc.

Firstly, are there any issues with using the service in the first place, please?

Then, provided it's OK to use this organisation, are there any advice about things to check and take precautions about regarding payments, owners, hidden fees, other charges, or other aspects of the actual booking process that I should be observant about?

How easy is it to get owners to respond to enquiries via the online dialogue boxes? As I'm looking to book in a country with a very different time zone and where English isn't the local language, I don't think a phone call will help me, so I need to get all my info from the website or the messaging feature.

Any other advice and recommendations much appreciated.

Thank you.

5 replies to this topic
Oklahoma City...
posts: 12
reviews: 7
1. Re: Airbnb newbie - help, please!

We used airbnb for the first time earlier this year. We found a great price on a place in the SF area. I had looked in SF proper but eventually went with one on the pacific highway coast. It was great and we will be going back. Since our trip, I have heard from friends that they had good experiences as well and probably will not stay in a hotel in a major US again. Just remember to look thru the reviews. You might ask for an email when you send a message. We definitely will be looking at airbnb.com next time we take a trip. Where are you wanting to go?

Portland, Oregon
posts: 9,231
reviews: 38
2. Re: Airbnb newbie - help, please!

I think that most people using Airbnb are pretty good with English - at least that's been my experience when researching Airbnb rentals in Bangkok and Istanbul. I rented very successfully in Istanbul and New York (the Bangkok place did not work out because of dates). What I like is that all charges are clearly displayed (you do pay upfront). It's important to read those reviews. I'm pretty picky, and will not rent the newer listings without reviews, with few pictures, or poorly worded posts. Ask many questions of your potential host, and if you have the least doubt, simply choose another listing. Be careful with the location - research very carefully.

I had a complaint after I returned home concerning the Istanbul apartment, and the staff at Airbnb handled the problem immediately and very professionally. Airbnb is extremely safe, and I saved many many dollars over using hotels. Remember that a good host can be invaluable if you have never been to that city/country before.

Jasper, Canada
Destination Expert
for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
posts: 11,858
reviews: 80
3. Re: Airbnb newbie - help, please!

One thing to be aware of is that there is no guarantee that any property listed on airbnb is operating within local laws - there may be business licensing bylaws, or zoning ordinances that prohibit home owners or tenants from offering nightly accommodation to paying visitors, or in the case of an apartment, if it is in a condominium, the owner may be flouting the condo bylaws in renting it out nightly. There have been stories in the news lately about some jurisdictions cracking down on illegal nightly rentals. (Montreal, Canada, for one.)

Lewes, United...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 8,101
reviews: 40
4. Re: Airbnb newbie - help, please!

Thanks for the new responses.

Where I'm looking is Seoul, S Korea. Because of huge language differences few Koreans speak good English, and I'm in a dialogue with two property owners, but I'm strugging to get my questions answered. One resorts to repost info already on the main board of that property listing, the other carefully responds in such a way that the answers are not very information (probably using Google translate!).

It seems SK is known to Airbnb as a potential 'problem area' so much so that the website invite prospective renters to call their USA offices to confirm details and book/make payment. As a Brit, this doesn't help me too much as I'll be billed in US$ so take a hit on the conversion of Korean won to $ to £ sterling, plus the fee for this service.

Again, for language difficulty reasons, few properties (even unsuitable ones) have many reviews, and those are brief and unhelpful, so I'm very much stabbing in the dark!

SWT

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 41,552
reviews: 57
5. Re: Airbnb newbie - help, please!

If it is soo difficult to communicate that the web site itself is aware of the issue then I'd not use it in that country at all!

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