Tips for Families Using Airbnb

Airbnb has
become such an integral player in my family-travel toolbox that I
often bypass booking hotel “free” night awards in favor
of renting
a home
on Airbnb for our family trips. A growing segment of
Airbnb users are families and the company has taken proactive
measures to offer curated features with us in mind (take for
instance its “Families” category that includes homes with
five-star reviews from other families who’ve actually stayed at
the properties). Thankfully, you don’t have to completely give up
award travel when you stay in a Airbnb as you can charge the stay
to cards such as the Barclaycard Arrival Plus
World Elite Mastercard
or Capital One Venture
Rewards Credit Card
 and use
the “miles” from those cards to offset the charge
.

Whether you are one of the millions of travelers that often book
stays at Airbnbs, or are a first-timer cautiously considering
Airbnb for your next family vacation, here are my top tips so your
family can get the most out of your Airbnb experience.

Beach house in Uruguay courtesy of Airbnb Our
Airbnb beach house rental in Uruguay. (Photo by Juan Ruiz)
1. Create a Wish List 

Browsing Airbnb’s database of millions of lodging options can
sometimes seem daunting. To organize the search process, I create a
“Wish List” for each trip using the feature at Airbnb’s site.
My Wish Lists consist of a visual list of homes (easily marked by a
click of a heart) that I am considering. This list helps me narrow
down my selections and then allows me to research each one a bit
more in-depth.

Make your own Wish List when planning your next vacation. Make
your own Wish List when planning your next Airbnb vacation.

The map feature of the Wish List is especially helpful because
you can see where all of your listings are located and determine
which place is right for you. Do you want to be in the heart of it
all? Do you prefer to be secluded from the action but still a short
drive to main attractions? Need to be near public transportation?
Your Wish List allows you to narrow down the surplus of Airbnb
options into finalists and make a solid lodging choice based on
your selected few. It’s also a great feature to share when trying
to make a decision with your partner or perhaps another family or
others in your group.

2. Read the Reviews Thoroughly 

Reviews and star ratings (one to five stars) are critically
important in selecting a top-notch Airbnb for your family. Read
these reviews in detail.

Look for reviews where children are specifically mentioned. Is
the listing better suited for small children or older kids? Did the
host provide enough towels for the entire family? Was the bed
layout well suited for your family’s needs?  Did the kids love
the toys or the Netflix installed on the TVs? If a listing
doesn’t have four or five reviews, I usually skip the it and
instead book one that has more (mainly five-star) reviews. I want
to make sure that others, particularly families, have had a
pleasant experience with the host before I commit to that Airbnb
listing.

Pro tip: A well-reviewed property with a
4.5-star rating or higher from a Superhost (experienced hosts that
provide extraordinary experiences for their guests) usually
increases your chances of a pleasant Airbnb experience.

Staying with a superhost usually increases your odds of having a pleasant Airbnb experience.An
Airbnb host has to meet several requirements to be granted
“Superhost” status. (Image courtesy of Airbnb) 3.
Safety 

Today, the thought of staying in a stranger’s home on vacation
is hardly an irrational concept, and more families are flocking to
websites, such as Airbnb, that list residences or rooms for
short-term rental over traditional hotels. We have used Airbnb
dozens of times as a family and have always had pleasant
experiences. Still, it’s important to take precautions and know
the ins and outs of your potential Airbnb listing.

Ask yourself the following:

  • Is my listing located in a good area? Is it in a walkable
    neighborhood? Is there a park nearby? Get intel on the location of
    your listing ahead of time.
  • What type of home is it? If it’s a high-rise, do the windows
    have locks? If a house, will I get the keys for all possible entry
    points? If there are stairs inside the house, are they steep and
    dangerous for babies?
  • Will the host be available if I have a question or concern?
    Building rapport with your host from the beginning is a great way
    to feel confident they will assist you in a time of need.
  • If you’re traveling with toddlers or very small children, ask
    yourself: Does the furniture have sharp edges? If there’s a pool,
    does it have a gate? Will there be child-friendly items such as
    cups and plates, cribs and high chairs?

If
traveling with small children, be aware of windows, balconies and
staircases. (Photo by Juan Ruiz) 4. Contact Your
Host

I advise families to bypass Airbnb’s “instant book”
feature and actually contact the host of your Wish List finalists
before making a reservation. Families with small children sometimes
require certain amenities (kitchen, bathtub and proper bed setup
comes to mind), making reaching out to hosts critical. Pay
attention to what is not shown in the listing. For example, if a
sofa bed is mentioned but is not photographed, ask for pictures.
Don’t see the bed layout for each room? Ask for pictures.

Make sure the bed layout is suitable for your family or ask the host.Make
sure the bed layout is suitable for your family or ask the host if
you have any doubts. (Photo by Hero Images / Getty Images)

Tell them a little bit about yourself, your family, reason for
visiting and ask specific questions as they pertain to your
must-haves if the listing description does not specify. Also, gauge
the responsiveness of a host and look for their tone in the reply.
A host’s informative and prompt reply usually is a good sign that
they will be alert if an issue arises during your stay.

I was researching Airbnb listings for an upcoming trip to
Iceland with my family and came across two properties I really
loved. I messaged each host informing them of our plans and that we
are arriving on a red-eye with two small children at the crack of
dawn in Reykjavik. Rather than wait for the usual afternoon
check-in time with tired kids (and parents), I was hoping either of
the hosts would be kind enough to grant us an early morning
check-in time.

Thankfully, one of the hosts didn’t have any guests checking
out the day of our arrival and he verified that the very early
check-in was not a problem. I avoided paying an extra night or
killing time in the car with restless kids simply by contacting my
potential Airbnb host before booking my stay.

Bottom Line

Don’t be afraid to try an Airbnb for your next family trip.
Having space to spread out and the amenities of home can really
make for a stress-free vacation with the kids. If you aren’t
quite ready to pick the right Airbnb for your family,
you could also look to Kid & Coe
, a site similar to Airbnb,
but that focuses exclusively on curated homes and apartment that
are setup for families. And of course, be sure you use
the right credit card when you book your Airbnb stay
 and
don’t
forget to earn Delta SkyMiles in the process
.

Still feeling a bit unsure? Here are more Airbnb
resources:

I hope these tips are helpful for your next Airbnb stay. Do you
have any tips of your own to share? Post them below.

Featured image courtesy of Airbnb

Source: FS – All-Travel destinations-News2
Tips for Families Using Airbnb