How to Travel Safely with Airbnb for the First Time

Tips From a Solo Female Traveler

Once upon a time, there was a female solo traveler that booked a room in New York – via Airbnb -and she enjoyed her stay. However, due to a bad memory, she almost forgot about Airbnb….

It took a while until that female solo traveler was reminded of Airbnb, and when she decided to book more stays via the platform, she could not believe she missed out for that long.

As you can assume, the female solo traveler is me, and I booked a room when I went to New York more than four years ago. I stayed with two nice women, but for some reason, I almost forgot about the booking platform and kept booking hotels only.

Well, with one exception: I also booked via Airbnb when I traveled with several people and we needed a big apartment for ourselves.

Now, I am, and you probably are, too, seriously wondering why I did not use Airbnb for most of my stays?

Well, the truth is that I was always a bit scared – as a female solo traveler, security comes first.

How to use Airbnb safely for the first time - tips from female solo traveler for first time Airbnb users
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How to use Airbnb safely for the first time – tips from female solo traveler for first time Airbnb users

It took me several years to book a room as a female solo traveler again. Actually, it was only this last summer that I started booking rooms again.

On my last summer trip a few months back, I used Airbnb often – I traveled through France and Switzerland for six weeks, and as Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world, I was basically left with no choice other than looking for more affordable stays. So, Airbnb became my favorite choice when looking for great and affordable accommodations.

So, Airbnb became my favorite choice when looking for great and affordable accommodations.

Let me tell you: I never felt unsafe for a second and had a great time. As a female traveler, often traveling alone, I am quite picky with choosing my host – after all, safety is the most important aspect when choosing accommodations.

I totally understand that some, female or male, have a hard time trusting a stranger over the internet (I am one of them), and this also makes them skeptical of using Airbnb.

Are you afraid of venturing out and using sites like Airbnb? Then, this post will hopefully help you overcome your fear, pick the right accommodation, and be as happy with Airbnb as I am.

What this post covers:

What Exactly is Airbnb and is it Safe for Travelers – Especially Female Travelers?

What are the Advantages of Booking with Airbnb

What are the Disadvantages of Booking with Airbnb

First Steps for Using Airbnb

  • Where to Sign Up
  • How to Find Your Perfect Accommodation on Airbnb
  • Extra Tips for Your Security – Not Only for Female Travelers
  • How to Pay via Airbnb

What Happens Once Booked?

What Happens if You Encounter Problems with Your Hosts?

Get Your Airbnb Discount Code

What Exactly is Airbnb and is it Safe for Travelers – Especially Female Travelers?

Airbnb is currently available in 191 countries and is a site where home owners (hosts) advertise their homes to travelers (guests). Some hosts have set a minimum (and/or maximum) number of nights, but often, you can book for one night as well.

As I said earlier, Airbnb connects home owners and travelers. The kind of spaces that can be rented by a traveler include, but are not limited to, apartments, houses, tents, castles, condos, and villas (pretty cool, right?). Sometimes, you have the apartment to yourself, and sometimes you can book a room and stay with the hosts. This is actually up to you and you can choose your accommodation based on your preferences.

Sometimes, you have the apartment to yourself, and sometimes you can book a room and stay with the hosts. This is actually up to you and you can choose your accommodation based on your preferences.

The kind of spaces that can be rented by a traveler include, but are not limited to, apartments, houses, tents, castles, condos, and villas (pretty cool, right?). Sometimes, you have the apartment to yourself, and sometimes you can book a room and stay with the hosts. This is actually up to you and you can choose your accommodation based on your preferences.

I stayed at places with alpacas in the backyard (and walked them in the morning), in nice fancy places where everything was extremely luxurious, but also more basic rooms with hardly any special features. As you can see, you can book any type of accommodation but like hotel booking, it also depends on your budget.

Airbnb in Switzerland, Unique Airbnb in Switzerland
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Unique Airbnb in Switzerland

What are the Advantages of Booking with Airbnb

The price (especially if you stay for longer, as there are often weekly/monthly discounts)

The chances of you meeting and staying with a local are high

The stay is more personal

You are more flexible, as you can choose more amenities, etc.

Pets are often allowed and do not cost extra (I traveled with my little puppy for 6 weeks and we never had to pay extra, or had any issues finding accommodations)

You can cook for yourself, use the washing machine, etc. (just make sure that you have those amenities clicked when searching for your accommodation)

You get authentic reviews. Compared to hotels, where any person can comment on their website, Airbnb tends to have only reviews from guests that have had the chance to stay in those homes

What are the Disadvantages of Booking with Airbnb

Even if a room is shown as available, the host can reject you

The host can cancel on you, even shortly before your stay

You might not have that much flexibility with your check-in time (which makes prior communication super important, more on this later in the post)

Expectations might not match reality (but, that can happen with a hotel as well)

The place you rent might not be very safe and secure. Compared to a hotel, where there is a receptionist who is always ready to answer any questions, Airbnb’s security may be questionable (more tips on that later on)

In addition to the costs per night there is always a service fee (that Airbnb gets) and sometimes there is a cleaning fee. These fees are shown in the booking process, so make sure you have that in mind

Airbnb in Switzerland
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Airbnb in Switzerland

First Steps for Using Airbnb

Where to Sign Up

If you sign up, you need to fill out your profile – even as a guest, it is important to give some information about yourself so hosts can decide if they want to accept your request or not. Later on, you can download the Airbnb app and use this for all of your bookings.

You can (sometimes even must) also verify your account – this is super important to me, as I only book with hosts that are verified. I am sure that some hosts are also picky with their guests.

Remember: a home owner is giving out a part or even his/her full home, so the better they know you through your profile, the better the communication will flow between the two of you.

How to Find Your Perfect Accommodation on Airbnb

Once you have signed up, the booking process is very simple. But, take your time when selecting an accommodation.

All you have to do as a guest is pick your date of travel, search for your desired property type (room or apartment etc.), and choose the price range. You can also add more filters (pets, etc.). A map on the right side of the desktop shows the location of the property.

A map on the right side of the desktop shows the location of the property.

Remember that if you want a fancy place, as you are going to relax and enjoy yourself, a serene and quiet environment may just be one of the factors that you might consider.

Renting a home means you need what a normal home should have. Make sure all the necessary amenities are available by checking the list of amenities carefully. 

If you want to cook for yourself, wash laundry, etc. make sure it is allowed, to avoid disappointment. Normally, the host´s site gives you all the info, but if you are unsure, just message the person to find out more.

They say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Having this in mind, you should take advantage of all the photos provided, as they give you crucial information about the place. This will also shorten your decision-making process.

Check the cancellation policy, just in case.

If you choose “instant booking,” it will probably reduce the number of available properties, but you do not have to wait for the host to accept your request.

My tip: If you are feeling unsure of something, ask. Hosts are normally super nice and super happy to answer questions, so do not feel uncomfortable asking.

Extra Tips for Your Security – Not Only for Female Travelers

Before getting to the next point, how to actually pay for your accommodation, I have some more tips for security issues on Airbnb.

I only book when the host has several reviews already – several great reviews.

To me, Airbnb reviews are much more important than hotel reviews. I read them really carefully to make sure I am in safe hands.

I, personally, only book with females, or at least with couples where there is at least one woman (sometimes, when it is not clear due to the profile, I make sure to read the reviews even more carefully) – as I said, security comes first.

If you are in a group of several travelers you might not be so careful, but for solo travelers please just inform yourself carefully.

If you have valuables, make sure you have a little lock to secure your stuff.

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How to Pay via Airbnb

If you book your stay, you need to fill out your credit card details, and once the stay is completed, Airbnb withdraws the money. Never pay cash, only use the secure Airbnb system.

Never pay cash, only use the secure Airbnb system.

Have I told you you can save about $38 with my Airbnb link – sorry, it is only for first-time users 🙂

What Happens Once Booked

Stay in touch with your host, via the Airbnb app or the website.

I got a text message from Airbnb a day prior to my stay as a reminder.

Before you actually arrive, check the house rules and follow them! You can be reviewed, too.

After your stay, leave an honest review – be fair, mention problems you had encountered, but also positive things – the more the merrier for your fellow travelers.

What Happens if You Encounter Problems with Your Hosts?

Airbnb has an app that simplifies the process even further. If you face any problems while you are in the house, all you have to do is contact the host.

Airbnb Code

Airbnb discount code for first-time travelers – grab your discount code by using my Airbnb link.

More Travel Tips: If you want to find out more travel tips, check out my travel resources page.

 

I hope you are having great experiences with Airbnb <3 

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links which means I might earn a small commission when you buy a product/service (at no extra cost to you) after clicking on my link. More about it here.

Safe Travels, Arzo
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Safe Travels, Arzo

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How to Travel Safely with Airbnb for the First Time - tips from female solo traveler for first time Airbnb users
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How to Travel Safely with Airbnb for the First Time – tips from female solo traveler for first time Airbnb users

How to Travel Safely with Airbnb for the First Time