How to use Airbnb like a girlboss

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There’s nothing quite like driving down a random dirt road to an address that doesn’t exist when you haven’t taken a shit in 5 days. Yeah… that happened.

Booking on Airbnb seems like a breeze, and it usually is. Your travel itinerary can be emailed or saved to your phone for offline use. Messages between hosts and guests are sent via the app, email and SMS. Languages are even translated (most of the time) to break communication barriers.

I went into my one month trip through Europe feeling like an Airbnb pro. I had used their service as both a guest and a host and I’m basically an iPhone superuser. In fact, my husband and I are Airbnb superhosts from renting our place in the mountains that winter.

But some things can only be learned from experience and challenges are definitely heightened when traveling internationally. Especially when don’t have unlimited data. With each new booking during our trip, we would go through our mental checklist:

“Did you get the address?”
“Did you map it out?”

Still, it seemed with every booking came some new issue that we haden’t even considered. To save you the trouble, here is our Airbnb checklist.

Airbnb Guest Checklist

Check the Address

First, make sure the address given to you in your Airbnb itinerary is an actual address. This was our biggest issue. One of the addresses given to us ended up being the address to a national park, rather than a cabin. Apparently the Google car hasn’t yet roamed the roads of Plitvice Lakes.

Check Google Street View [If Available]

This option may not be available in more rural areas, but if it is, I recommend checking Google streetview. This can be especially helpful if you’re hunting for your rental after dark when house or apartment numbers aren’t as easy to see.

Google Map Your Route

The Google Maps app saved us more times than we can count. You can save your data by mapping our your route while you have wifi. Then you can use GPS turn-by-turn directions even on airplane mode. You can even exit the app and it will still be saved in the background. Just make sure you don’t

Message Your Airbnb Host

After several frustrating mishaps, I always message the host. There’s an option during the booking process, on the confirmation page to send your host a message.

Verify Your Arrival Time With Your Host

While most check-in times are around 3-4pm, this can’t always be expected. Since we work remotely, a lot of times we hope to check in a little earlier to take advantage of the faster wifi before heading out for dinner.
We booked a private room in a small town in France during our road trip through Europe just to break up the drive. We arrived around 4pm, knocked on the door. No answer… just a tiny peeping head of a child in the window before it disappeared… and then nothing again. Turned out our host didn’t get off work until 8pm, which basically defeated the purpose of us stopping in the first place.

Questions to Ask Your Airbnb Host

How Will I Get the Key?

Surprisingly, this is only on the itinerary about half the time. While we were hosting, we had detailed instructions and a passcode on a key box outside. A lot of hosts prefer the process to be more personal. Some hosts will come out when they see a guest’s car arrive, some need a phone call. A simple message to the host upon booking can usually ensure that no one is left waiting around for a response.

Is the Correct Address Listed?

We came into the issue of the wrong address listed about 30% of the time, and most for different reasons that I still don’t understand. This is another reason for verifying the address with the host. If you’re staying in a remote area and if you sense your host is tech-savvy, try asking for the exact GPS coordinates.

Are Their Any Instructions for leaving?

Our only instructions for the guests of our Airbnb was to “Try to keep things tidy.” Some hosts ask that you do your own dishes or take off the sheets or even put the linens in the wash. These instructions will be either in the itinerary, messaged to you, or in a handwritten note upon arrival.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Kelley

    I’m pretty much an AirBnb pro now too, but I love this list. I think I’ve had mishaps along every single checklist step that you’ve listed here, so it’s awesome that you’ve posted this to save other people the same trouble! I wish I had seen a list like this when I was getting started…

    • Melissa

      So glad you found the tips valuable!

      For the hubs and I, everything was definitely enhanced by the international-ness of our trip. Haha. Data issues, language miscommunications… the works.

      If you have any tips to share that I might have missed, I’d love to add them!

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