Is Airbnb safe? Tips on staying safe

The arrival of Airbnb has helped to transform the travel industry in recent years. On any one night, over two million people stay in homes advertised through Airbnb in 65,000 cities around the world.

With all of those people, though, come a lot of stories of rentals gone wrong. So is Airbnb safe? Read our guide to the home-sharing site to make sure your dream stay doesn’t turn into a holiday disaster.

Young family laughing in bed together

Check the reviews

Airbnb has a great feedback and reviews system, which will give you a good idea of what the home is like, as well as the host. Ratings are given on several criteria, including cleanliness and accuracy of the description, alongside feedback of a guest’s personal experience, so you should be able to build a good picture of what your experience will be like. People can only leave feedback if they have actually stayed at the home, so you can trust that reviews are genuine.

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Read the description closely

Each Airbnb home will have its own set of rules, amenities and cancellation policy, so check the listing carefully and make sure that you’re happy with all aspects of the rental so there’s no risk of surprises. If you have any questions for the host then Airbnb have a secure messaging platform you can contact them on.

Don’t pay the host directly

When renting a room through Airbnb, you should never be asked to send or transfer money directly to a host, or provide credit card or bank details. Payment should be made through Airbnb’s online system, which handles the payment safely and ensures that your bank details remain secure.

Ask questions

If you’re concerned about something, have worries about the area, or need to clarify what is or isn’t included, then send a message to the host. Airbnb have an in-built secure messaging system that keeps your personal information safe and keeps a record of your conversation, so you’re safer using this than email or direct messaging. You can also contact past guests of the home. If you’re worried that something doesn’t feel right and you’re not satisfied by your host’s answers, look elsewhere. Safety is paramount to your trip.

Before you travel

As with any holiday or trip, make sure you let friends or family know where you’re staying and give them a full travel itinerary. Make sure they have the contact details of your host as well as the full address of your accommodation. Also, find out the numbers of the various emergency services in the area and book your travel insurance well in advance of your departure date.

Safety check on arrival

Once you get to your home and have met your host, take a few minutes to look around the place to determine where the fire exit, emergency equipment and safety information is. If you have any questions, ask the host. Also, become familiar with the local area, its main roads and landmarks, and make sure you can get back to your home safely late at night.

During your stay

You may be staying in someone’s home but you should be as careful and respectful as you would be staying anywhere else. Make sure you have Airbnb’s safety hotline number for the country you’re staying in, as well as a backup hotel and the money to pay for it, as well as to travel there. If anything makes you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, then leave. Your safety is more important than any hurt feelings on the part of the host.

Leave a review

After your stay, make sure you leave your own review – if you had a great time it will help promote a good host and home; if not, it will give fair warning to anyone else considering staying in the same place and help the host be a better Airbnb-er.

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