As you know I traveled around Mexico over a four-month period and checked out 9 cities to determine where I would initially relocate. I chose San Miguel de Allende; Mexico and you can read about why in my blog post here.
During my research and reconnaissance trips, I stayed in several Airbnbs. I generally choose Airbnb for long-term stays when I travel solo. Overall I consistently enjoyed my stay in every place I stayed. While not all were perfect, none were horrible or even bad. I have heard major horror stories about Airbnb stays. To help you avoid staying in a bad Airbnb, here are my tried-and-true tips to consistently choose the perfect Airbnb for you EVERY time. It is my belief that if you apply these rules, you will likely have a good experience almost every time.
Let’s get started.
Step #1: Stick with Superhosts
I almost never stay in an Airbnb that is not hosted by a Superhost. Why, because Superhost is more likely to really care about your experience because they care about maintaining a high rating. Superhosts usually have a rating of 4-8 or above and have worked really hard to achieve that status. If you have a concern, they are more likely to want to solve it and they are more likely to provide accurate listing descriptions and work hard to resolve issues should they arise. Yes, their nightly rates may be higher, but I have found that paying just a bit more has resulted in no bad experiences. If you choose to go with a host who is not a Superhost, stick with places rated 4.8 or higher.
Step #2: READ the Reviews – ALL. OF. THEM.
I cannot reiterate this point enough. Do not just read the first couple of reviews. Even if the person has a perfect 5.0 rating READ ALL THE REVIEWS. You may find something that may give you pause. For example, I was reading the reviews for a beautiful apartment in Guanajuato City, Mexico that had the most gorgeous views in the picture. As I read the review, I noted mentions of the steps to the apartment. Then one of the last reviews noted the steepness of the steps and the fact that there were a total of 70 to get to the apartment and of course no elevator. Did I pass on the apartment despite the gorgeous views because of the way my knees are set up? It was a hard pass for me.
Step #3: Filter your search for EVERY Amenity Important to You
Use the Airbnb Search Filter feature to look at and confirm every amenity important to your stay. When searching for a place, don’t just filter for Air conditioning and the number of bedrooms, filter for any amenity you want or need. Do you want a place with a washer and dryer? Put it in the search filter. Do you need a place with a gym or fitness center? Put it in the search filter. If what you need is not in the search filter see Step #4.
Step #4: Ask EVERY Burning Question BEFORE Booking
No matter how beautiful the pictures are, no matter how flowery the reviews, ask any burning question you have BEFORE you book. Especially if it is a nonrefundable booking. If you don’t see smoke detectors or sprinklers in the pictures, ask if they exist if this is important to you. Don’t see ceiling fans and need the whirring sound to go to sleep? Ask if they are any in the apartment and if not, whether there are portable fans available? Ask all questions before booking not after.
Step #5: Read ALL Housing Rules BEFORE Booking
All Airbnb Host have rules that govern the use of their place. READ them. Many provide them at booking, others have them posted to the listing. If you cannot find it in the description, ask the host to share it with you, but make sure you see the Housing Rules and read them prior to booking. You don’t want to find out the air conditioning is only on between 10 and 2 pm after you book if it’s 90 degrees in the shade every day and 100% humidity, and the listing is non-refundable after booking. Read those housing rules!
Honorable Mention: Keep all conversations on the Platform at all times
Do not have any conversations with the Host via their cell phone or WhatsApp. Keep all conversations about the listing on the Airbnb mobile app or the website. If the hosts message you on WhatsApp, respond but then respond again on the app. This is for your own protection. If something goes awry, you want all communications to be available to Airbnb via the mobile app.
Check out my YouTube Reviews of Airbnbs where I stayed in Mexico. I applied these steps and had a pleasant stay at all of them.