International travel is one of the most significant learning opportunities - and experiences - that anybody can have. Sometimes, there are some barriers to international travel, such as inability to speak the local language, unfamiliarity with navigating another country, or the general mystique that's associated with visiting a place that is completely different than home. Thankfully, Airbnb provides a solution to those needing the extra "push" to travel internationally. While the service cannot accelerate your language learning capabilities, you can depend on the hosts and the listing offerings to help navigate your trip, plan your visits, and enhance your travel experience.
1. Search for Airbnb Listings with Diverse Reviews. International travelers tend to write the most detailed reviews, which can brighten the feedback portion of an Airbnb listing. Whichever listing you speak, look for a similar language or translate to your own to learn more about the listing. Airbnb's that have guest reviews from various nationals tend to modify their listing to accommodate international visitors. This means you can expect to have access to pamphlets in other languages or access to resources that aren't quite apparent through your travel search.
2. Contact the Host First. Hosts are invaluable to your international travel experience, especially if you are traveling solo. They can point you towards the right direction when needed and provide tips, tricks, and unforgettable experiences. However, some hosts may run their listings "hands-free" with little communication and interaction with their guests. It works better for a first-time visitor to have a host thats' willing to answer questions through a reasonable timeframe and respond to messages when needed. By contacting the host first, you can learn more about their hosting style.
3. Find Airbnb Listings Closer to the Popular Tourist Areas. Although this sounds contradicting, hear me out - you don't have to stay in the tourist areas during the entire duration of your trip, but it provides with you a good "base" to continue your travels. Tourist areas can also include the city center or any area dense with businesses, people, and hotels. These areas oftentimes promote travel tours, guides, and other services that can help you gain more information about the place you're visiting. You may also be able to establish important contacts during your vacation for seeing remote parts of your destination. Keep in mind public transportation, access to bikes, and more services are usually easily found in these areas, giving you more time to spend enjoying your time as a traveler.
4. Don't Book Too Far in Advance. Ideally, you'll want to make a reservation within a three-month period, anything more will be a risk. For starters, the penalty for a host cancelling their first time is free, and you don't want to be in a situation where the host cancels last minute. This occurs by hosts who forget to set their rates properly due to local events, hosts that leave the "instant book" option on and realize later that they cannot accommodate the guests, or simply hosts that forget down the line that they even had a guest. Yep, it happens! Airbnb is an extremely secure service, but these situations have happened and are completely possible for the future. If you're thinking about taking a trip at the end of year when it’s still March, secure your cheap airline ticket, but wait a bit before you make a reservation.
5. Trust Services that Provide Insurance. Airbnb is a trustworthy service for many reasons. Besides learning about your review through communication and positive feedback, the service provides an insurance policy and backs all transactions through their written policy. In contrast, taking a chance on a hotel auction or even booking a hotel room can leave you with an undesirable room and little opportunity for refund - instead, they'll offer you another room. The reviews for large dwellings are also scattered because the quality of rooms and opinion of location are inconsistent. You should also avoid Craigslist because it does not provide with a secure transaction at all, and you have little protection of your security deposit in another country if you decide to make a long-term reservation.
Taking these five tips into account, you can expect a smooth vacation, and build the confidence to travel anywhere.