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What's your system for finding places on Airbnb?

 

by @kathrynoh | 5yr  | 51 comments

Since I started travelling 6 months ago, Iโ€™ve used Airbnb a lot to find apartments. Iโ€™ve had some great experiences but enough bad ones to start wondering about the whole system. Arriving at places to find they are nothing like described, even when they have scores of glowing reviews is not good.

Even though Airbnb have done all in their power to help out when Iโ€™ve had issues, Iโ€™d rather avoid these situations in the first place. I want to arrive at a place to find itโ€™s what Iโ€™ve paid for so I can get to work rather than spend time resolving issues.

Do other people have any system for finding places on Airbnb? Do you use recommendations, send the hosts a checklist or have any other methods? Or do you just not care so long as you have a roof over your head?

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Sorry if this is a bit of a tangent, but could use some input. So the same host I mentioned whose place I left on December 18th just contacted me again today. Again, heโ€™s been sending me texts on my personal number and messages through AirBnB every few days since I left. I havenโ€™t been replying. I gave him four stars in my review for one category, which he didnโ€™t like, plus I described minor problems with the washing machine and heat, but also left private feedback to AirBnB saying I felt his over-friendliness was crossing a boundary. (He called me a โ€œvery beautiful womanโ€ about 10 times in person, text, and message.) He didnโ€™t mention anything about the latter.

Today he has offered me a 125 Euro (!) refund through the resolution center for the washing machine that didnโ€™t work in his place. And encouraged me to visit him again. What is he up to?? Is he afraid of losing his superhost status, and if so, what else does he expect of me for the refund? Very strange situation.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

Have you contacted Airbnb about his messages? If not, ask them if they can block him from contacting you.

Weโ€™ve had a similar situation, host contacting us with crazy accusations so contacted Airbnb. Weโ€™ve not heard back from them yet about it but hopefully they can sort it out. Iโ€™d actually call them on the 24 hour number because itโ€™s becoming stalking and harassment.

As for the money, thatโ€™s up to you. If he refunds it, itโ€™s not like you have an obligation to do anything.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Itโ€™s just really strange because heโ€™s a 68-yr-old guy with a wife his age, they were both very kind, itโ€™s just that he went a little overboard in trying to flatter me and text me about this and that, bring me food, show me around town, etc. I donโ€™t like to accuse anyone of harrassment (and I didnโ€™t use that word), but he seems to be trying to do something to get me to engage with him still, and I donโ€™t want to. The only reason I feel I could have a right to the money at this point is because he keeps annoying me with all these messages. I guess youโ€™re right, I should contact AirBnB but itโ€™s obvious he has no clue he is making the situation worse, so itโ€™s just a shame.

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@dvc | 5yr

@bisonravi It likely depends significantly on the destination and time of year, but Iโ€™ve had no trouble finding satisfactory properties booking 5ish weeks in advance. I intentionally stay offseason, though (e.g. Croatia in November); I donโ€™t doubt it would be much more difficult to book monthly in a popular destination in the high season.

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@bavals | 5yr

@karel wrote:

I rent a hotel or hostel on arrival and visit the place myself. That way I can meet the host too

@AntonioEvans wrote:

You can also just rent for a shorter amount of time then if it works out just have the host extend your stay.

Reading such suggestions, I begin to wonder if I am using the same AirBnB as other people on this forum. Literally everything I look at is booked months in advance, so any advice which implies that your chosen apartment is still likely to be available when youโ€™re already in town, dithering, strikes me as naive to say the least.

I typically book 4 to 6 months in the future in order to get the better places and even at that planning distance, I often get a place snatched from me by somebody else.

Maybe itโ€™s because I tend to do monthly rentals. Or perhaps it depends on the destination.

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@karel | 5yr

It is not naive. We may have very different travel styles and tolerance to uncertainty. It is totally fine! I donโ€™t remember the last time I booked a plane ticket to a place more than a month before the flight. I usually rent for at least a month and prefer to make sure I will like the place. Iโ€™m generally fine not knowing for couple days where I will end up.

Also youโ€™d be surprised what you can find even when Airbnb does not show any results. I think we rarely lack resources, we often lack resourcefulness.

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@dvc | 5yr

Iโ€™ve generally avoided professional Airbnb landlords (the people with a gazillion listings/clearly several humans behind a single Airbnb profile) but been happy to rent from someone with a good number of reviews/multiple properties as long as itโ€™s clear Airbnb isnโ€™t their day job. This has struck a nice balance of experience/professionalism and actually caring things are going well for the tenant. Three monthly rentals and maybe 5 nightly stays in, Iโ€™ve had no major issues, but Iโ€™ve also selected my destinations partially based on density and seeming quality of areasโ€™ Airbnb listings.

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@antonioevans | 5yr

I guess in certain parts of world works out. Ive rented from realtors Paris that were wonderful. But I think the difference is they do Airbnb as their main business. Others I have seen just kind of spam the listings with as many places a possible. So really no charm in the place. I can tell you many parts of world where its a major issue.

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@antonioevans | 5yr

Really watch out for realtors. They are the worst.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I rented one apartment from a realtor in Tokyo last year and it ended up being a good experience. Well, I assumed it was a realtor because they had a profile pic of a cute young girl but a heap of listings and also used โ€œweโ€ instead of โ€œIโ€ in the profile.

It worked out okay. Actually great because they got a long term booking for the apartment Iโ€™d booked so set me up in a better apartment for the same price.

But then I was on 2 weeks holidays and my needs were much different than when I rent a place for longer term/working etc.

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@antonioevans | 5yr

I have stayed at over 90 Airbnbs over course of 7-8 years of travel. Only 5 have had issues. Key is tell them before you come in. I need:

  1. Fastest Internet
  2. Is kitchen fully Fitted
  3. Is it noisey
  4. Can I buy stuff for the house if missing something.

I just treat the place like it was my own. I am not a budget traveller. So this advice may cause problems if you are.

You can also just rent for a shorter amount of time then if it works out just have the host extend your stay.

Another tip is rent from places that look like the person lives there vs hotel type places. If the person lives in the place they usually have it fitted with the items you need.

Be very explicit in your conversations with host. Oh and new markets for Airbnb have issues. Like Asia or parts of eastern Europe. So look for super hosts and message many of them.

Here is a piece I think will help you travel with Airbnb:

How to pick Airbnb rental

Disclosure: This is how we do it.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I think I need to start a list like that.

Do you ask further questions about the noise? Because that can be very subjective.

In my experience, Iโ€™ve found dedicated rentals better equipped than when the host has been renting out their own space. It depends, of course, but good hosts seem to provide the basics at least.

Iโ€™m also finding (and this shouldโ€™ve been obvious from the start), that cultural issues come into play. For example, Iโ€™m in Japan at the moment and have rented a few places here. None of them have had a toaster and thatโ€™s definitely a cultural thing. The place Iโ€™m in at the moment, doesnโ€™t have proper cutlery either which I would take as been a cultural thing except there is not even a proper (ie. non disposable) set of chopsticks!

Do you get any negative response to your question #4? Iโ€™d have thought not but then maybe some hosts would want you to remove anything.

Also, do you have any issues extending your stay? I worry that Iโ€™ll find a great place but, if I want to extend, the place has been booked for some of that period. That actually happened when I found a fantastic place near Budapest.

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@antonioevans | 5yr

Definitely cultural what hosts have in their home. Also Japan is really new to Airbnb. Tokyo is okay but really not that great for Airbnb in my experience. But It gets better every few months.

Yeah I always ask before I visit. I literally just have stuff shipped to the house via Amazon or straight up ask the host before I book. If they are hesitant I dont book with them. And I ask all sorts of things. I need a maid. I need a driver if I am going to a place in the world I do not know.

Go to the blog post I listed and you can just steal that boilerplate email.

When I am there in the place I am constant contact with the host and usually when I leave I give them a โ€œbookโ€ on the place. Cuz most hosts dont know they need to be able to answer questions like: Restaurants in area, dry cleaning, how to pay for a cab, where to throw out recycling. I have a template I just give them and they usually shocked and grateful. Hosts have messaged me years after Ive stayed saying the book โ€œtaughtโ€ them to be better hosts.

For the extending of a stay I tell them day one, โ€œif you get one request Tell me.โ€ Most do the ones that dont tell you are usually crapper hosts so I probably wouldnt want to stay their anyways.

Currently I am in a gorgeous penthouse in Medellin. Its got issue like a bit too much noise and had some water issue. I told host fix it or else. He has fixed the water issue. Noise still a problem though.

Oh I have stayed in a few places in Budapest via Airbnb. I stayed in andrassy. Host followed my requests exactly. Had a great time.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I am reading though your post at the moment :slight_smile: You have very different requirements to me but itโ€™s a great starting point for thinking about what to ask. Eg. I would never want a weekly cleaning service because I donโ€™t want anyone in my space but even asking about cleaning sheets, towels etc is a good thing to bring up.

Iโ€™ve stayed at Airbnbs in Tokyo and around Japan over the past few years and Iโ€™ve found the opposite โ€“ the quality is on the decline. It feels like a hosts, particularly at the last two places Iโ€™ve rented, are just jumping on the bandwagon to make money and donโ€™t really give a shit.

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@lisainmexico | 5yr

I just stayed in a handful of AirBNBs across South America. And Iโ€™ve been a host, a guest, in many countries. Honestly I havenโ€™t found an AirBNB in awhile that ISNโ€™T a dedicated rental, and usually a lot crappier than they appear and/or are described. Itโ€™s a bummer to me. If I wanted to stay in a crappy room, Iโ€™d just rent a hotel. I wish AirBNB cared, but they obviously donโ€™t.

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@poppyjikko | 5yr

Buying and leaving stuff behind is also a proper solution. Just amorticize the price of those goods over the lenght of your stay. For exemple we bought knives at ikea when we were in kaohsiung, even over 1,5 month itโ€™s super cheap compared to a furnished flat rent. And next guest would enjoy proper knives :smiley:

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@ld | 5yr

I completely understand, and it was the reason why I had to totally rethink my โ€˜location independentโ€™ lifestyle and our slow travel process. My boyfriend and I traveled solely via Airbnb (USA only) for 4 months. Sought the highest rated places, usually $2,000/month.

Airbnb (or any rental system Iโ€™m sure) is rough in โ€œnon-vacation modeโ€ because they are not going to have everything you need day in day out, no matter the place. Can openerโ€ฆsharp knivesโ€ฆa functional shower head, who knows, but things you need are not going to be there and it gets old quick after day 14, 15โ€ฆAs a week long vacation itโ€™s great - who cares about no can opener!

When my boyfriend and I started to collect kitchen tools that we had to travel with because our Airbnb places constantly were lacking, we knew we had to change.

We gave up and decided to rent a place somewhere and plan trips out from there - a home base. Itโ€™s obviously dependent on your setup, but these rentals just arenโ€™t a solution for trying to live a normal life but on the move, in my opinion. Another thing to think about is the inflated rent. If you look at Zillow rent vs. what you are paying - we often found it to be $400+/month more. Which is understandable, itโ€™s a hot market. But Iโ€™d rather rent my own place, try to get the most flexible lease terms, and save.

Or, maybe consider what we did before we decided to give up, which is carry around a bag full of random key accessories that are often missing in these places. I like the checklist idea too.

For us, that could have been fine, but the consistent slow (but reportedly โ€œfastโ€) wifi was the killer for us. We are both web developers and work from home and the speeds were never adequate to have a video conference and such.

Now, we have a rental that we will rent out on Airbnb :stuck_out_tongue: and take long trips from there. Having a functional place to come back to is a relief. It isnโ€™t my dream digital nomad lifestyle, but I just donโ€™t know what to do to make Airbnb style rental life work without numerous frustrations and compromises.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

The lack of kitchen equipment is definitely frustrating. The place Iโ€™m in at the moment doesnโ€™t have basic cutlery. Iโ€™m using plastic stuff Iโ€™ve picked up from the convenience store!

One of the big frustrations for me lately has been renting places that look very uncluttered in the listing then finding the host uses the place for storing their crap. I purposely avoid places that look like the host lives in the place or that look really cluttered. Iโ€™ve totally simplified my life so the last thing I want is to live with other peopleโ€™s crap. Itโ€™s not a deal breaking but I wish people would be up front about things like that. If the host says that there is a room/closet etc that canโ€™t be used, thatโ€™s one thing but having the whole place full of their crap is really limiting my access to the place.

I donโ€™t mind prices being higher since they normally include utilities, cleaning materials and other basics that Iโ€™d have to buy otherwise. Although, if you have to provide kitchen basics, that starts to diminish.

Iโ€™ve got a few places booked and I think once those are up, Iโ€™m going to think about other alternatives or only use places that have been recommended outside of the Airbnb system.

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@poppyjikko | 5yr

Yes, my checklist is fairly short and is included in my first contact message.

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@deensel | 5yr

I rent only from all 5 stars hosts (and they should have at least a dozen of reviews) and rarely have a problem.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I rented a place in Berlin with about 60 five star reviews and it was a nightmare. When I raised the issues with the host, he offered to refund my money if I left him a 5 star review!

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Yeah, there is definitely a weird inverse relationship with refunding money and the reviews. I did get a partial refund for lack of adequate wifi in Rome (refunding is NOT difficult, by the way, no matter what some hosts might tell you), so I could pay for a co-working space (which was closed!), and the host said โ€œyes, Iโ€™ll agree to this because I donโ€™t want a negative review.โ€ In the end, it was OK as I could be straight about the wifi without discrediting the whole stay, but I could see where that could be awkward in other situations. I think a lot depends on whether you trust the host to really learn from whatever was wrong and not allow it to happen again (or fix the listing).

And yes, itโ€™s awkward complaining about things while there, but Iโ€™ve also had hosts turn that on me and say I was not complaining enough for their taste, so that they could have fixed things for me (even though some things were unfixable).

AirBnBโ€™s own brand image adds a lot of pressure to the review situation too โ€“ the whole โ€œitโ€™s all about loveโ€ thing, when, especially in the case of a separate apartment, itโ€™s mostly about a roof over your head and getting the amenities you were promised.

So โ€“ itโ€™s a tough problem all around, which I enjoy as a UX/ Service Designerโ€ฆ there may be no ideal solution but Iโ€™ll bet there are minor things AirBnB could do to keep their site (more) honest. If folks here even wanted to go to them and just state the problem, that reviews seem to match reality less and less these days, I would be down for that. I know I tweeted to them about an improvement to the service I really wanted to see made, and after 3 tweets, they finally implemented it! :smile:

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

It can be very awkward especially if itโ€™s an issue with the host!

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@deensel | 5yr

Star rating is what Airbnb do right with feedback - it is anonymous, so you still could give them a low rating without their knowledge.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Actually, the star rating is not anonymous. Past host is still doing a combo of texting me on my personal phone and sending me messages through AirBnB for a stay that ended on December 18. Todayโ€™s message was a complaint about giving him only four stars for one category.

This is the same guy who I sent private feedback to AirBnB about being over-friendly โ€“ I still have no idea what they did with the feedback. He texted me something about I didnโ€™t need to take โ€œsuch drastic actionโ€ and he was โ€œso disappointed in meโ€ โ€“ but now I have no idea if the โ€œdrastic actionโ€ was for the private feedback or the four-star ratingโ€ฆ! :confused:

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@gigigriffis | 5yr

Do you think anonymity really matters? Thereโ€™s no risk to telling the truth even when your name is attached to the review, since Airbnb doesnโ€™t post reviews until both parties have written them (so they have no way to know if you wrote something negative until after theyโ€™ve already submitted their review). I think the problem is more that people donโ€™t want to make waves in general. :frowning:

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I think the risk is not so much with that host but that future hosts will see that you have written a bad review and not be keen to rent to you.

I do think there needs to be responsibility around leaving reviews. People can be paying out a lot of money to rent a place and need information to help with the decision making. Especially in the case like @suuzin mentioned, with a maie host harassing guests. I rented an apartment in Bologna that was fantastic but I had a guy try to pick me up on the street and realised that once I turned off the main street to the apartment, Iโ€™d be isolated and unsafe. Of course, I mentioned that in the review. If another woman wasnโ€™t as luck as I was, then Iโ€™d be at fault for not warning her.

There are also a lot of things that might be negative for some guests but not universally negative. If the place is filthy, then thatโ€™s going to be a big negative for most people but if itโ€™s say in a party area, that would be a negative for me but a bonus for some people. The more information that is available, the better the decision making process.

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@gigigriffis | 5yr

Do you think hosts really go look at past reviews youโ€™ve left? They donโ€™t show up on the profile and I (a former host) never once looked to see if the people who wanted to rent my space had left bad reviews for other people in the past. I feel like itโ€™d be unusual for someone to go to those lengths.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I donโ€™t know that they do either but I think that is what other posters are saying.

Tbh, if the host is doing that, it would suggest that they know the place has issues and, rather than resolve those issues or be honest about them, they are cherry picking guests who wonโ€™t say anything bad about the place. If I got rejected by them, itโ€™d be for the best anyway.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

By the way, @kathrynoh, another female nomad friend had a similar experience in Italy with her apartment โ€“ the unsafe location (verified to be unsafe by a local friend of mine) was strangely left out of the reviews. She had booked it for a month, and felt trapped and paranoid. I think itโ€™s worth mentioning that in certain places, hosts might even consider gaming the system โ€“ getting friends to book stays, leave positive reviews, then just pass the money back to them, etc. The only cost would the AirBnB fee, which some hosts might feel is small enough for a couple of nights.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

As @kathrynoh said, there is a risk because there is a list of host reviews with links to their accommodation on your profile page. Your reviews of hosts are easily accessed by future hosts. Not that everyone is savvy enough to do that, but Iโ€™m sure some hosts do investigate what a guest says about other hosts thoroughly. When the whole point of providing guest reviews was just supposed to be to make sure you werenโ€™t letting a psycho in your houseโ€ฆ it wasnโ€™t to make sure you could get away with anything and still get a good review.

Iโ€™ve also had problems with a place and asked for financial compensation to make up for it, and even told the host I would be leaving a negative review if he didnโ€™t let me cancel 2 days of the total reservation (and I gave him a weekโ€™s notice). He refused, so I got a negative review, so I live with it. I just got to the point after 20+ positive reviews where I didnโ€™t care, and stated my case in the response.

In short, hereโ€™s what I think would help address this problem for guests from a UX perspective:

  • remove the links and locations of the hosts on guest profile pages; easy!
  • but โ€“ still let guests link to hostโ€™s accommodation in their response to any review, so future hosts can understand the issue that led to a retaliatory review
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@kathrynoh | 5yr

Iโ€™d also like to see some kind of categorisation of guests in reviews. Some of the hotel booking sites show the demographics.

We have very different needs from a holiday making spending a few days in location and only coming back to the apartment to sleep. Iโ€™d definitely put more weight on a review if it was from someone who stayed in a place for a month plus and used it as a work space. I might get that information from the review sometimes or if I wanted to go into their profile but itโ€™d be great to have it up front or even a search filter (eg. a โ€œpopular with digital nomadsโ€ type filter).

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Thatโ€™s a good ideaโ€ฆ depending on how much they want to cater to nomads (they might).

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@gigigriffis | 5yr

Again, though, I think it would be rare a host (a regular host who wasnโ€™t trying to pull one over on you) would do this. I was a host and know a lot of hosts and have never heard of anyone investigating whether someone has ever left negative reviews. Iโ€™ve also left negative reviews (one particularly scathing) and never had a single problem. And, as @kathrynoh pointed out, the hosts who are taking time to see if you left a negative review are probably hosts who are trying to pull one over on you anyway, so not someone youโ€™d want to stay with. I really think these fears are unlikely to come to fruition. The worst thatโ€™s happened to me as an honest and sometimes negative reviewer has been a host emailing me directly after the fact to tell me I stabbed her in the back.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

I think what the majority of hosts do as far as looking up someoneโ€™s reviews is just opinion here, we donโ€™t really know until research is done. I know Iโ€™ve been turned down for reservations with no explanation whatsoever and Iโ€™m sure others here have as wellโ€ฆ which doesnโ€™t help the โ€œparanoia.โ€ I think the bigger issue is how guests feel about the possibility that they could get turned down if they are honest about a negative experience. No one wants to look like a picky โ€œproblemโ€ guest. People on this thread have indicated such. And this includes the dilemma of what to do when we as guests have made it obvious to host before the review process that we werenโ€™t all that happy w/ a stay. Hosts are probably thinking if a review is left, they will have to be defensive (in advance). This is why I have been skipping those reviewsโ€ฆ not up for the headache. Iโ€™ve also suggested to AirBnB that if a guest uses the Resolution Center that they should forego the review process all together โ€“ itโ€™s just not likely to be fair at all for the guest.

Itโ€™s a complicated issue, but it is what it is.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

When I went to Europe last year, I got turned down for a bunch of places with no explanation.

My suspicion at the time was that it was because I was travelling alone during the peak time. If a place is say $50 a night for one person but then they charge $50 for additional person, I could see them holding out for a couple so they get twice as much per night.

It was only a theory but I found when I started checking for places that were the same rate per night for the first two people and/or had reviews from solo travellers, I stopped being rejected.

Maybe my theory was wrong and it was just a case of being lucky with some hosts and unlucky with others. Who knows? There could be a whole bunch of reasons hosts turn down a booking.

To me, the most uncomfortable thing about leaving a dispute is that you are still staying at the place. I had some issues with the place Iโ€™m staying at the moment and Iโ€™m still here for a couple of weeks.

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I agree with some of the other commenters, the Airbnb review system is leading to a broken marketplace. Iโ€™ve only left glowing feedback for hosts because I donโ€™t want future hosts to think Iโ€™m a difficult guest and deny my reservation requests.

Eventually Airbnb needs to slant the review system in a way that favors more transparency for guests, but for now I think anything less than an egalitarian system will scare off hosts from signing up, which is the worst-case scenario for guests.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

I hear you. I just donโ€™t think reviews for properties need to be tracked back to guests. I donโ€™t see why that would be a big deterrent to hosts โ€“ the whole reason AirBnB exists is that people are eager to rent out their spare rooms and apartments. So, a review could even have my name and photo, but I donโ€™t really want other hosts to see or have links on my profile where exactly Iโ€™ve stayed and whom with. Not that every host investigates at that level โ€“ and I still think guests would be generous with reviews, as itโ€™s all still very personal and we all know most hosts are not hospitality professionals, so I cut a lot of slack, which is fine. But if AirBnB wants even close to an honest majority of opinions, I think thatโ€™s what it would take.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

Iโ€™ve had very good AirBnB experiences too โ€“ we are all bound to get an occasional one that is not so good, but it definitely is puzzling when more and more of them skew positive and yet you feel let down when youโ€™re there.

No, you canโ€™t leave a review when you are able to get out of a cancelation. I just assume at that time AirBnB is working with the host to get their listing to appear as it should (Iโ€™ve gotten out of places where there were fewer bedrooms than advertised, and no heat when it was advertised.)

I try to be honest and fair in my reviews too, but I think AirBnB is so personal, people take things really personally and I just tire of the whole review process. IMO, I want to feel safe and comfortable, and if there is a slip-up we can resolve financially, Iโ€™m usually OK with that but many hosts donโ€™t even want to do that.

On my most recent rental I even had to leave feedback in the โ€œis there something your want AirBnB to knowโ€ field โ€“ which in my case, included a male host being over-friendlyโ€ฆ (the guy is still texting me)โ€ฆ I have no idea what they did with that feedback but I had thought in retrospect I should have done the review after I left town, because I got a text the next day from him saying he wanted to โ€œspeak with me.โ€ (All his reviews were glowing, btw.)

I like the idea of having someone check out the place for you, but wonder what the cost would be for that service. And youโ€™d have to worry about local bias. I usually check out places myself in person before committing to a longer term AirBnB.

I always take the minor negative things listed more seriously than they were written, but in many cases, nothing at all negative was listed.

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@vincent_zhu | 5yr

I usually look for the extraordinary comments which seems come from the human heart, not robot. I was there a few times, but most are quite above my expectation. I would say the price can be a bit indicator for the quality, the questions host asked before accepting your request can somewhat reflect how they treat and care their house.

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@etc | 5yr

Iโ€™ve not had the same experience with AirBNB as you, fortunately. In the past year, Iโ€™ve probably done 20 AirBNBs or so, and each one typically exceeds my expectations. One tried and true method is to filter and look for just โ€œsuper hostsโ€.

I also donโ€™t think anonymizing the feedback would help that much. The host would still know who you were and be able to give a bad response. Also, for most of my stays, my host ends up reviewing before I do, so thereโ€™s no chance of a retributive response.

Just to give a bit of a countervailing example. When I was in Tromsรธ, my AirBNB host also had a cabin out in Ravika (Lyngen). We stayed there almost the entire time. It was a modern cabin out in the wilderness that I would have paid 3x my original AirBNB for. They also took us around the town and really showed us around. It made the trip so incredible.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

The superhost thing is a great idea. Iโ€™ll try it in future.

Youโ€™re lucky to have had great experiences. Iโ€™ve had few great places where the host has been fantastic. The place before this one though was so disgusting, we walked straight out and went to hotel. It reeked of rancid fat and everything was covered in a layer of grime and grease! Had great photos and reviews though!

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@etc | 5yr

I also try to avoid the dedicated AirBNB apartments when Iโ€™m looking for a private room. (I.e. the ones where they have an apartment with 3 bedrooms, all for rent) Iโ€™ve always had a lesser experience with those than sharing the place with the host.

Maybe itโ€™s worth creating a thread on here with bad experiences and a link to the AirBNB. That way people know to avoid them.

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@freeozone | 5yr

Yes, this is the very reason of all sweet reviews on Airbnb. People donโ€™t want to get negative feedback in return and also once you meet with your host (and it is a kind person mostly) you just donโ€™t want to leave a negative review and ruin his or her business. (Property listing on Airbnb rely hard on reviews score and stuff like this. So just one negative review can make huge effect on personโ€™s business.)

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

But the host doesnโ€™t see your review until after they post theirs.

Tbh, if the place isnโ€™t up to scratch, itโ€™s not the bad review thatโ€™s ruining their business, itโ€™s their own lack of effort or honesty.

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@gigigriffis | 5yr

I havenโ€™t done this with Airbnb yet, but Iโ€™ve done it with other rentals and perhaps itโ€™s the answer:

What if you had someone go look at the place for you before you book? You could probably find someone for a negligible fee who would be willing to go over and take a few photos and go over a checklist of things that are important to you. I did this with my recent Craigslist rental (since there you donโ€™t even have the luxury of reviews to attempt to suss things out) and Iโ€™ve definitely done it with neighborhoods/areas (having someone scope out whether the area seems sketchy) before. I bet you could also find a way to do it with Airbnb.

Another thing I think helps is assuming anything mentioned in a review is worse than it seems. So, for example, if someone says the internet cut out once or twice, the internet probably cuts out quite a lot. If someone says overall they liked the stay, but there was a little traffic noise, assume itโ€™s going to sound like a train station in there. I think people mention the negative things most times, they just downplay them a lot.

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@lightmotif | 5yr

I think guest reviews ought to be anonymous. Iโ€™ve expressed this to AirBnB a while back โ€“ that they need to change their review system โ€“ but perhaps they would listen if it came from a larger group of people. So perhaps we should get a petition going here. What do folks think? As nomad/ frequent AirBnB renters, we hold quite a bit of influence.

As you are probably aware, if you complain about anything after arriving (unless itโ€™s โ€œnot as materially listedโ€ in which case you can get out of the reservation), not only do you risk getting a bad review yourself, but your reviews can be tracked back to your profile. I just think most people arenโ€™t willing to risk that, which is why a lot of places seems skewed way toward the positive. I will say a couple of times recently I wanted to list a few problems to make others aware, and instead I skipped the review all together instead. Iโ€™ve also had hosts freak out on me when I asked for a small financial compensation for things that didnโ€™t measure up. It gets tiring. My current place is through Booking.com, as was my last and next.

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@kathrynoh | 5yr

I did wonder if the reason for the positive reviews was because it might effect future bookings. I try to be honest but fair in my reviews because I figure if that puts off future hosts, I probably donโ€™t want to rent from them anyway.

The other issue Iโ€™ve found is that when the situation has been so bad Iโ€™ve had to cancel, I canโ€™t leave a review.

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@karel | 5yr

I had one terrible experience with Airbnb, to the point I didnโ€™t care getting a bad review in return. To make it short, the host threatened me to call the cops to get me out if I didnโ€™t leave before the end of the rental (keep in mind I was in a foreign country, not sure of what it would entail). First, Airbnb didnโ€™t do anything against the host. I can understand that I might be the exception among many satisfied renters but threatening a guest should not acceptable.

Now when it comes to the review, the resolution center made it very clear that I should NOT talk about the conflict in my review and needed to stick to the facts. I did stick to the facts but still mentioned the incident in a very polite and soft manner. Guess what, Airbnb never published my review, it was simply CENSORED! So one thing to keep in mind on Airbnb, do not trust the reviews to know if something is off.

Couple suggestions: 1/ I rent a hotel or hostel on arrival and visit the place myself. That way I can meet the host too. 2/ I try not rent peopleโ€™s apartment (sublets) anymore. It is a big part of why the host above went crazy I think, she wanted to get back to her apartment.

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@etc | 5yr

Wow - what the heck happened? Tell us the story and link to the AirBNB so we can reference it. They canโ€™t censor it outside of their site.

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@karel | 5yr

I tried to find the listing while I was posting my answer but could not. Another tip: always make a video/pictures when you get in and when you get out. The host was really crazy and later made false claims that I had damaged her apartment.

I wanted to be very cautious and asked Airbnb to send someone to do the check-out (to avoid the exact situation I mentioned above). They refused/couldnโ€™t so I involved the building manager who told me the host was not allowed to do Airbnb in the first place (building rules). I donโ€™t know if she got banned (of the building or Airbnb) or if she simply stopped renting.

That said, I can assure you that after posting my reviews and double checking the listing couple days after, my review was not shown on the listing.

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Read and participate in 13,918 discussions on Nomad List

Suggested topics

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What's the best SIM card you can get for traveling to Spain?


in Spain by @gabygarreau | 24d 23 days ago | 3 comments

Hi! I want to relocate to Spain and I was wondering if someone can recommend a SIM card with a good data package.

Thanks

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Central America - Where and what's next?


by @as11 | 6mo 5 months ago | 11 comments

Currently in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and heading to Santa Teressa, Costa Rica next week.
Then Aruba in the Caribbean Sea for Christmas and New Year.

However I feel I want to head back to Central America to bring living costs down, rather than staying in the Caribbean Sea among the expensive Islands.

This means I have around 2 - 2,5 month of unplanned travelling.
Any digital nomads who have ideas about where to head in that timeframe?

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What's the first step now that I can work remotely?


by @mariaplslourdes | 9mo 9 months ago | 4 comments

Hi everyone and nice to e-meet you!
finally, after so long I found a job that allows me to work remotely.
But now? Do you have any practical advice that I can use to approach this new world?
In particular, I have to put my tax situation in order, do you know a good tax advisor from whom I can ask for advice? (Iโ€™m Italian but I live in Franceโ€ฆI donโ€™t know how long it will beโ€ฆ) )
Beyond that, any advice is welcome.
Thank you!
Maria

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Which places in South East Asia are suitable for kids?


by @nomad4 | 12mo 11 months ago | 3 comments

Hi everybody,

weโ€™re a family of 4 from Canada (Quebec province) leaving to Thailand on December 1st.
Our plan is to take things slowly and live in a peaceful environment while working a little and doing homeschooling to our 6-year-old son (plus escaping Canadian-cold winter :smile:)

This is roughly what our plan would look like:

  • arriving in Bangkok, staying there for about a week (air bnb probably)
  • moving to Chiang Mai then Krabi (most likely Ao Nang, Ao Tha Lane, Railay) or Koh Pha Ngan (North part) or Koh Chang (2-3 months)
  • then Indonesia (Bali/Gili islands) (1,5 months)
  • And Malaysia (Batu Ferengi, Penang) to finish (1 month)

Weโ€™re not city dwellers, and love being surrounded by nature.
Knowing that, what would be the best places for a family who want something quiet, walkable and with reliable Internet service?

Thanks! :slight_smile:
Magali and Guillaume

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What's the best warm destinations in Europe in the winter?

 

by @jammingsloth | 1yr 1 year ago | 33 comments

Planning ahead for the winter. Iโ€™ll be in Spain in the Fall and want to go someplace warm for the winter in or near Europe, but not Schengen. Was first thinking Cape Town, but the internet is slow and it is very far. Was also thinking:
Israel - but airbnb listings are very pricey.
Morocco?
Turkey - maybe a little chilly.

Any other suggestions?

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What's the best bank account for a global nomad?

 

by @barrybjjoubert | 1yr 1 year ago | 25 comments

Dear all
As a wanna be nomad figuring out a way to get free of the rat race, I was wondering what is the best bank account to have while travelling the globe? I need an account where is easy for me to receive payments from all over the world and it also need to be a bank that I can find almost anywhere in the world. I want to avoid carry cash on me if itโ€™s possible.

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What's the best CRM/system for managing remote work opportunities?


by @panoramica | 1yr 1 year ago | 3 comments

Iโ€™m currently doing some work through Upwork, but itโ€™s sporadic and Iโ€™m keen to get more active on other platforms like Freelancer, Toptal, CodeMentor, Fiverr etc

Currently Iโ€™m managing leads in a Google sheet. Basically itโ€™s just a list of projects I pitched for, how much I bid, what I did differently from the last pitch/bid, how much time went by before I got a offered a job etc.

Iโ€™m not actively following up anybody, and Iโ€™ve in fact โ€˜lostโ€™ a few jobs where the client was keen, but then disappeared without a trace. I guess I need to keep in touch with those people to ensure that they remain focussed on our agreementโ€ฆ

Iโ€™m also keen to take on more small projects concurrently, without dropping the ball on any of them.

Iโ€™ve done a quick Google and turned up a few names including Salesforce, Zoho, Nutshell, HighRise, Base, Nimble, etc etc. But testing out all these products isnโ€™t all that appealing, so I thought Iโ€™d ask here first :slight_smile:

Ideally Iโ€™d like something that integrates with remote job boards in some way.

Feature list

Iโ€™ve done some research and currently have this feature list:

Proposal building & tracking

  • Compile proposals from snippets - technologies, past projects
  • Quickly pull together a realistic/client friendly quote
  • Test and measure different approaches
  • Beat proposal deadlines while maintaining quality
  • Fine tune pitch material to bid more quickly and win more work โ€“ templates
  • Store history about past projects involving common needs and technological solutions
  • Learn which proposal content is working, and which is not

Lead generation and client management (CRM)

  • store info about regular clients
  • track remote projects which Iโ€™ve pitched for
  • Remote Job Board integration
  • search multiple job sites for keywords
  • track projects across multiple remote platforms โ€“ API integration / message alert/response

Project Management & Scheduling

  • Break projects down into granular tasks
  • Gantt chart to visualise overlapping jobs
  • Calendar to schedule daily work, deadlines, R&D
  • follow up, plan and schedule future work now, rather than once current work has dried up
  • offline reminders via a dedicated Android app
  • time tracking โ€“ to get an idea of true cost, to flag issues to client
  • BitBucket integration

Billing

  • Integration with Xero
  • tracking status of payments, actual payment date vs expected payment clearance date

Marketing

  • Get repeat business
  • Build Word Of Mouth
  • Proactive lead generation
  • Publish proposals as case studies

Cheers,
Dan

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What's the best place to incorporate an online business?

 

by @octave | 1yr 1 year ago | 63 comments

I have an commerce website. We get around 1000 orders per month and this is going to get quite a bit bigger in next few years.

I am British. I live in Thailand.
Im not allowed to majority own a Thai business and small foreign entrepreneurs are not really welcome. So i need an offshore company.

I need PayPal and an ecommerce internet merchant account. Also looking at alternatives like worldpay. 2checkout etc

Does PayPal need me to be a resident to the country i register my account to? Are there complications being a non resident to get other payment solutions?

Apparently in Hong Kong you need 2 years trading history to get an Internet Mechant Account and they generally turn their noses up at those with less than $1m(us) a year turn over. Singapore seems a bit easier.

I really want to avoid paperwork and book keeping. I hate it.

So i was looking at Seychelles, Panama, BVI, Belize.

Does anyone have experience with payment providers in these countries?

Most nomads i see donโ€™t really have a high volume of small monthly transactions which i do. Im going around in circles and donโ€™t know where to start.

Ill also need a bank account for business and a personal bank account to pay my salary into

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What are the most comfortable and affordable coworking places in Amsterdam?


in Amsterdam, Netherlands by @frosay | 1yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

What are the most comfortable and affordable coworking places in Amsterdam?
I donโ€™t like noisy cafes and high prices of Spaces.

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What's the best mobile-data option in New Zealand for nomads?


in New Zealand by @goldsaj | 2yr 1 year ago | 2 comments

Hi All! Iโ€™ve heard Spark and Vodafone are the best. I plan to move around, so I care mostly about having good coverage, and all Iโ€™ll need is around 1 GB of data or so.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!

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London meet-ups / events / places to meet nomads?


in London, United Kingdom by @jameswander | 2yr 1 year ago | 5 comments

Are there any regular meet-ups or other places to meet nomads in London?

This was the only nomad focused event I saw on meetup.com:
https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-BNBrelBl/events/252398877/

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What's the best bank for South African digital nomads?


in South Africa by @kirst85 | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

Iโ€™m a South African about to become a Nomad next year. I will still be employed by a South African company and receive a salary into my FNB bank account monthly.

I will be mostly based in Serbia but plan on travelling a lot. Does anyone have any advice on the best bank account to have? Is there a way to not get charged a small fortune in ATM charges and avoid getting my account frozen for using it in lots of countries?

Iโ€™m unsure of the best way to handle things. Should I try get another bank account outside of SA (Can I even do that)? I also have a British Passport if that makes a difference.

If any of you have any experienced advice I would be very grateful, Thanks in advance!

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What's better? Puerto Vallarta vs. Playa del Carmen in Mexico?


in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico by @oskar | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

Iโ€™m going to travel to Mexico by the end of february and i would like to know which place do you recommend to stay at for a month or so. Which one would fit better for a digital nomad? Pros and Cons for each place are welcomed :smile:

thanks!

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Do you have a strategy for finding what to do in the city?


by @ifdattic | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

Anyone want to share their strategy/tips for finding out what to do when you arrive at new location, and/or finding about ongoing events (for example when staying for longer term)?

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Cheapest places to be a digital nomad in Latin America?


by @jfowler | 2yr 2 years ago | 1 comment

Hey guys โ€” Iโ€™m looking for the best cheap places to be a digital nomad in Central and South America. Priority list: 1) cheap 2) social 3) strong internet. Iโ€™m in debt and need to cut my cost of living as low as possible. But hey, I still have to live it up. THanks!

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Places in Central or South America with a beach for remote working


by @mcdime | 2yr 2 years ago | 5 comments

Im looking to make my first venture into nomad living this September and keep leaning back towards Bocas del Toro.

Does anyone have experience setting up shop there? Iโ€™m open to other warm weather surf towns as well

Starting a SaaS company that assists the operation of service based industries so being near some other SaaS people would be wonderful. (First time starting a tech company)

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Anybody with a software consultancy having issues finding clients while travelling?


by @raz | 2yr 2 years ago | 4 comments

I recently started running a software consultancy in the UK that specialises in MVP development and onboarding/marketing strategies. I found it relatively easy to get leads by attending networking events (quite a lot here in Edinburgh).

I plan to start travelling soon, though. Has anybody tried to travel while running a software consultancy? Iโ€™m really curious to find out how you handled finding new clients while doing that. Letโ€™s say that if I go networking somewhere in Asia I wonโ€™t find clients willing to spend much on a project (and canโ€™t just pay my employees less because I canโ€™t find good paying projects).

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What's a good US call and SMS forwarding service?


by @vong | 2yr 2 years ago | 12 comments

Hi all,

What do you guys use for call and sms forwarding?

Currently I have a Skype US number that forwards to my local phone number. However, it canโ€™t receive SMSโ€™es so thatโ€™s a huge dealbreaker.

Thereโ€™s RingCentral - but that starts at $29/month which is rather pricey.

Any suggestions? Iโ€™d just like to be able to call and text like Iโ€™m still in the US (when Iโ€™m not). Thanks in advance!

Sarah

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What's a good and warm place in April to surf with fast internet?


by @jakegibson | 3yr 2 years ago | 9 comments

I landed a remote job that is fully remote with only one team skype meeting a week. Iโ€™m looking to leave around March 13th and stay 1 - 3 months in each place. The first place I want somewhere that is warm with good surf. For the group video chat I need at least 5/2 down/up reliable internet. Any recommendations for a place that meets that end of March - April?

Iโ€™ve read through the forums / nomads list. Iโ€™ve already done Costa Rica and Indo and would like to try somewhere new. Currently looking at Sayuliata Mexico, Canary Islands, and Morocco though I think Iโ€™ll wait on the second two since they sound like they are better in the fall.

Thanks!

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What's the weirdest thing you travel with?

 

by @gigigriffis | 3yr 2 years ago | 21 comments

I was thinking about packing today and Iโ€™m curious: whatโ€™s the weirdest thing you guys have in your bags? Nomads are, by nature, minimalists, but Iโ€™m sure we all do it differently. I have a friend who travels with BASE jumping gear, another a sequin dress. So, whatโ€™s the most unusual thing in your bag?

Mine is probably that I travel with a dog.

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