Choose Right Airbnb | Guide

Planning a family trip to Portugal that is fully organised by me has really made me think and be cautious about my choices. Travelling as a group of five means that not only are the accommodation choices more limited compared to when you travel as a couple but you also have to satisfy more people with very different expectations for the accommodation.

Straight away I knew that I am was going to use Airbnb because of a few factors: access to a kitchen, a wide range of locations, exposure to the locals, and competitive prices.

How to choose Airbnb right for you?

What do you want from accommodation?

Knowing your needs is the key to picking the right Airbnb for you. I suggest writing them down and discussing them with your travel companion. Create two columns with ‘Priorities’ for things that are a must have, ‘Extras’ for things that you would like your Airbnb to offer but can compromise on, and ‘Deal Breakers’ things that if mentioned are a big, flashing red light that will stop you from booking. If the lack of a housekeeper that makes your bed ever morning is a deal breaker then consider if Airbnb is right for you.
I’ve shared an Airbnb flat with the host and once it did not end well, you can read my Airbnb horror story, so now I am always looking to rent entire flat.


Great, so now we know what you want. It’s time to narrow your search down by using the filters. In July 2017 Airbnb offered filters such as: kitchen, shampoo, heating, air conditioning, washer, dryer, breakfast, indoor fireplace, doorman, hangers, iron etc. The facilities filters includes free parking, gym, hot tube, and pool. However, the most important for me would be ticking the box for the entire flat as my priority is not to share it with anyone else during my stay. Cottage in Wales ticked quite a few boxes.

If you are planning any holidays for specific occasions and you are looking at certain property types you can pick from house, apartment, bed & breakfast, bungalow, cabin, chalet, cottage, guest suite, guesthouse, loft, or townhouse.

Next step, looking through the properties that are available in the area you would like to stay in. Usually the further you are from city centre the cheaper the property is. Switch on the map tool, I’ve found it very useful to see the proximity from attractions I want to visit. Just remember public transport is usually regular and affordable within Europe so distance is not necessarily a problem.

A few apartments caught your eye? Time to move on to see their profiles. Pay close attention to the photos but even closer to reviews, host rules, and hidden costs.


Watch out for photos that do not really show the property. Close ups of flowers are great and I totally get them in the blogging world but that’s not what will help you to decide what the property looks like. Look for hosts that show how all the rooms look like, including the bathroom. Ideally if there is also a photo of the property from the outside. You’ll be surprised how many properties will fail this stage. This also really helps for locating it.

Host’s Rules

With a handful of houses selected go into detail and read the least exciting but one of the most important sections that tells you what are the expectations that the host has towards you. I’ve never seen an Airbnb that requires me to water plants or take care of pets but I’ve heard that sometimes it can be a part of an Airbnb experience. If the rules are particularly strict and in your opinion unreasonable save yourself the added stress and move on to another property. Once I was a part of a heated discussion if sex is ok in Airbnb or not. It was a host that interrupted visitor with loud noises.


After an experience from hell with one of the Airbnb’s I actually do not trust reviews. The house I stayed in had something around 7 - 12 positive reviews. It was enough to make me comfortable to book the apartment and it was definitely far away from the truth. There is not a magic number that will guarantee you a good stay and if you are particularly worried go for verified Superhosts. I know that everyone have to start somewhere but I would not stay with someone without any reviews or with any negative feedback. Kate from Cosy Wagon is definitely a great host, you need to check out photos it was amazing!

Hidden Costs

You’ve found the one apartment that you are ready to stay in! If the option is there you can instantly book it or contact host. Before this final step check for hidden costs. Some hosts do not play fair in my opinion and advertise for a lower rate just to make up the money in cleaning/service fee. Pay attention if there is a deposit required and on what conditions you will get it fully back.


Finally! The perfect apartment with no hidden costs but… Let’s just be triple sure that this apartment is for us. Contact the host with any enquires. For me a big part of the experience, which I want to be stress free, is communication with the host. The business is there and I am never that determined to stay in a particular Airbnb so if a host is not replying in a satisfying time scale move on. It will help you avoid waiting in a dark gate in the middle of Poznan at midnight when the door lock does not work. Thankfully my host there was a super star and picked up the phone straight away just to discover that I am trying to open the wrong gate… Joke on me!

I am on Airbnb, if you are not please use this link to sign up. You’ll get credit towards your first ever booking and as a thank you for recommending a new member of the Airbnb community I’ll get credit too. Thank you!

What do you pay attention to when you are booking an accommodation?

Share your thoughts :

  1. Such great tips, I always worry when booking an Air BNB but will follow these rules in future to make me feel more confident in my decisions.

    Ashleigh x

    1. Hi Ashleigh! I am glad, that's the aim to make people more comfortable with booking Airbnb. I can imagine that first time is always a bit edgy. Let me know if you need help with picking Airbnb, I am happy to support! Love, Iga

  2. This is such a helpful post! I've been trying to find accommodation for my trip to seaside through airbnb for the first time and it can be quite overwhelming. I'm still searching and you couldn't have posted this post at the better time. Thank you for this guide! x

    Antonia || Sweet Passions

    1. Thank you so much Antonia! Let me know if you need a little bit of help with picking perfect Airbnb for you. I am always happy to support! <3 Love, Iga

  3. I just booked my first Airbnb and I used this post as a guide - thank you so much for such an invaluable post!

    Sending you good vibes!

    Nati x | | @naticreates

  4. Fab post and fab blog! Definitely super important to pay attention to the finer Airbnb details when you're a frequent traveller!

    Rhianna | | @LessTravelledUB

    1. Thank you Rhianna! Little things can make the whole experience so much better.

  5. Fab post and fab blog, too! Airbnb is great - when it's done the right way!

    Rhianna x | @LessTravelledUB

  6. Great advice :) My auntie recently recommended Airbnb but I didn't know what to start so this post was a great help! Thank you :)

    1. Did you stay in one? How was your experience?