We rented an airbnb-listed apartment in Paris

By on September 10, 2014
This summer, we had the most wonderful travel experience to Europe and did something different for a change. We stayed at an Airbnb. Tired and bored of hotels and serviced apartments, we ditched the hotel for an Airbnb accommodation.

Our family of 4 stayed at a real lovely Parisian apartment for 5 nights. The place did not disappoint.

Air BNB is a unique platform for travelers who, like my family, are looking to stay at a real apartment or house (even villas or castles!) listed all over the world for a few days and nights . It has thousands of fully furnished apartment listings in many cities all over the world. (www.airbnb.com)
Just six years since the California based platform started, there are now more than 15 million guests who have used AirBNB in 192 countries. The brains behind this brilliant concept of offering business and leisure travelers the unique experience to live in a real home just like the locals are three young Americans: Nathan Blecharczyk, Brian Chesky, and Joe Gebbia .

With AirBNB, you get to choose to stay in a particular floor and less touristy city. The AirBNB site recommends sights to see and shares useful tips to get the most out of your stay in a city.

For families to experience the same, here’s an easy guide on how to book your apartment.

1. Register
Go to AirBNB website and register. Enter the city, the dates you want to travel and the number of guests. Airbnb will show you a listing of properties of all types (flat, apartments, detached house, villa, etc.) throughout the city and any price range.
2. Filter
Filter search to get your ideal floor. On the right screen are fields where you can select the option to rent the “whole property” (an entire floor), or a “private room” or “shared room” (the latter two being in a shared flat). Then select the area. By default, a map of the city with apartments for rent will show up. Expand the section. When you have chosen the area, click over the icons on each floor to see a detailed information of the property. You can also set a minimum and maximum price per night depending on your budget. In our case, we knew we wanted to be at the center of the city so we paid something like 21,000 yen a day for the rent of the whole apartment.
If any of the homes listed catches your attention, don’t forget to read all the details before you hit “book” . These are some of the factors you should consider:

Final price: Shown to the left of the screen. This is the amount of nights you have selected, but does not include Airbnb service fee (shown below in smaller print) that are added to the final amount when you confirm the booking.
Photos: Check out all the photos to make sure you are provided everything you need during your stay.
Map: Keep in mind that sometimes, the direction that appears on the map does not accurately match the direction of the floor.
Calendar: The calendar shows the vacant and occupied dates for a specific floor including the price per night.
Description and services: It is very important that you read the description and all the amenities to avoid any dissatisfaction. This is where all the necessary information is listed such as what’s included in the price i,e, towels, linens, flatirons, hair blower, etc.
Minimum stay: Some hosts require a minimum nights stay and even offer a discount for weekly or monthly stays.
Security Deposit: A deposit is required before the trip, and will be returned once the host has fully verified that there was no damage on the property after you’ve checked out.
Extra charge per guest: Typically, the price per night shown on the field is the final price, but in some rare cases, guests are required to pay extra for an added guest. (In our case, we paid15 € extra per night for one additional kid with us).
Cleaning fee: Many hosts charge a cleaning fee, which is included in the final price but is indicated on this section.
Cancellation: Very important! Airbnb has four types of cancellation policies: flexible, moderate, strict and superstrict. Read the cancellation policy for each property well. Some require a certain number of days prior to booked dates.
Reviews: Here’s what every potential guest should read. You can also leave your evaluation on Airbnb to share with other travelers.
Information about the host: Here’s where you will see responses to inquiries, when was it last updated and a contact, in case you want to reach the host for some questions.

4. How booking works

Once you’ve booked, the host gets back to you with a confirmation within 24 hours. Airbnb Hosts recommend writing them to ask for availability before sending a booking request.

If the reservation is not confirmed, you will not be charged a fee. If it is, the full amount is due at once but Airbnb holds on to your money for up to 24 hours . This is to ensure that there is no problem with the accommodation after arrival at the apartment. before remitting your payment to the host. To book, you must be a registered user.

Any under-the-table charges are a deal breaker. If a host tries to ask for more money, immediately report it to Airbnb.

5. Contact the Host

Sometime before the trip, the host will contact you with more details about the floor and the delivery of the keys. but it is always good to greet him through the Airbnb site as courtesy. From experience, most hosts are accustomed to having their homes rented and have everything well prepared:. They send you a paper telling you how to get to the floor, give you contact numbers and even send you a paper with tips on what to see or where to eat close by.

Anyway, the most important thing to remember based on our experience is to always agree on how and where to get and return the keys as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstanding.

We arrived at the property but could not enter the apartment as originally scheduled because they were still cleaning when we arrived. So off we went for a quick bite and when we returned an hour later, a box of chocolates and a welcome bottle of fine wine were waiting for us by the door, complete with an apology note from the host!

Some users have had bad experiences with cancellation. Airbnb still has a long way to go but considering the thousands of stocks and transactions they handle every single day, it is quite reasonable to expect that things will not always be perfect.

About Ted Tanaka