7 Airbnb safety tips

Gelo Gonzales
Essential advice to keep your Airbnb stay as secure as possible

MANILA, Philippines – Airbnb has truly changed the way we travel. Compared to hotels, Airbnbs are typically less expensive. Pair it with a budget airline, and traveling’s suddenly more financially sensible.

But there’s always some danger to staying in the home of a stranger. We’re sure you’ve read, heard, and maybe lived through a few Airbnb horror stories here and there, but here’s one recent grisly example: an Airbnb host in Australia killed his guest for not being able to pay for the stay. 

Scary, right? You’re not in a hotel after all, staffed by professionals. You’re in a stranger’s home. How do you manage the risks? Here are a few tips:

1) Look for a Superhost

It’s probably the most important consideration for guests. Superhosts are vetted by Airbnb itself, giving them the “Superhost” badge if they have consistently good reviews over a set period of time. Airbnb reviews Superhosts 4 times a year, seeing if they’ve maintained the required average review rating.

2)  Check if the reviews come from verified users

Next, check what other people are saying about the host. But just as important as their reviews is checking if the reviews are coming from verified Airbnb users. Verified users are users that have gone through several identification verification steps including the submission of a government ID to Airbnb. For added identity proof, check if the reviewer has left other reviews on other hosts – just to see if they are a real person and not a fake account used to make one host look like they have good reviews.

3) Send your host and location details to trusted friends or family

Take a screenshot of your host’s contact details, the address, and the map of where you’re staying. Send these to someone you trust so someone else knows where you are and who the owner of the house is.

4) Get to know your Airbnb home

Look for fire exits, and other ways for you to exit in case of an emergency. Get a feel for your host too. Talk to them, and get a feel for them.

5) Know the local emergency numbers

It’s a standard travel tip, actually. Know the numbers of the local police or the hospital or other emergency services. You’ll never know when it might come handy.

6) Review local Airbnb laws

Research online about possible Airbnb laws for specific countries or regions. In Barcelona, Spain for example, ask for what they call a HUT license: a license given to legally registered Airbnb rentals. It’s an added safeguard for Airbnb renters: at the very least, you know they’re registered with the government. Paris, the world’s second largest Airbnb market after the US, has similar regulations in place too.

7) Talk to the host to find out if there are safety concerns you should be aware of

Your host should know the neighborhood very well. So ask them how safe the neighborhood is, and if there are some concerns you should be considering as you wander about. If your host is not around, check online for possible neighborhood concerns.

These tips aren’t meant to scare you. But it’s better to be wise about it. It’s not a hotel where you have the staff mostly at your beck and call. You’ll have to be the one to vet for the place’s safety, the host, and the neighborhood. – Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.