Having travelled to 55 cities all over Europe in 6 months, I have had some experience living in a variety of Airbnb apartments to draw comparisons from. I fully support the idea of living in an Airbnb apartment for its price, authenticity and cultural experience.
If you’re considering listing your apartment on Airbnb but don’t know where/ how to begin, these handy tips may give you some inspiration on boosting your listing’s desirability. Renting out apartments on a short-term (3 days to a week) basis for travellers that come and go can be lucrative, especially for popular tourist destinations like Rome, Venice or Prague.
If you’re a traveller looking for Airbnb deals as you go, these pointers may help you achieve a more pleasant living experience! Travelling around can be tiring business. Having a comfortable and enjoyable place to go back to after a long day of travelling cannot be compromised. Besides, most travellers would only visit a place once in their lifetimes, so you’ve got to make the best of your overall experience!
I had one of the best Airbnb experiences in Prague, Czech Republic. The two other fabulous experiences were in Lisbon, Portugal and Athens, Greece. They gave me the inspiration behind this post. On hindsight, what made my experience living in their apartments strike out so much culminated to several factors:
1. The uniqueness of the apartment.
In Prague, the fact that an apartment could actually house a second-storey astounded me. The apartment had ceilings so high that a “second-storey” could be built in. Inverted commas because it doesn’t house a whole storey per se, just a platform. The owner built a wooden ladder that led up to a platform near the ceiling to put another set of mattress there, increasing the living capacity of the apartment by 2 people. It was fun because it felt like climbing up a treehouse. It is nothing like the modern double-decker beds you see at Ikea. I hope these pictures can help you visualise better.
In Lisbon, the fact that I was living on the rooftop level made living in that apartment a wholly different experience. First, the ceilings are sloping. At both edges of the house, you’d have to crouch down to avoid hitting the roof. Second, living quite high up in the Alfama district means having undisturbed panoramic views of the neighbourhood. The Alfama district can be characterised by a labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets that wind their way up a steep hill on the east end of Lisbon. It is the oldest neighbourhood in the city and a place to wander and get lost in the maze of alleyways, past intricately tiled houses with wrought iron balconies and viewpoints where Lisbon opens up beneath you. Because of that, the stairs leading up to the apartment are steep and narrow. It felt more like climbing up a a wooden ladder, with each step’s width almost half of your feet length. These were some of the features that made living in this apartment so unique!
2. The service offered.
The Prague owner was one of the most helpful owners I’ve ever met. He offered us an umbrella after checking the weather’s forecast, completely out of goodwill. The apartment was so well-equipped that it almost feels like living in your own home rather than it being a stopover. Clean bed linens and towels are the most basic requirements every host should offer, but he offered more- shower soaps, dishwasher, new table cloths, a supply of trash bags, oil, salt, a complete set of utensils, kitchen appliances and even paper towels. He way, way exceed the expectations of any host. Not only that, he printed a list of recommendations around Prague for new travellers like us to assimilate into the city easier and even provided a handy map! He was around any time of the day whenever we needed help.
Our Athens host was just as kind. Although she could not speak English (at all!), she tried her best to gesture around the neighbourhood to familiarise us with getting around. She sat us down and pointed the different locations on the map we had to go as newcomers of the city. In the wee morning when we had to leave early to catch our ferry to Santorini, she woke up specially to give us handmade bracelets as a parting gift! Her service is exemplary- they are reflected all over her Airbnb reviews.
3. The interior designs.
I could really tell from the amount of effort put into designing the apartment in Prague. After speaking to the host, he admitted to putting in great thought in designing and purchasing the furniture for the apartment. Cosy lighting to create a soothing ambience, plants to give the apartment of pop of life, cute little knick knacks on display to breathe a convivial atmosphere into the apartment, and best of all, a stereo to play music as you unwind at the end of the day! The stereos, while seemingly inconsequential, can actually be a mood booster, especially after a long day of touring around the city.
Greece is famed for being one of the most romantic destination spots, hence a large proportion of tourists are made up of couples. The host played on that fact well and turned what used to be a dilapidated balcony into an outdoor porch with a candlelight setting and blue, flowy drapes to set the mood. While all this decorating and designing may be a hassle and completely unnecessary, it does add to the overall experience of each guest and contributes to their experience being in that city. it is that intangible, unexplained form of happiness derived from noticing these little details and having your expectations of an apartment exceeded with gestures like these.
Mario from my Lisbon Airbnb is working in the creative industry, and the way he built most of the furniture from scratch in his apartment really inspired me. The kitchen racks are all built by him, which I found really tidy and had a character to it.
4. The location and cost.
Location and cost are the factors I would always consider whenever looking for a place to stay. My accommodation at Athens was $26/ night, Prague was $18/ night and Lisbon was $22/ night. All were within good proximity to the popular touristic spots.
An alternative accommodation option is Couchsurfing. Read more tips here.