Home Sharing sites including Airbnb and VRBO present new and exciting ways to experience your next vacation or holiday getaway. But are they safe? The short answer is yes, they can be. But, there are additional risks you should be aware of - risks that are unique to Home Sharing, and risks that that you would not face if staying at a hotel. The good news is there are simple techniques you can easily use to minimize these additional risks.
First Things First - What Is Airbnb, VRBO And Home Sharing?
Airbnb and VRBO are two of the best known Home Sharing platforms that allow anyone to rent someone’s home or a room in their home, typically for short periods of time for holiday or vacation or just a weekend away. The companies’ websites offer houses to rent in some of the world's best known cities and towns, as well as not so well known areas.
At the top of the Home Sharing websites, you will see a search bar that includes location, check-in, and out dates, and number of guests. You can refine your search using additional filters. The filter button will find homes that meet your exact needs, such as a house with a pool, air conditioning, pet friendly, nonsmoking, and much more. This helpful tool will allow you to search through homes that meet your precise requirements and save you time.
Each house will have a profile attached to it with photos of the property, a description of amenities, things the owners do and do not allow (like smoking or pets), nearby attractions, and a map of the location. Once you have found a vacation home or room that you would like to rent, you can then book it directly through the website. Cancellation policies vary house by house and are noted clearly. Some homes allow for penalty free cancellations very close to the arrival date, and others require more notice.
History Of Airbnb
In 2007, Joe Gebbia and Brian Chesky, who were roommates, could barely afford their rent. They knew that a big conference was coming up in their hometown (San Francisco) and decided to create a bed and breakfast in their apartment using three air mattresses. The idea worked, and they had three guests stay at their home for $80 each. They then started to realize that they could be onto something big with this air bed and breakfast concept. They started with a website to help people find roommates, but realized something similar to their idea already existed. So, they switched back to their home sharing idea. As they tried to launch their vision, they were declined by investors over and over. In 2008, they were still struggling to get their idea off the ground. But they decided to relaunch their air bed and breakfast at the 2008 democratic convention, despite being in deep debt.
To help, they also launched a limited-edition cereal brand called “Obama O's.” They sold it on the streets during the convention, helping to earn $30,000 for their struggling company. Then, they were invited to join a startup accelerator. Within 3 years, Airbnb became available in 89 different countries. However, with growth comes challenges. Hosts complained that their houses were getting trashed by their visitors, creating a challenge that the company still faces today.
One of Airbnb's great advantages is that there is lots of information posted about the house and the homeowners. Some homeowners are verified on the app, meaning they have had many people stay at their home and write positive reviews. Reviews are one of the best things to look for when renting an Airbnb. Each house should have a section under their photographs that are dedicated strictly to reviews. From there, you will see reviews on cleanliness, communication by the owners, accuracy, location, and value based on a five-star rating system. Underneath those ratings, you will see short commentary written by guests describing how their stay was. It is a good idea to read from top to bottom all the most recent reviews.
Communication with the owners is critical for a good stay. It is a good idea to contact the owner before you book your stay at their home. Ask them any questions you have and let them know about any special requirements. If they are non responsive, this is a good indicator the house may not be a good fit for you.
Some people love to travel independently, which isn't bad, but it can come with some risks. When traveling to somewhere new that you are unfamiliar with, it might be a good idea to bring a friend or family with you. Plus traveling with companions and family is often more fun than doing it alone.
Understand The Lay Of The Land To Ensure Your Safety
No matter where you are traveling, it is important to do your research on where you are staying. Research the neighborhood where your rental home location is. Airbnb might appear beautiful in the photos online, but the home might be in a community that is not what you expected. Travel.State.gov is an excellent site to check out when renting an Airbnb overseas. It provides travel advisories with a list of cities all over the world. This website lists how dangerous or safe locations are.
Trust Your Host? Of Course. But Verify Too. When It Comes To Your Safety, It’s Just The Smart Thing To Do.
With the help of new, advanced people search engines, it is now effortless to verify your host's identity and background to ensure that you will be safe in their Airbnb. Our favorite based on database quality, cost and ease of use is GladiKnow.com. These advanced people search technologies through nearly a billion public records (both online and offline) to locate anyone in the United States. All you need is the name and location of your host, which is available on the listing. GladiKnow provides a comprehensive, confidential report instantly, including searching criminal and sex offender records, as well as social media accounts, information about the property, phone numbers, emails, and much more. The results are instant and are always 100% confidential.
Airbnb is a great site to utilize when traveling, but make sure you are renting in the safest way possible. For more information on people search engines check out this great video.
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