What are some tips for using AirBnB?

Info for AirBNB guests:

1) Reviews are golden. See how your host has reviewed the guests, as well, to see how picky they are. Reviews can only be made after a verified trip, so they really are golden on Airbnb

2) In an emergency situation (i.e. foreign country with no way to contact the host and they are late) contact Airbnb FIRST, not AFTER Reddit. Reddit can advice, Airbnb can do.

3) Verify yourself as much as possible. Hosts do not get to see the verifications you upload, but they instill a lot of confidence if you have validated with a driving license, for example.

4) When sending a booking request, please add a reasonable amount of detail whilst not coming across as needy. You want to personalise your message to show that you have read the listing and dont ask questions that are answered in it

5) Communicate with your hosts before you go, and make sure they know when you are arriving and when you are leaving

6) Whilst Airbnb itself may be a business, do not treat rooms as hotels, but rather, as a paying guest in someone’s home. Many Airbnb hosts live in the place they list, and making sure they (and you) are comfortable is the most important thing mutually.

7) Airbnb reviews are not for the benefit of the host, they are for the benefit of their future guests! Review fairly, but honestly.

8) DO NOT EXCHANGE MONEY OFF THE AIRBNB PLATFORM. IT IS AGAINST PLATFORM RULES. ANY HOST WHO TRIES TO DO THIS, SHOULD BE REPORTED IMMEDIATELY

 

Information for AirBnb Hosts advice:

1 – Reviews are golden. Check how your guests have reviewed the places they have stayed too to see if they are fair or unfair.

2 – Assume the Airbnb host guarantee isnt worth the bytes it is written on

3 – Be wary of requests with no reviews, verifications, or detail. Even if they have their verifications and a review or two, I try to find out more. I will look them up on Linkedin, Facebook etc to get a better read. I also ask them about their plans for their visit and who they are traveling with. It might seem like overkill and could scare off a few guests but I’m focused on protecting my property.

4 – Communicate clearly to the guest, and find out when they plan to arrive and when they plan to leave

5 – Keep as much communication as possible on-platform in case Airbnb need references

6 – Try not to rely on third parties to do the hard work for you

7 – Remember guests are PAYING guests. They are allowed to have (reasonable) needs, particularly with advance notice. Hosting is not for everyone.

8 – Reviews are NOT for the guests. They are for OTHER hosts. If you have a problem with a guest, tell them, so future hosts may learn from your mistakes.

Learn About Couchsurfing and Getting Started

Maybe you’ve heard of CouchSurfing before or have an account and haven’t used it yet. Have no fear since help has arrived!

There are three primary ways someone can be involved in CouchSurfing: – surfing – hosting – participate in your local CouchSurfing group (get together of fellow CSers in the area)

What I do as a host:

Handling the initial requests….

I’ve been hosting quite a bit lately to the point where I’m probably overdoing it. The first part of the process is to put information in my CS profile. Everyone fills out theirs differently with some including a bullet list of information while others talk about their interests or views on life. I definitely prefer to host someone who has at least some common interests as me or has personalized their CS request. If I receive a request and the person does not mention my name then I’m more likely to decline since that is usually a sign of a copy/pasted message. Personalized requests plus having common interests nearly guarantees a couch with me. Generally I do want to host people but I’d rather host people I feel like I’m more likely to jive with. Messages that are sent 2-3 weeks in advice are hard for me to deal with since my plans might change — of course, I’m not representive of all hosts but I’ve recently received a request that needs a couch in 2 months. I generally know if I can host in 2-3 weeks in advance but not a whole lot more than that.

Accepting a request…

If I accept a request I immediately send my phone number and address in my initial response. Also, some surfers may be arriving at an airport or bus/train station. I don’t mind picking people up and then dropping them off later although I know not all hosts would actually do that. so, you can ask them if they want a ride if you’re comfortable with that. I also try to communicate what my plans might be that day if they want to join, or that there might be other couchsurfers there at the time.

I also maintain a spreadsheet that is easier to work and better tracks the information I need to know for hosting (Name, Arrive Date, Arrival Day of week, Departure Date, Departure Day of week, Total surfers, Notes, Link to Profile).

Declining a request…

I’ll typically say something like “I am unavailable to host, sorry” or something. I don’t need to give excuses.. I just need to say ‘no’ but also say it politely.

Doing the hosting…

For most surfers they’ll be tired when they arrive. If they’re only staying one night, I probably wouldn’t necessarily expect a whole lot from them. My best experiences are when someone stays a minimum of 2-3 days since that allows there to be enough time to hang out and get comfortable with eachother. if I have personal plans I communicate that I have personal plans and try to setup a later time to hang out with the surfer (for example, I have surfers over right now but I had a date with my gf last night so I couldn’t hangout with the surfers and let them know ahead of time). good communication with the surfer and vice versa is key. I like to spend time with my surfer rather then just being a place to stay. I’d expect them to communicate to me some of their plans if they’re not going to have time to hang out with me.

If you’re a surfer:

Getting a couch…

If you’re sending a request into an area that is very popular and it is in peak season then it may be very difficult to get a couch. You might need to send 20-30 requests in that scenario. in good situations hopefully you only need to send fewer than 5 requests or in one case I only had to send one. sending 5-10 is a good start but if no one bites after a day then I send 5 more. If a host doesn’t respond to my request within 24 hours then I sort of expect that they’ll be declining.

My thoughts on the best way to get a couch are to not only send personalized messages but to send requests to people you actually find interesting. I like to have my profile filled out with relevant details such as my hobbies but I also like to describe why I find my hobbies interesting. I also describe some of what I believe and some of the plans/ideas I have for the future. when I send the message I also like to ask at the end of the message if they have ideas of any cool places I should go see.

Here is a loose template I use for my requests: “Hi <Host name>, you have some interests/ideas/hobbies that overlap with mine. you sound like an interesting person. here is a paragraph of details about my plans in your town. do you know of any cool things I should see in town if you are unable to host? cheers! <my name>”

Responding to a host who accepted:

I will include more in-depth details about my plans here, my phone number and so on.

Responding to a host who declined:

I don’t think I ever responded to a host who declined.. we just sort of part ways and move on.

Traveling to the host: I try to communicate any change of plans. some hosts might care especially if your flight is delayed so you’ll be arrving at midnight and they need to wake up early in the morning.

Arriving and leaving the host: I like to chit-chat with them. usually I’m pretty tired if I’ve been traveling all day (although it’s very possible the host is wide awake). usually I try to ‘turn on’ my stored energy. I’ve tried bringing beer/alcohol as a kind of thank you but I find that it might be better to bring something more neutral like a jug of orange juice (without pulp). other times I’ve paid for dinner or left little gifts for when I left (or wash dishes, or cook, etc.). if you want to wash the dishes don’t ask if you can wash them, just start washing them and they’ll probably say thanks.

After hosting or surfing:

I like to leave a reference within a day or two of leaving because memories and experiences are easy to forget. usually i both add them as a friend and leave a reference. if i met any cool random people through the CS host and they have profiles I might leave them a reference or only add them as friends. if they’re some crazy awesome host maybe I’d vouch for them — you are only able to vouch for someone if you already have 3 vouches yourself.

Months down the road:

I moved 1000 miles recently and sent messages to the surfers who stayed with me that I thought were awesome that I have moved and that if they’re in the area they should stop by.

I know there are other surfers/hosts on here… feel free to agree or disagree with anything I’ve said. everyone has their own way of doing things and it would be great to hear everyones perspective and experience.

22 Tips for Staying in Budget Hostels

Below are some tips that can make your and everyone’s hosteling experiences a little more enjoyable. Everything you need to know about staying in a hostel and saving money while traveling:

 

Tips for Staying in Hostels

  • (1) Always make sure you have earplugs and face-mask for sleeping when in a noisy dorm room
  • (2) Sheets are often included in most hostels these days, but it does NOT hurt to have a sleeper sheet just in case you run across the odd one that does not
  • (3) Many hostels do NOT allow alcohol. Make sure to check before you go on a beer/wine run
  • (4) Some hostels disallow you access into your room during certain times of the day for cleaning. This is not extremely common, but check first; you may only have one chance to grab everything once cleaning starts.
  • (5) Many hostels do NOT provide towels with their linens. Make sure to bring your own just in case
  • (6) Many hostels, esp. in Eastern Europe, only take cash. Do not roll out to pay during check-out when you are about to catch a train and expect that you’ll be able to pay with credit. Always have cash available at check out just in case.
  • (7) AVOID leaving your passport as a deposit. Reception will often ask this in lieu of paying at check-in, but do whatever it takes to prevent this situation.
  • (8) Keep in mind when making reservations at hostels (esp. online), that if you cancel within 24hrs of scheduled check-in, they will probably charge you for that first night stay, no matter what. That is common policy.
  • (9) You commonly find hostels without lockers. While I have not had any problems myself, if you have super valuable things, most often staff will be more than happy to hold onto these items for you while you are out and about. [also bring a pad-lock, you will often need it for lockers]
  • (10) Always wear sandals in the shower at hostels. While traveling, your feet are one of your most important assets; protect them!
  • (11) Just about all hostels have free WIFI these days, so don’t worry about staying connected with back home
  • (12) Read reviews for hostels, but do NOT go overboard with them. I have stayed in great reviewer-rated hostels and had a bad time and vice versa. Part of hosteling is what you make of it.
  • (13) When trying to locate a hostel, make SURE to read the hostels write-up for directions. DO NOT solely rely on the “push-pins” on GoogleMaps; they have often led me astray. Also, sometimes hostels are tucked away so indiscreetly, you would never find them without specific instructions.
  • (14) Get to know the hostel owner/host. Hostel owners in areas tend to know each other, so they can give you good tips on hostel choices in your next destination.
  • (15) In my experience, the best hostel is one you can walk to from the bus/train station. The last thing you want after an 8 hour train/bus ride is to have to figure out the public transit system at 11 at night in a strange city just to get to the place you want to sleep.
  • (16) Meet as many new people as you can! Everyone at a hostel has 1 thing in common; they are travellers. Get to know them. When you get back home to your apartment, you will be sad meeting people won’t be this easy anymore.
  • (17) DO NOT leave your shampoo in the shower. Shampoo is a hot commodity to the backpacker. If it is left around, it will soon most likely be gone, esp. in a busy hostel.
  • (18) If you are leaving on an early train, do not turn the lights on at 5am to pack. Back the night before. Turning the lights on while a majority of ppl in the dorm are sleeping is BAD. This means you too party groups coming back at 3am.
  • (19) Watch for bedbugs! Read hostel reviews, ask current hostel-goers upon arrival and check manually if really concerned. Being plagued with bedbugs is something I would not even wish upon my enemies!
  • (20) Make SURE not to leave your wallet in the pocket of your trousers laying next to your bed before you turn in for the night. If someone in the room DOES plan to steal from you, that would probably be the first place they look.
  • (21) Always pick a bottom bunk! They are easier to get in/out of, closer to electric outlets and easier to arrange your stuff around.
  • (22) As a hosteler, keep in mind one thing; to ensure happiness, be satisfied with the bear minimum! These are not hotels, there is no concierge, no room-service, no mint on the pillows. You are a traveller, not a tourist. Life is an adventure. Do not throw a tantrum because there is no hot water. At a hostel, it happens!
  • (23) a lot of hostels offer a buffet style breakfast. casually grab an extra bun/bread and some meats/cheeses and make yourself a sandwich for later in the day. bring a ziploc/sandwich bag to keep it in. and grab some fruit if you can. it’ll save you money for lunch. i did this basically everywhere around europe. just don’t draw too much attention, as i’m pretty sure it’s discouraged.

 

A Few Bonus Staying in Hostel Tips

You get a feeling for a hostel pretty quickly – safetywise. I’d say that personal safety and property safety line up pretty well, but not in all cases. And it only takes one dick to ruin your trip. ID and use train station lockers when you’re staying in a hostel that hasn’t provided lockers.

Pace yourself. Traveling solo lets you set your own pace – plan to have one whole day off every fortnight/three weeks. Or make allowances for chilling out at comfortable hostels when you find one.

The hostel host will know good, cheap places to eat that you wouldn’t even think about – and will recommend a menu to try. Look out for (be wary of) ‘western variations’ of local dishes. They’ve always the worst food. I’ve ordered “What he’s having” loads of times, and it is usually pretty good. Remember, especially through Asia, bones are a big part of cheap eating. You’ll have to pick them out!

Watch what change the locals use/price they pay for stuff. Especially through Asia, again, prices are not usually listed – even in big supermarkets – and you will be had. It isn’t rude for people to haggle over everything, so be aware that you’ll be asked a very high price for things. My technique is to have the correct change (based on what I’ve seen locals pay) and place it on the counter with my purchase. It avoids that awkward, spanglish, haggling when you just want a bottle of water.

Always drink bottled water until you speak with other travelers about the state of the tap water where you’re staying. Watch out when brushing your teeth!

Often Chinese (sorry this is getting country specific – and nothing to do with hostels) will set the price of beers/drinks/meals before you enter the pub for the night. Listen to what locals are paying and state firmly that that is the same rate you will be paying.

Book ahead. Even if it is only one day in advance, if you can. Turning up late to a place without a reservation add another layer of stress you don’t need.

Using Incognito Mode Does Not Save You Money on Flights

Using Incognito Mode Does Not Save You Money on Flights

This is just bullshit. The price increase that you see is true but it’s not because the software is tracking your moves and try to score a higher price but mainly because when you search for a flight and continue for at least one more move it creates the PNR for you in order to save your seat from the inventory. And of course with each seat saved, the prices may or may not increase depending on your booking class (Not just economy, business but the actual class created for each price range).

These PNRs get destroyed when you don’t complete the booking but of course after a certain time which depends on the software and the choice of the airline. And when these PNRs get destroyed the prices go down as well.

Another price difference that you might notice is caused by promotions to certain customer groups. It’s not that they’re trying to sell at a higher price; it’s the opposite. For certain customer groups the seat might be cheaper. This might depend on several different parameters like where you’re searching from, what actions you take before you search (depending on your behavior you might just fit to a certain pattern and get a promotion)

There are also other factors in play as well. The sales channels of the airline are not strictly online, there are tour operators, global sales agencies and such which might have a better offer because of their agreement with the airline.

 

Better ways to search for flights rather than incognito mode

Privately search: https://disconnect.me/search Privately search, chrome extension:https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/disconnect-search/hmobfennjmjnkdbklhcnnfbhfibedgkk?hl=en

Disallow websites from storing cookies: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/disable-cookies/lkmjmficaoifggpfapbffkggecbleang?hl=en

Block advertisements that track what sites you visit: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ublock-origin/cjpalhdlnbpafiamejdnhcphjbkeiagm?hl=en

This one is really just for safety’s sake. Force webpages to use SSL/HTTPS, even if they wouldn’t usually:https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/https-everywhere/gcbommkclmclpchllfjekcdonpmejbdp?hl=en

As far as I know, just using incognito mode doesn’t stop websites from tracking you, so if you repeatedly search for travel pricing, “the Internet” knows you are looking to purchase that. Often times, when travel sites see you begin to search for pricing they will raise the price consistently over time, independent of what the current market price for say, an airline ticket is. Using these extensions will help you avoid those scenarios.

 

Better Tips for Searching for Airfare

  • Tuesday nights are the best nights
  • Searching for 1-person airfares will show prices cheaper than searching for 2+ seats at a time.
  • Search in incognito mode
  • Use your points!

Airline tickets are ALWAYS priced based on supply and demand

IF they think that 1 month before the flight they should have 50% of tickets sold and they have only sold 40% they drop the price.

If they have sold more than they expect, they jack up the price.

That is why no-one can answer the question ‘Should I buy my airline tickets 6 months in advance or 1 week in advance?’ Both can work. The best way to get a good price is to check ticket prices all the time so you know what you should pay.