How safe are the digs?
Su_Gus/Shutterstock While amenities and aesthetics are important, don’t forget about safety. “There’s a gorgeous high-end hostel in Rome with a killer price because it’s in a horrible neighborhood,” says Kathy Haan, a business mentor who frequently uses home-sharing options when traveling. Consider doing a search at crimereports.com or familywatchdog.us to check out the safety of the neighborhood. You’ll want to feel safe and comfortable about walking home from a restaurant or taking the kids to a local park. Even if the neighborhood is generally safe, be vigilant about locking your car at night or storing things like bikes. “Most locals will know it’s a rental with constantly changing guests but this can potentially open you up to theft or other crimes,” says Haan.
You skim over the rules
Daxiao Productions/Shutterstock You just booked the ultimate vacation rental but upon arrival find you’re not allowed to have guests on the property unless they booked with you as registered guests! “Some hosts have very specific rules,” says Kerith Henderson, an Airbnb “Superhost” (a Superhost must have at least 80 percent of their reviews be five stars). “Guests who don’t read through the rules can find themselves in a difficult situation if they happen to break one.” Thoroughly read the rules and you’ll get a sense if this is the place that’s right for you.
You forget about comfort
Nenad Aksic/Shutterstock Ever crashed at a friend’s house and didn’t get a wink of sleep because their mattress was lumpy? “A great night’s sleep means everything on a trip,” says Henderson. “Find out what kind of mattress your host has. If you like a firm one, sleeping on a pillow top for four days might make you miserable.” Other issues to consider are the furniture. If you like to kick it back after a day of touring, the Victorian-style parlor chairs and settee may have looked great in the picture but not so much for relaxing. If you have kids, a bathtub may be essential for little ones who don’t use the shower yet. Plan ahead and think of how you will be using the home on a daily basis to determine whether it will be a good fit.