Recently the process of choosing a place to stay whilst visiting a city has changed and now there are loads of options available as well as obstacles and hazards to be aware of when choosing the right apartment. Travellers are now connected directly with the hosts and this has created opportunity for travellers to have both an authentic holiday home stays as well as a dilemma making sure they are getting a good deal and not being taken for a ride.
To help with this if written below a few simple steps that’ll help you when choosing the right place to stay, hazards to be aware of and signs you’re onto a good thing.
First things first…choose your location!
The location is obviously important for getting the most out of your stay, close to transport, close to shops for food and supplies and a safe neighborhood for coming home late. This is a tough challenge to get right, how do you do it if you’ve never been to a place before???
Simple…have a look on tripadvisor.com and search for the destination city. Read through some of the forums and get the latest on individual areas within the city. This is a great way to hear from other travellers what areas are like and will help you choose where to stay.
Secondly…once you’ve chosen your destination it’s time to choose the apartment!
There are several websites that can help with this, here are some of my favorites;
These sites are simple to use and pretty to look at plus have a good selection of properties to choose from. Its important that you know how many people will be staying with you and what you will need when you’re there. It’s easy to search using criteria such as number of guests and budget, but if you need wifi, or a mobile phone or towels and bed sheets included, make sure you state this at the beginning using the advanced search options. It’ll save heaps of time and not all apartments come with what you may assume to be included.
Create a short-list of apartments that you like based on your requirements (location already chosen, number of guests, amenities, travel cot etc). In choosing the short list of apartments, only select those that have;
- An image of the host themselves, this way you can be a little more confident they are committed to providing a good service, their reputation is on the
- Lots of good reviews, this is the best way to ensure the host and the apartment is exactly as they say they are and that you’re not being duped.
- Beautiful images and interiors, this shows the host is professional, proud of their apartment and not a fly by night.
- All the amenities and services you will need are listed. If they are really important (such as a baby cot) be sure to communicate this in any messages you
send to the host.
Be sure to contact the host first before making a booking, as this is your only opportunity to make sure all amenities you need are in the apartment and functioning before you pay any money out.
Check the host is responsive and answers your questions fully. Be sure to specify what you need even if it is in the description just to be sure everything will be as you require on arrival.
Its common practice to pay a deposit (usually 50% upfront, this is best paid by paypal as this way your protected), make sure you get confirmation of payment once you’ve paid the reservation fee and also of the booking from the host. State which apartment you have paid for and expect to be staying in.
Ask for the address or if the address is not provided the street that the apartment it is on. As a host myself I wont provide the address prior to a booking being made as a safety measure to protect my guests however I will provide the street. Use the address to check the shops, bars, restaurants, museums and transport links nearby.
Other important considerations to make are;
- What have others said about the apartment in the reviews?
- What is the price including all fees, are cleaning, check in / check out included?
- What time is check in / check out?
- How will we find the apartment after making a booking?
- How many sets of keys are provided?
- How is the hand over of keys arranged, will someone meet you at the apartment when you arrive to let you in and explain everything about the
- Heating, what kind of heating does the apartment have? Here in London the temperature doesn’t often reach heights that require air conditioning
however heating is often required so check what provisions there are.
- Check if towels and sheets are provided, if so how many per guest.
- If you’re staying for a long time, is there a clean and change of sheets during your stay?
- Are you renting from a reputable company, do they have a website and many other apartments with good reviews?
- Are there cooking facilities and are cutlery and cooking utensils included?
- Who do we contact if we have an issue during our stay?
- Are there laundry facilities, is soap included?
- What is the bed configuration?
- Are there many stairs to get into or inside the apartment?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Is there a welcome book within the apartment that offers information on the area and everything within the apartment such as instructions?
There are many great apartments out there with reputable and hard working hosts that will ensure you have a great stay. However, unfortunately, there are a few that are not so great and following these simple steps will help you sort the good from the bad and make sure you get the most from your trip.