I found myself in Marbella on Thursday without having a place to stay for the next few nights. I had planned to go on a day trip to Ronda on Friday and then find a hostel or cheaper hotel in Malaga for the weekend, but everything was completely booked. So, I ended up spending a night in Ronda (which was great) and then taking a big risk in trying something brand new for the Saturday and Sunday in Malaga: Airbnb.
I have a few friends who have tried this service where people who have an extra bedroom (or an empty house) can rent it out to travelers, and they have had positive experiences. But as a solo female in a new country, I was very hesitant. Also, many hosts don’t actually live in the house. They have an extra house that they turn into a mini hostel and rent out constantly - not really what I was hoping for. So after being unsuccessful with Hostelworld and hotel sites, I finally decided I would Airbnb it in Malaga. BEST DECISION EVER!
I am now much more open to using Airbnb in the future (and won’t freak out if I don’t see any hostels or hotels available in a place that I want to visit). There are just a few tips I have for anyone looking to try it out.
How to find a good host on Airbnb
- Check reviews! If a host doesn’t have any reviews, it is a crapshoot what you will get. Everyone has to start from zero so you may be lucky, but for your first time you may want to stick with a tried and true host. Note: Airbnb has a free professional photography service so even the worst house can probably look beautiful for those who use the service.
- Distance from the city center (or whatever attraction you want to see): it can make a big difference in your experience and your wallet if your host is right in the middle of the city center or further out, especially if you only have a day or two in that location. I ended up taking one bus and a few cabs to get back and forth to my host’s home, but it still made sense for me since there were literally no hotel rooms available this weekend
- Ask questions! You can email the host and usually get an instant reply. Questions I asked were if the host lives there, how many rooms they rent out, how many people would be sharing the bathroom, and how far they are from the city center / what type of public transportation is available.