Tech Fix: Booking With Airbnb? Here’s Your Survival Guide

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Airbnb has some other recommendations: Do a safety check after you enter the house and make sure there is a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher. If something seems odd, contact the host and then, if necessary, call Airbnb’s customer service line.

Nick Shapiro, who oversees Airbnb’s trust and risk management, said the company takes additional safety measures like performing background checks on American hosts and guests, and all reservations are scored for risk.

“We work hard to ensure that our guests have a positive and safe experience when traveling with us,” he said.

To play it extra safe, always have a backup plan. Jot down some attractive hotels near your reservation in case your Airbnb stay falls through. Hosts may cancel reservations for a variety of reasons. I once had to cancel a reservation for a family during the winter when a frozen pipe burst and flooded the house.

Be a Good Guest

All of those tips are irrelevant if you can’t book on Airbnb in the first place because hosts don’t like you. Fortunately, being a superb guest is relatively easy.

Jasper Ribbers, a co-author of “Get Paid for Your Pad,” a book about his experience as an Airbnb Superhost, recommends that guests fill out their profiles with as much detail as possible, including completing verifications of their identity. This helps give a host confidence that you are a real person with nothing to hide.

The rest is common sense: Be communicative and polite, follow the house rules and treat the rental as you would a friend’s home. That’s usually enough to earn you a perfect review from a host.

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