MY 5 CRITERIA TO CHOOSE AN AIRBNB

I really love the experiences of Airbnb stays over hotels, hostels or friend houses. I almost feel like a local when I stay in Airbnb houses or private rooms, I love to see and analyze how the locals live in different kinds of social classes, apartments, houses, neighborhoods, from an apartment in a classic brownstone house in Brooklyn, to a suburb apartment condo room in Amsterdam, an upper middle class house in Los Angeles, or a super residential building in Paris, a medieval and bohemian Parisian little studio, an enchanted wood house lost in the woods, to a mini apt in the Greenwich Village. 

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Those are unique experiences, and that is the charm of Airbnb, but you need to chose right if you want a great experience; I have had bad experiences as well and I have learnt from them. 

First, I think that if you want to stay in an Airbnb that's not too expensive and not too cheap you should reserve your stay at least with 3 months of anticipation, I have found that the best places are booked when the trip is close. If you can book the stay early it will be better.

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Personally, the most important thing that I look for when searching for a stay are the quantity of good reviews: I usually don’t stay in a house or room that doesn’t have more than 70 five star reviews, the more the merrier. Absolutely all of the places where I have stayed that have more than 70 five star reviews are great, it is a criteria that works. When I am going to stay in a place with less than those reviews, for example 15 or 30 reviews, I check the pictures and they have to be amazing, and I read every single review and if I find one that is bad I discard that place immediately.

The third criteria that I have is: location. I think that even if your Airbnb is too small, comfortable, or not that beautiful, a good location could save everything, if you are in a big city and you are staying near all the touristic attractions, or close to good transportation, restaurants, supermarkets, shopping, or in an amazing neighbourhood that is also good. 

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I remember the third time we went to New York, we stayied in a super mini room in an apartmente in the Greenwich Village, the room was not comfortable, just the bed, but the experience of staying in that neighbourhood is priceless, and the room was not cheap haha, you could go all the mornings to Washington Square Park that was a block away and enjoy the music or the street dancers or just chill there, you could go to any bar or trendy restaurant and come back to the apt walking, you could go shopping and just drop your stuff quickly where you were staying, you could go to any place in Manhattan in less than 20 minutes, 20 minutes! By subway, of course, and so on.

Other criteria that has worked great for me is  a to review very well the pictures, I mean the pictures that are listed in the place. As a photographer the photos are important for me, and I like to stay in a tidy place and if it is possible some kind of styled places. I check for the pictures in the listing like a hundred times before booking, I need to see that the place is clean, that the bed looks comfortable, that the bathroom looks decent, and if the place is beautifully decorated and illuminated much more better. I also see the street view of the place where I am going to stay to see if I like the neighbourhood or if the building is too old. etc.

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One time I reserved a house in Albuquerque to go to the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta, and I just did it very fast, I barely checked the photos in the place, then when I arrived to the house it was horrifying, it was cluttered with of all kind of things everywhere up to the ceilings, so I had to leave it and go to a hotel in the last minute in one of the most high seasoned places in the US in October. 

I usually prefer to stay in a private apartment or house with my own space, and bathroom, I feel better this way. When you stay in a shared place sometimes you have to socialize with the owners of the place or other people that is staying in other rooms, and if that is your goal, meeting new people, that is great, but if you want more privacy, and silence, and solitude it is not the best idea.

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If you can have an Airbnb with all these criteria it will be perfect: many good reviews, great location, visually attractive, a good bed and private. 

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