3 Things to Ask Your Air BnB Host Before Booking

Will there be construction nearby during our stay?

We arrived to our beautiful Caribbean-style home in the jungle totally ready to wake up to the sound of howler monkeys…howling? But the sound of construction next door at 6am threw a monkey wrench in that plan.

We’d seen the construction going on next door when we moved in the day before, we even asked the workers for directions. That should have warned us. Six am, though, is not 3pm. While I had some understanding of the fact that we were in a tropical country; the sun is too hot by noon, and everything is completely dark by 5pm, so work needs to be completed early, While that is fair enough, I wish we’d known about the construction in the planning stage, Any excuse to put the kids to bed earlier so that we’d be awake before the work could disturb our sleep.


Is everything shown in photos usable?

This is actually something to ask even hotels before booking. There is nothing worse than looking forward to swimming in a pool that look so good you want to drink from it on photos, only to arrive and there’s tarp over it. Worse, to be travelling long term, see a washing machine in the photos, and only once there, find out that you cannot use it.

We’ve found that the information and photos on the AirBnB sites are not always up to date. One property had two different couches in two different photos. We got in touch to ask what colour the  couches are now. (White couches when you’ve got two young travellers that love chocolate, are not ideal.)

Who will be checking us in?

It is very often that the owner, or host, listed on the Airbnb ad is not the person checking you in. The caretaker is someone else completely and this can be disorienting, even off-putting when you’ve built a rapport over messages with your host, only to arrive to a stranger greeting you.

You also run into the problem that the host listed on AirBnB goes MIA once someone else checks you in. Now you’re unsure of who to contact with problems or issues. Some secondary hosts (if the person checking you in is someone other than who you dealt with while booking) are empowered to make decisions about fixing something, or adding towels, or removing wasps nests from the kitchen, as it were. Some need to go through the primary host. The chain of command is something you may need to be aware of in a pinch.

We were once in a non-English speaking country, where the on-site hosts spoke very little English, and the primary host was in a whole other time zone. We didn’t know this until we checked in. We had to send every question to the host by message so she could communicate our needs to the on site host—-a day later, at the earliest. Had we known that we wouldn’t be dealing with her directly, we may have chosen differently.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of questions. We'll add posts to this as we go along, but in the meantime, got any more essential questions to ask AirBnB hosts before booking? Drop them in ouir comments section!