Is AirBNB safe? What the homestay app does to make hosts and guests secure in their use
Ahh, the good old days of travel. The days when hotels and motels were the only option that travelers had when it came to lodgings. Well actually, those days weren’t so good. Sure, it was no trouble for people who had nice, fat expense accounts to pay for their business trips. But for the rest of us, travel was an expensive affair. Yeah, they advertise on sites like Kayak or Orbits that you can find hotels for dirt cheap. But that wasn’t the case all too often.
And it wasn’t just price where hotels and motels seemed to fall behind a lot. And it also wasn’t just service, although that left a lot to be desired too. For people traveling to see the world, hotels and motels often felt a bit too…impersonal. They can put as many exotic decorations in a rom as they want, but it didn’t feel like a home. As the old saying goes, you can put lipstick on a pig if you want. But that doesn’t make it anything but a pig.
Well thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that anymore. Smartphone apps really revolutionized a lot of businesses. And one of them was the travel lodging business, by way of AirBNB. This app lets you book a place to stay from a local who is renting out part of all of their home to your use. These types of lodgings, dubbed ‘homestays,’ became very popular in a very short amount of time. Hell, I even booked a homestay for my last anniversary trip in Prince Edward Island. And truth be told, it did feel a lot more like a home than a hotel ever could.
That’s all fine and good, but is AirBNB safe?
Some objections to the premise of AirBNB are to be expected…and for good reason too. After all, it does involve going to someone else’s house, someone who is most of the time a stranger. And if you’re a host, it does involve letting strangers into your home, and letting them stay for at least a night. There is definitely a certain amount of personal space removal involved. And this might leave you wondering if AirBNB is safe for you to use.
AirBNB safety; the peace of mind you need to know that AirBNB is safe for you.
Well, in my humble opinion, AirBNB is quite safe. The sheer mount of bad incidents involved with it is quite low. Sure, if you dig hard enough on Google you might be able to find a news story or three. And let’s face it, no type of lodging is completely one hundred percent safe. Hotel lobbies don’t exactly have armed guards at the elevators. And even your home isn’t completely safe; home invasions happen all the time.
So, the questions becomes not whether AirBNB is safe or not. But instead, it becomes what do they do to mitigate the possibility of potential incidents as much as possible? What do they do to make sure that AirBNB is safe as can be for everyone involved? And should something bad happen, what is done so that they can make sure that AirBNB is safe; safer than before, anyway?
Safety regulations and tools for guests and for hosts. What’s put in place to make sure AirBNB is safe
If you go to their website, you can find an entire section filled with nothing but safety information. But we’re going to be going over it somewhat briefly on here as well. I’ll be summarizing some AirBNB safety regularions and tools for both guests and for hosts. Once you read this, hopefully your faith that AirBNB is safe will be somewhat renewed.
AirBNB safety regulations and tools for guests
Every community has standards, and ours is no different. – AirBNB website
So you are on a business trip, and looking to shake things up a bit, take a brake from regular hotels. Or maybe you’re in the situation I was once, looking for a cool place for you and your partner/spouse to crash while on a trip. Or maybe you’re even just with a group of friends and looking for a home base while you tear up the town. Perhaps you’re one of the new, hip class of digital nomads, who see the world and work at the same time.
It doesn’t matter your situation. You will no doubt want some hint of affirmation that AirBNB is safe for you, and anyone you’re rolling with. Well feat not, because I’m here to help give you that certainty.
Safety built in; setting up your AirBNB profile
If you’re not certain that something is safe from the moment you begin using it, then chances are you won’t be comfortable. That’s why safety is built into the very fabric of the AirBNB app.
One of the first things you are asked for when setting up an AirBNB profile as a guest is your personal information. This helps make is so that AirBNB is safe in the event of something happening. They can easily identify who you are, and help you that much faster. This helps provide much-needed piece of mind for both parties involved. And you can even scan your government ID to make the profile info entry easier.
Things you will need to enter into your profile include:
- Your full name; first and last name, plus any middle names
- Your working, regular email address
- An introductory message for your profile
- Payment information for your transactions
- A verified phone number
- An agreement follow any and all house rules
- A profile photo that actually shows your face (no artsy black and white please)
One of the things you’ll need to enter is your personal Email address. But a host will never see your actual email address when booking with them. Instead, there is a temporary AirBNB address they are given. This way they can contact you if needed, and your info security is more assured. Another way that AirBNB is safe for you.
The meat of AirBNB, from booking to stay
It is highly encouraged that you read the reviews and comments left by guests who have stayed before you. This way, you will know exactly what to expect before you even make the booking. And best of all, you will know if it’s not a good idea to book at that particular place. They may even have social network info up, so you can find out more about them. You will sure feel that AirBNB is safe after you know your host well.
It’s also a great idea to read everything that the host has provided about their place of residence. Find out about any sort of amenities, special rules, or anything else there might be. This eliminates the possibility for surprises, especially if they are unpleasant. It also let you know if staying there is a good idea, if you have any sort of special needs.
Payment is secure. Just keep it inside the app, so you know AirBNB is safe for your wallet too.
It might be tempting to pay your host outside of the AirBNB app or website. You would probably think that this way, they get all the money and don’t have to pay the AirBNB fee. You’re helping them out, right?
Wrong. All you would be doing in that case is opening yourself up to the possibility of information theft. AirBNB prohibits paying for a reservation outside their services for this reason. Your payment information is secure on their website. Don’t compromise that by trying to go around it. Keep is to AirBNB is safe for everyone, please.
Talk with your host about anything you need to before
One of the best ways to keep yourself and anyone you’re with safe is to talk with your host. Let them know what your plans are, and anything you might expect from the stay. If you have any special needs or amenity requirements, this is a good time to bring them forward and make them known, so that the host can better accommodate you and your party, if you have others.
Not only that, but the host will likely be able to help you out with your stay goals. When I stayed in Prince Edward island, my host know about all the best places to eat. He also knew all the things that we should see in the area.
This was great, because my wife and I were pretty much flying blind when we got there. We didn’t know what we wanted to do! But his recommendations and suggestions made all the difference. And this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t communicated with him beforehand. AirBNB is safe to me, but it was also fun thanks to this.
Find out about the neighborhood you’ll be in
Another thing you can do to help bolster your confidence about your stay is to research the area. Find out more about the neighborhood, including directions. This way, if there’s an emergency or you get lost, you will have a better idea of what to do.
Another thing you can to to make sure AirBNB is safe for you is to get traveller’s insurance. This isn’t necessary by any stretch. But in the event that something bad happens, you will have a bit of a safety net this way. You can’t get traveller’s insurance through AirBNB, unfortunately, so check with your insurance provider.
Things to consider when doing international travel
Once again, you should really find out a bit more about the place you’re going to beforehand. Look up cultural customs and rules, if you’re going somewhere more exotic. Also, you will definitely want to talk to the local government agency for wherever you are from. This way you can find out about anything you need to know about beforehand. This includes things like disease warnings or advisories for travellers. This way you can make it so not just AirBNB is safe, but your whole trip is.
What if my host asks me for more money when I get there?
There might be cases where you are required to pay more after the initial booking. For example, if you trash the place, the host might make a claim on your security deposit. If you change your reservation, you may be asked to pay a fee for it. And depending on where you’re going, there may be additional taxes for fees. This is dependent entirely on the laws and regulation of the place you will be staying in.
However, any money you have to pay should be clearly outlined in the listing, including taxes. If the charge your host asks for isn’t listed, you have every right to refuse it. Never hand your host cash for sudden extra charges. You can dispute it in the resolution center of AirBNB’s website or app. AirBNB is safe for you and your money, so take advantage of the tools provided.
During and after my AirBNB stay
Most of the safety happens before your stay even begins. And during, my only advice to you is to be a good guest. Don’t be overbearing or demanding of your host. If someone were staying at your place, you wouldn’t want that sort of behavior foisted on you, after all. Ask your host beforehand if you want to have guests over.
However, in the event that something happens, there are tools you can use to respond. You know that AirBNB is safe and on your side if something goes down. This includes inappropriate host behavior, and many other things. AirBNB advises you to contact local police if you feel an immediate danger to your safety. And you can contact AirBNB with any other concerns.
After my stay
After that, your stay is done. But you can always help future guests be safer if they want to stay there. Be sure to leave a truthful, in-depth review of your host and their place. This way future guests will know what to expect there. And it helps make it so AirBNB is safe for other guests as well as you.
Host safety; making sure AirBNB is safe for people to open up their homes to
We understand that opening your home up to a stranger can be just as uncertain as being a guest. However, being a host for AirBNB can be an enriching experience for you when you get to know people from all over. Not only that, but the money to be made from being a host makes it enriching for your wallet, too.
However, in the words of many an apple farmer, ‘one bad apple spoils the bunch.’ The same way that a single bad experience can sour your desire to be a host. Therefore, we recommend you follow AirBNB’s safety regulations to mitigate that possibility. Keep it so that AirBNB is safe for everyone involved.
Before the stay; making sure you are safe from the start
Every guest is required to enter their personal information before booking with AirBNB. That way, if something goes awry, you know exactly how to follow up and who they are.
If anything a guest does makes you feel unsafe hosting them, you can cancel the reservation. This includes sending you an inappropriate message, or if you feel they’re breaking one of your rules. This helps maintain your own comfort level, and makes sure that AirBNB is safe.
AirBNB on discrimination
This one is something for guests to pay attention to, as well. One of the missions of AirBNB is to bring people from all over the world closer together. Therefore, there is a strict no discrimination policy in place. It’s understandable if this feels a bit murky in language. After all, discrimination based on nationality, creed, color or sexual orientation is illegal in post places already. But according to AirBNB, they strive to take it one step further.
The entire AirBNB model is based on not just no discrimination, but on mutual respect between hosts and guests. AirBNB is safe, but also open to everyone. Hosts cannot turn a guest down based on any one of these things.
They also cannot state a preference for, or have different rules for people based on:
- National origin
- Gender identity
- Marital status
- Sexual orientation
However, a host may make certain changes or mention certain things. For example, if there is a case where a host and guest share a living space, they can make it available only to guests of their won gender. There are many other cases where a host can mention or change things, though. For a full breakdown of it, I recommend you visit AirBNB’s nondiscrimination policy page on their website. Help make is so AirBNB is safe for everyone, no matter who they are.
What are some tips a host can follow to make sure AirBNB is safe for me?
Well, a lot of the safety tips for guests also apply to hosts. For one, never exchange money outside of the AirBNB system with guests. This will help keep it so AirBNB is safe for you, and your bank account. Same thing with communication. Try and keep messages to AirBNB’s communication features. This helps keep your own information private.
Also, if a guest does not have any profile verification, you can ask them to complete one before their stay. And if they have any social network information, look through it. Find out as much about them beforehand as you can.
And above all, follow the golden rule: trust your own intuition. If for whatever reason you don’t feel safe hosting someone, don’t accept their request.
How can I help keep my guests safe?
Providing a manual that includes house rules helps guests know how to behave and what to do. This is a great place to put things like a Wi-Fi password, and say if certain areas of your place are off limits. And if something should happen emergency-wise, they need to know who to call (not Ghostbusters) and what else to do. Basically, just make sure they know about anything they need to do beforehand. Cut down on confusion, and make sure AirBNB is safe for them.
Am I insured as a host?
There is an host protection program that AirBNB provides. This provides you with up to $100,000 in protection if there is a third-party claim of damage, including bodily or property. You can also contact your private insurance provider and ask about adding more protection.
If you need more information about the insurance program, you can visit their website. There is a nice, in-depth page that covers that exclusively. And what better way to make sure AirBNB is safe than with an insurance safety net?
Conclusion, and other things I need to know
Once again, everything I went over here is just a rough, somewhat lazy breakdown of their rules and tools. You can learn much more about the AirBNB procedures on their website. This includes useful things like where to submit concerns or inquiries.
Finally, if you need a bit more personal guidance, there are AirBNB meetups around. Whether you want to be a guest or open your home to guests, this is a good place to go. Meetups are full of people who have gone through what you’re thinking about, and can give you plenty of advice. Not just that, but you will meet many people. All people who want to keep it so AirBNB is safe for everyone.
And that’s what it’s really about; community and connections. Sure, it’s great to save money whole getting a place to rest your head for the night. But the connections you’ll make and the experiences you’ll have are worth so much more. And keeping it so that AirBNB is safe makes these experiences more pleasant and lasting for everyone. So go forth with a better idea of what to expect, and make some memories (and money, as a host!)