Security and Safety

Airbnb Safety Tips Before You Book

By Abi Grise Morgan 5.12.23

Airbnb was once a niche lodging option for worldwide wanderers. Today, Airbnbs are often the destination for travelers. There are some seriously cool stays available in sky-high city condos, desert huts, and tiny homes built in shipping containers. It’s tempting to book a unique stay ASAP to beat out the competition, but there’s always time before locking in your accommodations to make sure you and your travel companions will be safe and sound during your stay.

Here are a few Airbnb safety tips to review before booking your stay.

airbnb safety tips

Ask Questions

You have the ability to message hosts before booking at no obligation. Asking a few preliminary questions will clue you into their responsiveness and communication style. Airbnb safety questions could include:

  • How many fire extinguishers are on the property?
  • Is there a fire escape?
  • What types of locks are on the doors and windows?
  • What type of parking is available?

Scour Reviews

Not just the last two. Go back through time and see if there are complaints about negative experiences, such as break-ins, noise complaints, or disputes with the host. One bad review might be a one-off, but if multiple people have the same complaint, there’s a pattern. Pay attention to the host’s response to these complaints, too, because this is how they will respond to you.

Research the Neighborhood

A well-cropped photograph of your Airbnb’s front door can leave out a lot of information about the neighborhood. While you can’t see the exact location of a rental until you book it, you can get a general sense of the location. Take a digital stroll down the street using Google Maps before booking to get a feel for the area. Abandoned buildings? Garbage strewn about? Packs of stray dogs? Pass! Then, for up-to-date information about crime in the area, look on the city or county police website.

airbnb safety tips

Make Sure It’s Animal-Friendly

Another cautionary story: My husband, cat, and I once stayed in a pet-friendly Airbnb before moving into our new house. Within days, our poor kitty was scratching herself all over, and our ankles were covered in flea bites. Always pre-treat your pet for fleas before travel, and ask the host whether or not they treat the property regularly for bugs and if there have been any recent infestations.

If you have a dog, ask the host if there is a sidewalk or a dog park nearby, and don’t be shy about asking for photos or dimensions of a backyard fence to ensure your furry family member can’t escape!

Check Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors

Several years ago, my husband and I rented a newly built cabin in the woods. After a lovely evening enjoying the gorgeous gas fireplace, we were awakened at 2 a.m. to a blaring CO2 alarm. Turns out, the ceramic fireplace logs were placed incorrectly, and toxic gas was being emitted into the air.

The CO2 detectors in our cabin did their job—but what if they hadn’t? This is why it’s crucial to always book an Airbnb with smoke and CO2 detectors and to test them upon arrival (or bring your own).

Never Pay Outside the Airbnb Platform

Airbnb requires all payments to be made through the platform. This is partially because Airbnb wants their cut of the transaction, but—importantly—it’s also a safety mechanism to protect your contact and payment information. If a host asks for payments through digital wallets or with cash, alert Airbnb immediately and find lodging elsewhere.

Thinking of listing your home or extra bedroom on Airbnb? Here are some things to consider before becoming an Airbnb host.

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