Vacation Rental Services

Vacations are fun but planning them isn’t. For example, where are you going to stay? Don’t book that hotel room just yet, just stay at a stranger’s house. Travel planner and founder of Allé, Irina Vishnevskaya has advice on making the most out of rental services like Airbnb.

Airbnb/ home rental

Why you should consider airbnb/ home rental for your trip

  • Get a feel for local life
  • Usually a better deal than hotels (if 2+ people, or groups especially)
  • It’s easy! Book online, pay online, communicate with the host through the platform- honestly often easier than hotels

Setting yourself up for success

  • Stay for over 1 night (not worth it otherwise- pick hotel instead)
  • Filter for “whole home”, that way you won’t be sharing space
  • Filter for everything else important to you: for example: easy parking, pet friendly, washer drier, etc
  • If you are very nervous, filter for “super host”- these are hosts with the BEST reputation
  • Know the neighborhood you want to stay in- this is a major way to avoid disaster. For example: San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood (very very close to central San Francisco but also ground zero of the city’s homeless and drug problems!) this often won’t be highlighted by hosts and reviews may not reveal it

Watch out for:

  • No reviews- don’t risk it
  • Only neighborhood pictures (they’re hiding something)
  • Look for the number of bedrooms not beds (unless you’re ok someone sleeping on the couch)
  • Read cancellation policy
  • Skim reviews for things important to you (noisy street? Stocked kitchen? Easy parking? etc)

Good choice

Big bright modern Russian Hill flat

Bad choice

Cozy and bright downtown apartment

For 4 people, but one bedroom, meaning two people will have to sleep on couch

Not a good neighborhood but deceivingly close, but reviews are good, so clearly- people self-select and stay here

Good choice

Vintage Healdsburg estate sleeps 8, 4 bedrooms, lots of common space, 15 minutes from town, amazing setting, good reviews, responsive host

Consider alternatives

  • Homeaway, flipkey, VRBO

Why Airbnb and home rentals are safe

  • Each home is managed by its owner- so it’s like staying in the home of Hyatt’s CEO. Customer service by owners is usually way better than what you get at hotels
  • There is customer service, in case anything goes wrong, and they are incredibly responsive, available 24/7
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