How to stay with real locals using Airbnb

Lately Airbnb is criticized by many travelers for becoming more and more commercialized, filled with people who only want to make a profit, loosing it’s soul, by loosing the whole social component. We are all kind of disappointed that most listings nowadays are either professional hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts or private people renting out empty apartments and not space in their own homes. If we wanted to stay in a hotel we would book a hotel, am I right? By the way, in some countries, like Japan only registered hosts are allowed to legally list on Airbnb

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We want to stay with locals, engage with locals, eat with locals, and most of all get valuable tips about the place we are at and have a strong social component to our stay. This is still possible using Airbnb, you just need to follow a couple rules and it will be easy to find these real locals to stay with.

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1. Disable Instant Booking

Instant book is a setting in Airbnb that enables booking without having to request approval from the host. This is mostly done by commercial listing and less done by hosts who invite people to their homes.

Instant book airbnb
People want the option and security to look over a guests’ profile and reject them if they don’t seem like a good fit. Even if they don’t plan to reject people on principle, still the option to say no just in case is reassuring.

If you only filter automatic booking postings, you may miss out on the real local hosts.

2. Set Filters

Even if you filter out all “Whole house” you will still get a lot of hotel rooms and hostel beds in your search result.

Set filters in Airbnb

Try adjusting the price range a little bit and also use the map to zoom out of the city center.

Zoomed in map of Airbnb results

zoomed out result of Airbnb listings

Many people live in the suburbs so if you are only looking at listings in the city center chances are high you only find overpriced hotels.

3. Book Within 3 or 1 Months Of Your Stay

When a host is creating a listing they can enable the calendar for 1-year booking, 3-month booking or 1-month booking.

The commercial listings like hotels might not have a problem accepting bookings one year in advance, but as a private person, often they can’t really know if you might have plans, and therefore setting to 3 months or 1 month is a good option for them.
So don’t book too far in advance or the real hosts might not yet be available.

4. Read Reviews

When you have found a booking that seems good to you the last step is to read reviews. You want to read about how much the host interacted with the guests and how the overall atmosphere was between guest and host. That way you can make sure your host wants to talk to and spend time with you when you are their guest.

Airbnb listing review
And if after doing all of the above you still have trouble finding some local hosts, why not try one of these other accommodations where you can stay with locals. We signed up to Couchsurfing recently and if you want to you can read all about our first experience as hosts.
Spoiler alert: It was great!

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How to Stay With Real Locals using Airbnb | Stay with Locals | Airbnb 101 | Airbnb Guide | Airbnb for Beginners | Cultural Exchange | Homestay | #Travel #TravelTips


Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been payed for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This posts contains affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by purchasing products through my links!

Gain access to the exclusive
Social Travel Experiment Library

And learn how to Stay With Locals using Couchsurfing