Hello everyone from our apartment here in Shanghai! Yes this is actually my very first Airbnb experience and in China no less for my current trip to see the Terracotta Warriors. Airbnb virgin no more! While I don't mean to go through everything about Airbnb, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of just how easy it was to make a booking on the platform. Finding an apartment in Shanghai was a cinch!
The Airbnb search experience
Searching for a place was actually super easy. I love just how intuitive the system is. They've really built it so that you don't have to think all that hard.
Tip: On the lower right corner is the “Language and Currency” button. Click it to change it to whatever currency you want to pay in.
Why it's easy:
- Map on the right allows you to zoom into the exact radius you're interested in and the search will filter accordingly
- Filter option allows you see only properties that rent out the entire place vs a single room and most importantly you can hone in on the price range you're interested in
- Heart the properties you're interested in to save them into a list so you can check them out later all together
- Listings themselves are pretty are easy to go through and I like how all the available amenities are clearly laid out
- I love how if you sign up for an account, it'll actually remember all of your previous searches so you don't have to type in the location and punch in those dates again.
For this Shanghai trip, we were looking for a relatively cheap place so we filtered for properties to a max of $85, ones that rented out the entire place and was centrally located in Shanghai. Eventually we decided on this one because it met all the criteria and had a lot of positive reviews.
I would say at the end of the day, it really is the reviews that will be one of the biggest factors in selecting an Airbnb spot.
The only con I will say is that it's a bit annoying that you can't sort properties in any way. What I would love to see is the ability to sort by “# of reviews” but I suspect this is done on purpose.
The Airbnb booking experience
Like the search process, booking was just as easy. Our place had an “Instant Book” option so I literally put in the dates I wanted and hit “Instant Book” button. After that I had the chance to pay with Paypal and BOOM it was done.
Properties that have the “Instant Book” option basically allow you to book on the spot because there is guaranteed availability and the owner is willing to accept any tenant.
For places without Instant Book, you essentially make a temporary booking by paying (held by Airbnb) and the request is sent to the owner. If there is availability and if the owner wants to rent to you then you get accepted. If you're rejected, the money is refunded back to you. This happened to me on another property we were looking at in Shanghai. We tried to book it and paid via Paypal but after he rejected me (still don't really know why), I got the money back on Paypal.
It was all very seamless and secure. What you probably didn't know is that the host only receives your money 24 hours after check-in.
Our Airbnb pad in Shanghai
Pretty sweet right? It's incredibly clean, the hosts were very welcoming and we actually have a kitchen and fridge. 5 nights for $306 USD is a steal compared to what I would've had to pay for a hotel in a major city like Shanghai.
This really goes to show that you can have an amazing Airbnb experience wherever you go in the world.
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