How to Find the Perfect Neighborhood While Traveling with Airbnb

August 13, 2017

Since we’ve been living in Airbnb’s since May we have certainly learned a thing or two about renting places in the perfect neighborhood for our family. The way I have written this piece is designed to help you regardless of what you’re looking for. I can recognize that most people probably aren’t looking for the exact set up that we are when it comes to traveling, but it can be easy to get confused when you’re booking a place in an area you aren’t familiar with.

Choose the Neighborhood Based on the Type of Vacation You’re Looking For

It’s important to identify the type of vacation you’re looking for before you do anything else. With the exception of our trip to Iceland, which we treated like a vacation, we have made an effort to select places that feel like home for us since we are by all intensive purposes living wherever we are. Of course, for most people, this isn’t the case, but these are the questions we always ask ourselves before landing on a neighborhood.

1. Do you plan on cooking at home or going out for most meals?
2. Will you need to do laundry while you’re away?
3. Do you intend on spending time in the Airbnb or using it mostly to rest your head and get ready for your days of exploring?


Do Some Research Outside of Airbnb’s Site

Before you start digging through all of the Brooklyn apartments listed on Airbnb, do a little research on the neighborhoods you might be interested in spending some time in. Sure, if you’re visiting NYC and you’re planning to just see the sights maybe the location doesn’t seem quite as important, but in this example you’ll want to make sure you’re close to a train line that’s going to get you where you want to go quickly. A google search should help make this clearer for you!


Search for Specific Neighborhoods on Airbnb & Read the Reviews

With a city as broad as Brooklyn, you’ll want to narrow down your search by being specific about a particular neighborhood. Once the listings start to pop up make sure to read the reviews. We’ve had really great experiences on Airbnb, but I’m convinced this is because we ALWAYS read the reviews. A listing might say it’s a short walk to the F Train, but a review might let you know it was in fact a 30 minute walk. Take the time to read through the listing and the reviews to get a general idea on what’s in the area so that you aren’t blindsided when you arrive.


Ask the Host as Many Questions as Needed

If after finding a listing you think will be the perfect match, you still have some questions don’t hesitate to contact the host. It’s part of their job to make sure that both you and future guests are happy, so hosts are typically really great about responding to guest’s questions. And if they’re not, this could give you a good idea on whether or not they will be a responsive host when you’re staying at their place.

After You’ve Booked, Prepare

It’s one thing to get the general vibe of a neighborhood, but it’s another thing entirely to map out where you might stop for groceries, restaurants and coffee shops you’d be interested in trying and some parks that are within walking distance. Having a few spots to check out before you get where you’re going is always helpful. Unless we get in really early in the day we will typically go out for dinner so having a restaurant chosen makes the process so much easier after a day of travel.

Get to Know the Area So You Can Report Back

Remember those reviews you read that were ultra helpful? I think part of being a good guest on Airbnb is writing a quality review. Share your experience honestly and think about future guests who might read the review.

That’s all guys! It’s nothing too complicated or fancy, but we’ve learned what it’s like to stay in the heart of the action and what it’s like to be a little more remote. Neither is bad, but both settings can truly dictate your vacation so do the research!

Photography by Amy Frances.

Leave a Comment

  • We’ve only had good experiences with Airbnb as well, stayed in like 10+ all over the world and I completely agree. When I pick I try my best to only get ones with over 15 reviews and if there is anything in the reviews that doesn’t jive with me I move on to the next! There are too many to choose from to not get exactly what you want!

    • So true! So long as there are a few reviews we’re always happy. Sometimes the hosts will have past properties too so that can make the process a bit more helpful!

  • These are great tips! One thing I am curious about, not sure if you discussed in other posts already, is what you do if Owen gets sick? Do you find a local doctor? Does he still go for regular checkups like he would if you were still in Brooklyn? How does health insurance work abroad – is it needed like over here or can you simply just get an appointment without all that hassle? Can you pick up medicine at the pharmacy easily? When it’s just myself and husband travelling I don’t think I would think twice, but now with a baby, it would be on my mind. Curious how you are dealing with that as I would love to take my son on a big trip someday! Have fun in Montreal! Iceland pictures were beautiful 🙂

    • Great question! So Owen actually gets sick pretty regularly with fevers (he had them in Paris, Berlin and Hvar). Because it’s something we’re familiar with we have our systems in place for fevers, and any other sickness for that matter. Each place we arrive to we do our research on local doctors and hospitals, we always make sure to have childrens/toddler Motrin and Tylenol on hand (sometimes it’s a different brand depending on where we are) and set up a plan for if and when we have to take him to the doctor or hospital. Fortunately or unfortunately we have learned how to stay calm in these instances and know when it’s important to reach out to a doctor. We have World Nomad’s insurance which is more of a worst case scenario type of insurance, so depending on the location if we had to visit the doctor it would be out of pocket. Plus, we still have access to Owen’s doctor in NYC if we have any questions.

      Zack actually went to the doctor in Hvar to have some bug bites checked out and it was $10. Health care outside of the US tends to be MUCH more affordable and he was able to pick up antibiotics no problem.

      The way we timed our travels Owen had just had his 18 month appointment and we will be back in the states for his 24 month appointment.

      There are obvious holes in our set up, but so far it’s worked great!

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