The internet has made shopping for a room to rent a very convenient experience. Through many online travel agencies, would-be renters can now compare prices at the click of a button. Technology has also given way to a new kind of accommodations: peer-to-peer renting of apartments and other unique vacation properties.
Sites like Safariors.com and HomeAway have made it easy for vacationers to get out of the hotel, and immerse themselves in the local culture.
And for many, this experience offers a great level of freedom, cost savings, and adds tremendous value to their experience. However, not every experience at a privately rented home or apartment ends with a great story. As one traveler found out the hard way, staying in an unfamiliar city, with an unfamiliar host, can be downright dangerous.
Staying Safe at Privately Rented Accommodations
So how can you make sure that you’re staying safe when you stay in a peer-to-peer rental property? Here are some things you should do before every trip to make sure your experience is a positive one.
Research the City and Neighborhoods of Accommodations
Travelers have two disadvantages working against them when visiting a new place. First, they may not understand the city, as a whole, and may not know the best parts to visit. Second, visitors to a city also tend to be more conspicuous — making them an easier target for crime.
Every city around the world has better and worse parts of the city that all the locals know about and understand. Before you set your heart on a particular location, be sure you understand where it’s located in the city you are visiting, and whether or not it’s in a safe part of town.
A simple Google search and specific travel apps may be able to give valuable information on what parts of a town are safe, which parts are more dangerous, and which areas a traveler should avoid. If the accommodations you’ve found are in a bad part of town, then reconsider your plans.
Read All Peer Reviews of Accommodations
One of the best features of a peer-to-peer rental property is the ability of former renters to give their feedback based on their stay. While not every stay is guaranteed to be perfect, an ideal location will have more good reviews than bad.
Before you agree to a location and start the process, be sure you read every review about the accommodations. The reviews give first-hand insight on the experience from people who have stayed at the property previously, allowing you to judge for yourself whether or not it’s the right place to stay. Reading the reviews ahead of time can help ensure your experience is positive in the end.
Have an Emergency Backup Plan
Even in the best of circumstances, life can get in the way of your travel plans. Either you decide on a last-minute change in plans that keeps you from your stay, your host has an emergency and cannot host you at your arraigned property, or you get a bad feeling about staying at the property. Or, as in the case of the example above, something very bad happens while you’re staying at the property.
No matter where your plans take you, you need to have an emergency plan in the event of the worst-case scenario. Your emergency plans should include possible routes to transportation, additional places to stay, and emergency phone numbers for the country you’re in. Click here for a list of international emergency numbers. By having an emergency plan, you can be best prepared for the worst case scenario.
While staying at a private location booked through a peer-to-peer sharing website can be an amazing and immersing cultural experience, remember that things can go wrong at the drop of a hat. By doing research ahead of time and having an emergency plan, you can cut down your hazards, and make sure you’re set up for the trip of a lifetime.