Family vacations are perfect for creating cherished memories you can carry with you for the rest of your life. However, the safety of your loved ones, whether you have toddlers or teens, could often become a significant concern during travels.
If you plan an Airbnb stay, taking extra precautions is particularly vital. Remember, despite the many perks of using this platform, its rentals can expose you to safety hazards you will not typically encounter at hotels.
When staying at a stranger’s house or apartment, you won’t have the same level of safety comforts as a hotel with around-the-clock CCTV, security protocols, and service staff teams.
But this doesn’t mean you must compromise your family’s privacy and safety when using Airbnb accommodation. Taking proactive measures can minimize risks and enjoy a safe vacation with your loved ones.
Here is what you should know.
1. Check Reviews
A host’s profile or listing description alone will not give you an accurate and complete idea about a rental.
Remember, property owners can exaggerate, lie, or misrepresent details. As a result, what greets you once you arrive at the destination could be entirely different from the picture painted online. This is where guest reviews come into play.
As much as 90% of bookings on Airbnb are influenced by positive reviews left by guests. This puts pressure on hosts to deliver a superior experience in line with their promise.
Reviews also allow vacationers to gain first-hand insights from authentic travellers to understand what a rental is truly like.
Once guests complete their stay, Airbnb lets them rate the rental property and the host based on several criteria, including location, listing accuracy, and host responsiveness. Guests can also leave comments to describe their overall stay, highlighting positives and negatives.
When browsing such reviews, pay specific attention to those left by travellers who have stayed with their kids. What have they mentioned about safety? Have they hinted at child-friendly features such as safety gates and power outlet covers? Every bit of information can be useful when selecting a safe rental for your family.
In addition to individual ratings, Airbnb also calculates and displays an overall rating for each host using the reviews all guests provide. The higher the rating, the better it is. The same goes for higher numbers of reviews. This indicates that the rental has accommodated multiple guests, which signals its popularity among travellers.
The Airbnb Superhost status is another critical factor to consider. These hosts have better reviews. They have also hosted more guests, which makes them highly experienced.
2. Research the Local Area
Unlike hotels, Airbnb stays are usually located in residential neighbourhoods. Some may not be the safest for family vacations, although the property listings might not give away any clues for you to identify them.
Doing some homework is essential to ensure the rental is appropriate for a family with kids to stay overnight safely. Guest reviews could give you some indications of this. However, online research is best to uncover more details.
To find out more about the property, reverse search the address. It is a great way to learn who owns the place, their contact information, and, most importantly, whether sex offenders are in the area. Google Street View could also shed some light on the locality.
After confirming that the rental is in a family-friendly neighbourhood, use Google Maps to check how close it is to essential amenities and services. For instance, is there a hospital and a supermarket nearby? Where is the police station based?
Note down local emergency contact numbers and share them with your spouse. If you have teenagers, let them also save the numbers on their phones.
In addition, look for any travel warnings issued relating to the area. Checking the sex offender directory for anyone in the local community would also be useful for added safety.
3. Carry Out a Safety Check
Scan the space for potential safety threats as soon as you arrive at the rental. If you have small kids, be mindful of sharp objects, wires and cords, breakables, loose shelves, unsteady furniture, and similar hazards and address them immediately.
Check the doors and windows to assess their security and whether the locks work without an issue.
Take note of all the entry and exit points of the house or apartment. Check where the fire extinguisher and first aid kits are. Scanning the neighbourhood and familiarising yourself with the streets and surroundings would be helpful.
4. Look for Hidden Cameras
Airbnb prohibits hosts from installing hidden cameras, although a few incidents have been reported. To protect your family’s privacy and safety, ask the host about cameras on the property.
After you arrive, scan the rooms for any unusual devices or objects. Cameras could be hidden in soft toys, light fixtures, smoke alarms, air vents, clocks, decorative items, and countless other places.
One way to detect them is by turning off the lights and holding a flashlight to identify any reflections. Mobile apps can also alert you about devices connected to a particular Wi-Fi network.
5. Check for Smoke and CO Detectors
Many hosts mention whether their properties have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors under the Safety features of their Airbnb listing.
However, confirming they are in working order is worthwhile when you get to the rental. As an added safety measure, you can carry portable detectors as well.
6. Enable Location Tracking
Being able to track your family’s whereabouts is crucial when you are staying in an unfamiliar environment.
If you have kids old enough to carry their own smartphones, ensure you install a location-tracking app before going on vacation. This is especially important for teenagers who might want to wander independently.
Ultimately, safety hazards can exist wherever you stay, whether at a luxury hotel, motel, or rented property. When using Airbnb with your family, the best action is to do homework before renting.
The more information you have, the easier it is to make an informed decision. Also, remember to pack smart and take adequate safety precautions. Prepare for unexpected events and chat with kids about the importance of following safety protocols.
We hope this article on Wyld Family Travel helps shed some light on deciding which is the best Airbnb apartment rental for your vacation.