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A few years ago, the idea of staying in someone else’s house or apartment on vacation might have seemed a little crazy, but thanks to the growth of Airbnb and similar sites, it’s gone mainstream.

What you’ll find as far as Airbnb rentals are all over the place. You might find a decked out apartment in the middle of a city decorated with high-end commercial furniture just like a hotel room, according to campaignliving.com. You might also find sprawling villas with views of the sea, or there are lower-end options including rented rooms in an apartment.

A lot of what you’ll get is dependent on your budget, but you’ll likely find that Airbnb is a more affordable option than a lot of hotels, especially in certain cities. This is often the case throughout Europe.

Of course, you’ll want to compare the prices and make sure you really are getting a good deal, but there are some advantages when you choose an Airbnb rental.

For example, most Airbnb rentals will have a kitchen. If you’re traveling, that can be great because you can make your own coffee or tea at a minimum or stop by local markets and buy fresh items to prepare meals in your rental.

Europe offers some great Airbnb options, so if you’re planning an upcoming trip, the following are tips to figure out if it’s right for you and, if so, how to choose a quality rental.

Price

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Culture Trip recently cited data from Vouchercloud that look at the cost of Airbnbs in popular European travel destinations compared to booking a hotel.

If you were to go to Malta, Portugal or Switzerland, you would find some of the best deals on an Airbnb rental according to their data.

Their research showed the average three-star hotel in those locations would cost more than twice as much.

Similarly, if you opted for an Airbnb in Luxembourg, Slovenia, or France, you would find cheaper rates than hotels on average.

In the island destination of Malta, the average Airbnb price was 54 pounds, and the average hotel was 123 pounds. In France, the average Airbnb price amounted to 70 pounds, and the average hotel price was 116 pounds.

The most expensive destinations for an Airbnb were Amsterdam and Reykjavik, but still, they were lower than the hotel prices in these destinations as well.

Know What You Want

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If you’re thinking about renting a European Airbnb, you need to know what you want. If you want a concierge service and amenities onsite, you should book a hotel because you’re unlikely to get those kinds of services in an Airbnb.

The benefit of an Airbnb for many travelers, along with the price, is the fact it gives you a more authentic experience.

Rather than being in tourist centers like a hotel is most likely to be, they’re tucked away in real neighborhoods. It can completely transform your travel experience.

You’re likely to be closer to neighborhood restaurants and shops, and you can live local life even if it’s just for a few days.

Read the Fine Print When It Comes to Features and Amenities

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For the most part, when you rent an Airbnb in the states, it’s going to have what we consider basic comforts like air conditioning, Wi-Fi and elevators if it’s above the first or second floor.

Not necessarily the case when you’re renting in Europe.

It’s often common to find rentals without A/C, which can matter a lot to an American traveling in summer. There might not be an elevator either, so you will want to make sure that if there are stairs, you’ll be able to make it up with your bags.

You want to look at what’s listed as being included and also what’s not included, so you aren’t surprised.

Location Is Key

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When you’re booking an Airbnb, it can take a little research to figure out whether or not the neighborhood is a good one. This should be one of the things you focus on most because a good neighborhood can make your trip, and a bad one can break it.

Even if the apartment is beautiful and a great price, if you’re far from the things you want to see or in an unsafe neighborhood, it’s not going to be worth it in most cases.

You might want to go in reverse of the typical logical order of things and choose a neighborhood before you choose a rental.

Airbnb has a map tool that you can use, and you can zero in on a neighborhood or area of the city you’d like to stay, and then it will show you the available listings and their prices.

This can be helpful to give you a realistic idea of what you can expect to pay in your selected location as well.

Check Out the Rules

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With Airbnb, it’s a bit different from renting a hotel in that you may be staying in someone’s day-to-day home. The community is built on reviews, and you don’t want a bad review from a host.

With that in mind, make sure you’re clear on any house rules, and if you aren’t, speak to the host beforehand for clarification.

There are also rules as far as the booking process. For example, hosts can decide on their own cancellation policies and some are strict while others aren’t, so be clear on this as well.

Finally, go over the reviews with a fine-tooth comb. The reviews are there for a reason, and if you find a listing with no reviews, it may be new to the site but unless you’re feeling adventurous, you might skip it. You should read over all the reviews and make sure there’s nothing hidden in them you should be aware of.

Airbnb does verify properties in some cases, too, so that’s helpful because you can ensure a rental is what the owner is claiming it is on the listing.

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