Are you considering booking an Airbnb with no reviews? Here is everything you need to know BEFORE you book, or whether you should consider booking it at all! You definitely want your trip to be memorable, but you also could be setting yourself up for a bit of a disaster. Make sure you’re prepared first with these tips.
1. No Reviews? It’s a New Listing
This might seem obvious, but if the Airbnb you are looking at has no reviews, it is a brand-spanking new listing. The host is most likely really hoping you take a risk on their property and book it anyway!
One way to calm your fears about the listing is by checking the other reviews that the host has for other properties.
If they have a good reputation, it’s unlikely that the Airbnb will be a total disaster. However, nothing is guaranteed! In fact, even if the place DID have reviews, it wouldn’t be a guaranteed good experience.
I had my clothes held for ransom at an Airbnb from a terrible host who had pretty good reviews! Don’t worry, Airbnb had my back, like always, and got me my money (and clothes) back.
2. Cheaper Prices…But Beware of Fake Listings
One of the main reasons why you might consider renting an Airbnb that has no reviews is because it may be a bit cheaper than the other options.
Since the listing is new, the owner may lower the price to encourage people to stay there and then raise the price after the listing gets a few reviews.
However, some of these listings may not be real at all. If the price is WAY too good of a deal and the photos look too good to be true, it is most likely a fake listing.
If the description in the listing is way too short or isn’t filled out at all, that is definitely a red flag.
Here are some red flags to look out for:
- The price is too low compared to other listings
- You see the same pictures showing up in other listings
- The host isn’t verified
- The description is too short or nonexistent
- Photos look like stock photos
- Not enough photos
To find out if a host is verified, click on the host’s picture which will tell you immediately if they have had their identity verified or not. If they only have a phone number listed then they are not verified, which means they haven’t sent in their ID to Airbnb.
I don’t really understand why fake listings exist since Airbnb is going to give you your money back if you show up to a fake listing, but either way, you should be wary of those types of listings.
If the listing looks real, you still have a few things you need to worry about. Even though the Airbnb may be cheaper than other listings, you need to consider that the price may not be worth it!
There are many things that could go wrong (we’ll go into these in more detail in a bit) but if you are willing to risk a bit to save some money, you may want to go ahead and book! But first, keep reading!
3. Consider Who You are Traveling With
Not everyone who is traveling with you may be interested in taking the risk that comes with an Airbnb with no reviews. Since a lot of things could go wrong (Airbnb isn’t clean, ready, or doesn’t look like the pictures, etc) you need to consider the people you are with.
Have they traveled a lot before? If this is a once-a-year trip, then they most likely wouldn’t be willing to waste time searching for another Airbnb last minute.
However, if they’ve traveled a lot before and have experience, a few bumps in the road may not be a problem after all.
If you are traveling with family or a bigger group of people, it will be a lot more difficult to book a place last minute.
Also, since traveling with family comes with its own stressors, you might not want to add to that with a bad Airbnb experience!
Another thing to consider is traveling to your next accommodation late at night if you are traveling with children or by yourself.
4. Think About the Length of Your Stay
How long is the stay in your Airbnb going to be? Or how long do you plan to stay in that city? If you’ll only be there for a few nights it may not be worth it to take the risk that this listing is not as good as it seems.
Let someone else take the risk to help that listing start getting their first reviews, meanwhile, you could stay in a place that has been vetted by many other renters.
5. Consider the Cost of Switching Last Minute: Are You in an Expensive City?
Where are you traveling and how far in advance did you need to book to find a place?
If you are traveling to a popular city like Paris or London, you’ll be needing to book accommodation much more in advance than if you were traveling to a smaller town or city.
If that is the case, and you book an Airbnb that doesn’t have any reviews, you may not have any options left if something goes wrong. Either all the places will be booked already, or the ones available last minute may be way out of a reasonable budget.
Consider where you’re traveling to carefully before booking an Airbnb with no reviews!
6. The Airbnb Might Not Match the Pictures
As you know, if you are booking a place that hasn’t received any reviews yet, it may not look like it was advertised. However, if you prepare yourself (and hopefully you got a good deal!) you may still want to stay.
Of course, if you get there and you find that it looks completely different than the pictures online, you can leave if you choose to. But if the Airbnb is clean and in a good location, maybe it would be worth staying anyway!
You can warn future travelers about the discrepancies, but still get a good deal!
In a worst-case scenario situation, the Airbnb is unlivable and dirty and you will have to leave. In that case, you’ll definitely want to leave (don’t worry, Airbnb will refund you!) and find a different place to stay.
This happened to Jake and me in Merida, Mexico where we showed up at an Airbnb that was built inside a public restroom (didn’t look like the photos!!), and the bedsheets were covered in hair.
I honestly have no idea how they transformed this bathroom into an Airbnb (seriously, there was a stall and everything!) but we got out of there ASAP and found a different booking. Which brings me to my next point…
7. Have a Backup Plan or Airbnb
If you do plan to book the Airbnb, make sure that you have a backup plan. Or at least be prepared for the inconvenience of having to change accommodations possibly late at night when stress can be high.
You might also be in a new country, without a SIM card and no way to get wifi (Sorry, I just have to prepare you for the worst because this is exactly what happened to me!)
So what will you do? If you’ve been traveling for a while or have been on a lot of budget trips, this may sound like a normal occasion for you.
If not, this is definitely something that should deter you from booking an Airbnb with no reviews (or even just a few reviews!)
In our case, we noticed there was free wifi at the bus stop where we had come into the city, so we packed up our stuff and went there. I sat there in the bus station while Jake found a new place with lots of good reviews, booked it, and then we were off.
Just be ready, since they do say that whenever it rains, it pours. This is almost always the case when traveling!
8. You Might Have a Good Story to Tell Afterward
All of the bad aside, even the worst experiences can be a blast if you like that kind of thing! (I usually do, but I also have my moments lol) But when you are traveling, the best part is when things don’t go right sometimes.
You can get a good laugh out of finding a spider as big as your hand crawling over the public toilet of an Airbnb that you booked (I forgot to mention that part!!)
Just the ridiculousness of the situation can make it more memorable. Plus, nothing like that could happen to you in the safety of your home…which is why you’re traveling, right?!
What are you going to talk about when you get home and are sharing your trip with your friends and family?
Will you mention how beautiful seeing Mt. Everest in person was, or will you talk about how you were served expired ketchup spaghetti for dinner? If you’re looking for a good time, go ahead and book that Airbnb with no reviews.
It may be the riskiest move you’ve made and with the right attitude, it could be rewarding either way!
Read More About Airbnb:
- 10 Things to Know BEFORE You Book on Airbnb
- How to Travel the World Long Term Using Airbnb
- 24 Cozy USA Cabins on Airbnb
- How 6 Months of Rent Cost Less Than $2000 in Bali Using Airbnb
- Airbnb Reviews: Everything You Need to Know
Dayna Brockbank is a travel and language-learning blogger who has lived around the world but has now settled in Nice, France. She speaks 3 languages at varying levels of fluency: Spanish, Italian, and French, and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Spanish Education. She and her husband focus on making travel part of life by living cheaply and traveling on a budget.