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  • Writer's pictureAlexa Renee

Broke and Bougie?: No Problem, You Can Still Book an Amazing Airbnb

Bougie- n. exhibiting qualities attributed to the middle class, especially pretentiousness or conventionality.

Are you low on a tight budget, but feeling good about life?  Do you just need a little warmth in your lifestyle to pick you up and get you moving in the right direction?  If you answered yes to this  question, then I have the solution to meet your every travel need.  You don’t have to thank me yet; however, you do have to grab your favorite outfits, toss it in your fashionably acceptable travel bag and follow me to an Airbnb.

When I’m a little low on cash, what you might call broke, but what I refer to as striving to make it into the “middle class” and bougie-dreaming about being in the top 5 percent income bracket, but in need of real life motivation, I turn to my beloved Airbnb. Airbnb provides home stays around the world by vetting home owners and listing their homes, apartments and vacation rentals as lodging options that meet pricing points for everyone, including the broke and bougie.

Guys, I am in love with Airbnb. It's is my soulmate. And most importantly it supports me for who I am - broke and bougie. Airbnb doesn't judge me or expects me to...give out. It sees my budget and treats me like the queen I am. Idris Elba move aside, I have a new husband here.

Oh god, have I gone too far with this metaphor?

Here are my tips on booking on book your next Airbnb!

But before I begin, shameless plug! If you've never used Airbnb, you can sign up and use my referral code for 40 dollars off of your first reservation!

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1. Location, Location, Location

Mural down the street from our Airbnb in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We stayed in a residential area, and felt we got a true Puerto Rican experience.

Location should be the most important deciding factor in your accommodation search. Hotels and hostels are usually located in tourist areas. Because Airbnbs tend to be more residential, you will most likely find yourself in the heart of a neighborhood with locals.

Here's the questions I'd implore you to research and answer before booking your Airbnb:

What is the neighborhood like?

Where's the closest public transportation?

Will I need a car?

How far is it from the airport?

What tourists landmarks (museums, churches, plazas etc) are nearby?

Is it close to the beach?

How safe is the area?

How far is nightlife/happenings of the city?

A lot of hosts will include answers to these questions in their listing description. If you have additional questions regarding the listing, definitely reach out and contact the host. Most are extremely responsive and receptive to questions!


2. Stay with Airbnb superhosts

Our Superhost, Naja, showing us a temple in Ubud.

Airbnb goes through a vetting process to ensure that hosts are providing reputable spaces for users. In 2016, Airbnb launched their superhost award which designates the regular hosts from hosts who have rave reviews and awesome spaces. According to the Airbnb website, this is the criteria to acquire superhost status:

1. Complete at least 10 trips OR successfully complete 3 reservations that total at least 100 nights

2. Maintain a 50% review rate or higher

3. Maintain a 90% response rate or higher

4. Zero cancellations, with exceptions made for those that fall under their Extenuating Circumstances policy

5. Maintain a 4.8 overall rating

Airbnb vets hosts 4 times a year, and superhosts status remains as long as they maintain these criteria. Airbnb allows you to filter listings by superhosts, which allows you to weed through the hundreds of listings that appear when you're planning.

In my experience, all of the superhosts I've encountered on my trips have been stellar. I recently stayed in a villa in Bali with the most incredible host, Naja. He was born and raised in Bali and hosts multiple properties in Ubud. Naja went above and beyond in hospitality for my aunt and I. He treated us like family. He was our chauffeur on the island and helped us book excursions. Check out Naja's villa here.

Hosts can make or break your Airbnb stays!


3. Read the Reviews

I've always been iffy about reviews. On websites like Yelp, more people are incentivized to leave reviews if their experience was overwhelming negative or extremely positive. You know what I mean. You're scrolling Yelp to look at a new restaurant in DC. One review is 5 stars- best experience ever, the waiter proposed, and the diners found literal gold coins in their food. The review underneath that one is about how the manager murdered their aunt and the food started World War 3 in their stomach. Americans are so dramatic.

Airbnb encourages you to leave honest reviews after your stay. I highly encourage you to read all of the reviews on the property you're looking at. If there are repeat comments on issues like cleanliness, lack of response from host, and most importantly, location, I would throw up a red flag and move on.


4. Book Rare Finds

They don't call it a diamond in the rough for nothing! When you input your travel dates and start looking through listings, you might come across a place that Airbnb designates is a "rare find". Now, while Airbnb doesn't have an exact definition for this type of listing, it usually indicates that the airbnb you're looking at is usually booked and it's *rare* to find an availability. It's like if that fancy restaurant you have been dying to go to FINALLY has a reservation.

Our Rare Find Airbnb in Cabo San Lucas.

My advice, book it. There's a reason why people book certain places months in advance.

Our airbnb in Cabo San Lucas was indeed a rare find. Click here to see how gorgeous this penthouse was. We each paid 300 dollars for our five night stay (60 usd a night).

Rare finds on Airbnb are a must do.


If this is your first time booking Airbnb, here's some extra facts you should know!

Cancellation policies: Airbnb has three main types of cancellation policies. Please be aware of these when you book!

Flexible: Full refund within a certain period (usually if cancelled at least 24 hours in advanced)

Moderate: Free cancellation within 48 hours of booking. If you cancel 5 days before your intended stay you get a full refund minus the service fee. If you cancel less than 5 days before your intended stay you receive a 50% refund, minus the first night and service fee.

Strict: Free cancellation within 48 hours of booking. After that 48 hour grace period, if you cancel you will receive a 50% refund, minus the service fee. If you cancel 7 days or less before check-in you will receive no refund.

Airbnb has three other cancellation policies for bookings with special circumstances. These circumstances are bookings made far in advance and long term bookings. For more information on those, check out Airbnb’s website here.

Passport Information: If you're booking internationally, the Airbnb app will ask for your passport information. It's apart of the verification/identity process on Airbnb. If you were to stay at a hostel or hotel abroad, they would ask for your passport as well. These regulations are set by the country you are visiting, not by your Airbnb host.

For more information on IDs click here.

Flexible payments: Airbnb recently launched a flexible payment option which allows you to pay 50% of your cost up front and the second half closer to the due date. I think this is a brilliant feature, many hotels do not allow you to do this.

Airbnb Experiences: Did you know you can book tours, excursions and experiences through the Airbnb app? Airbnb experiences offer unique one on one time with a local host doing a plethora activities such as exploring waterfalls and taking cooking classes. I highly recommend this feature for solo travelers!

And as a special treat, here's a video me navigating the Airbnb app! As you can see it's a super simple process.

Have additional questions about Airbnb? Or, just think I'm cute? Leave me a comment!

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