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How to Book a Long Term Airbnb or Travel Home

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Last Updated on June 5, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

Happy Chinese New Year from Hong Kong!

As I sit in this super tiny apartment, I feel totally at home at this long-term Airbnb. It’s strange to say that since only a few days ago when we arrived, I wondered how we would make it two weeks. It is, quite literally, the smallest place we have ever stayed in as a family. It is perhaps 600 or 700 sq feet? For our family of seven, one bathroom can be quite comical.

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What’s interesting on this worldwide journey is that I’ve noticed how much faster we are settling into the homes we stay in. The first long-term Airbnb of our trip, Portland, was a FANTASTIC location. The townhome was so much smaller than our old home, but it was still bigger than Grandma’s basement (where we stayed the month before), so we felt like royalty. However, I’m not sure we settled in for at least a couple of weeks. I felt so uncomfortable.. listening to all the weird sounds at night, never feeling like the bathroom was my space, feeling like I didn’t know how to cook there.



However, now it only takes us about 24 hours. It’s always startling for me to get to a new place. While the kids LOVE exploring a new place, I’m overwhelmed. Chris and I have to quickly scope out bedrooms and beds and assign sleeping spots for all the kids. We have to figure out where luggage can be stored, where clothes go, if everyone has their appropriate bedding, etc. Usually, it’s late at night by the time we get there, and we have to book it to get the kids to bed.

All that being said, I really do LOVE staying in homes as we travel. There are so many advantages!

Why We Love Long-term Airbnb

  1. The local experience. By far and above, my favorite thing is how much more I get to see when I don’t stay in a hotel. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice, luxurious experience. However, you can travel to a new country, stay in a resort and come away from that experience knowing nothing about the place you visited! It’s like living a normal life in a hotel. Why bother even flying somewhere?! For me, we are traveling the world to try on new “lives.” What do we like here? How does it differ from where we used to live? What don’t we like? This is almost impossible to do in a huge resort.
  2. You can stay in some awesome neighborhoods, sometimes places where there aren’t even hotels as close by.
  3. You can meet the neighbors! While I tend to avoid neighbors when we are in an apartment or townhome because I am embarrassed at the general volume of my children, we’ve met some great neighbors! Our kids met a brother and sister pair in Kauai, and they were the first friends they made on our trip. They still talk about them nearly every day four months later. When are you going to make those kinds of friends in a hotel? Especially when we are staying so long, this is HUGE for us. We also had a situation in Oahu where the internet went out, and Chris had to work. We were scrambling- it was Chris’ busiest time of year. The owner of our Airbnb rocked it and just called his neighbors. He found Chris an empty basement unit to use for two days during his work hours until the internet could be fixed.
  4. It is SO much easier to eat in. Most Airbnbs are totally stocked with a kitchen that can cook because, generally, someone has lived there (or still does and rents out part of the year, like for us in Pacifica). Some kitchens are even better stocked than my own back home (hard to do). One note: it is technically against health standards or something in the US for the kitchens to have anything other than salt and pepper. Sometimes I can find spices, oils, foil, plastic wrap, etc. However, I usually buy all those things.
  5. It’s much more affordable for a big family. This comes with obvious reasons- you can’t even find a 3- or 4-bedroom hotel room most of the time (outside of their most expensive suites). Less obvious things, however, are things like a discount for a longer stay. Most Airbnb’s will provide a discount for a stay longer than a week or two and almost always for a stay over 30 days. This ranges from 5-30%! Huge sometimes. Another hack: you can “send a message” to the host and ask if there is any more wiggle room on the price. Explain what your budget is and ask for something better. I don’t tend to be a hard negotiator, but we’ve gotten a little discount here or there or maybe a free cleaning. Got a small family or maybe just one or two people? Airbnb can save you loads too! Many small ones are going to be cheaper than a hotel and give you SO much more of the local experience.
  6. Customer services is TOP NOTCH. Hosts of Airbnb are very invested in making sure you are satisfied because their ratings and reviews are so important to them. In fact, the most important thing I do when booking an Airbnb is read the reviews! I learn SO much from the reviews. I learned how far it is to walk to places, what the WiFi is, what the host seems like, where people like to eat nearby, and so much more. Anytime we’ve had an issue, the host is on it immediately and works hard to get it resolved. This is NOT always the case in a big hotel… you may be waiting for hours and hours for your issue to be resolved.

So what do you look for if you’ve never booked an Airbnb before, long term or short term? Where to start?

Recommendations and “Must-haves”

1. Type in the city you want to stay in and fill in the filters. How many people, what dates are you thinking (even if it’s still a guess), and how many beds or bedrooms do you need? Then…

long term airbnb- a screenshot of the airbnb home page

2. Go to the map feature. This will give you some bearing on the city. You’ve likely picked that place for some reason…. a theme park, an attraction, or an event. Get your bearings a bit in relation to where you want to go. Is it close to public transportation or will you be taking taxis? If you have a car, is there a freeway nearby? Is there a park close by for the kids (this is an important one for us in a big city).

long term airbnb- the search results for New Zealand- Home

3. Price Compare. If you are cost-conscious, hop over to hotels.com or something similar. Check out hotel rates for the city so you are armed with info on the nightly price you want to spend in that city.

long term airbnb- The main page for Hotels.com

4. Head back to Airbnb. Back on the map feature, when you know the part of the city you want to stay in, it will show you the available Airbnbs in that area and their price per night. Start looking at multiple and compare. Things I look for in a profile:

  1. I read the description first. This gives loads of the “strengths” of the place from the host, like Wifi, A/C, pool, amenities, etc. Usually they will list things you can walk to, if there is a grocery store, etc. These amenities are important when you will be using Airbnb in the long term.
  2. I then skip down to the reviews. It’s OK if they are fairly new, but I need at least five reviews. I love it when there are 25+. I read a lot of them, even if I’m translating from another language (this option shows up on the site). If there is a recurring theme, good or bad, you will experience this also. We always look for comments on the wifi and anything about kids.
  3. Reach out to the host. I always send a message to the host, even if I’m not looking for a discount on the price. I want them to know we have five young kids, and I ask if that will work in their place. Will it be ok with their neighbors? Is it OK with them? I’ve had them tell me no, and that’s ok. I’d much rather find another place than deal with the stress of being somewhere we aren’t wanted. Let the host know about you, why you are coming, and what you’d like to see. Many times, they can be your ad-hoc travel agent. It is their city, after all!
  4. Check out cancellation policies. These can be strict and you need to know in case something changes. We’ve lost money a few times.

5. Book! Most of the time, you are not paying for it all upfront. Sometimes it is a fraction, sometimes it is half the stay. It depends on the host and the time before you arrive. Almost always, you have 24 hours to cancel.

Other Things I Want To Or Must Have In A Long-term Airbnb

  • Fast WiFi is our most important factor! We usually ask for a screenshot of a screen test. If you are going to be working remotely, this is a must. You could end up with dial-up (true story, we just switched houses in Thailand after realizing this was their internet).
  • Washer and dryer. I’m doing some laundry pretty much every day.
  • Well-stocked kitchen. This is usually mentioned in the comments.
  • Baby crib and/or high chair. It stinks to have to rent these items and it’s usually expensive. I didn’t do my homework in Kauai and we paid nearly $300 for a crib and high chair for a month! I laughed when I was told this and said I could buy a new one. The response I got? “Well, if you can find it to buy…” . True. I am on an island.
long term airbnb- screenshot of the airbnb home page

Overall, Airbnb is the best way to go for us! Some local governments, either cities or countries, are starting to try to eliminate or limit Airbnb usage, so just know that. We had one of our reservations in Singapore canceled because the authorities showed up at his house. In some places, it may become too difficult to use. However, it is a wonderful platform. We are also just starting to try the Airbnb experiences and have loved them so far!!

Go to www.airbnb.com and give it a try. I hope you find the long-term Airbnb of your dreams!

Happy Travels!

Comment below with any other questions or experiences of your own 🙂



Plan your next international trip and get fare deals from Booking.comSkyscannerKiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a family-friendly hotel wherever you are from Booking.comExpedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover more of the world through exciting activities from GetYourGuideAirbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need to rent a car? Visit Rentalcars.com.

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads.

Want to have a photo shoot while traveling? Check out flytographer!

Capture your best travel memories as we do with a GoPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPVAir, and Mini

Check out your travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!

Additional Reading

Travel Vaccinations: Everything You Need to Know

What Food To Buy When Staying In An Airbnb With Your Family

Hot Tips For Buying International Flights


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