**(Edit August 2017 – We ended up cancelling our trip to New Orleans. There was a hurricane in the area, and we had too many events on the line if we risked the journey. I made this post to showcase our NOLA Airbnb and how awesome it was, but sadly we won’t be able to experience it first hand. However, we believe this post applies to all kinds of trips, so we went ahead and published it anyway. We hope you enjoy!)
Also, if it’s your first time finding a place with Airbnb, we’re giving your $40 off when you click here!
A few months ago, my good friend Lauren (who is the zero-waste blogger extraordinaire from Zero Waste Memoirs) suggested we plan a couples trip this summer and we landed on exploring the culture-rich city of New Orleans, Louisiana!**
First on our list of things to do was to find the best housing in the area. We felt like an Airbnb would give us the most authentic NOLA experience, close to everything and within range of a bus system! In this post we’re going to guide you through our process of choosing the best place. This post can help you find the perfect Airbnb in any city, no matter where you want to go!
How To Find The Perfect Airbnb
Step 0: Plan a Choosing Day
Okay, I added this one after I wrote all the steps.
My friend Lauren and I chose a day that worked for us, and scheduled a Skype call so we could talk to each other and share our screen. Skype is one option, but you can do this all sort of ways: talking on the phone, actually meeting together, or even chatting on Facebook. This helped us actively discuss what was right for us, and helped us ultimately choose the best destination quickly.
Step 1: Make A Wish List Of All Your Favorite Places + Share It With Your Friends
In our initial search, we (okay, Lauren did this whole part) chose 15-20 places that we initially liked. We based this off of *general* location, a price range we selected (anything less than $130/night) and overall appeal.
This gave us lots of options to choose from, and later on it allowed us to discover what was really important to us when searching for the perfect place. When making a wish list, set your own general guidelines like price per night and number of beds to ensure that all your choices have the very basics you will need.
Here is a list of our “basic needs/wants”:
- Two full/queen beds
- A kitchen that fits 4 at a table
- Within the actual city limits of New Orleans
- Backyard area where we could eat outside
Below is a screenshot of my Airbnb wish lists. Lauren and I shared the New Orleans one with each other, so we could both add and take away from the same list.
Step 2: Talk About Your Priorities
After going on a wish-list spree, Lauren and I sat down to talk about what we reeeaallly wanted to do in New Orleans.
Lauren’s desire was to spend at least one night “in”, cooking together and sharing a meal. This meant that outdoor space and a kitchen table for four was important when choosing a place. My priority was walkability and easy access to transportation. I wanted to get places fast and be in the center of it all. This meant that we also needed a place near a bus line or in the midst of a busy commercial area.
When we both understood our main goals and desires, we were able to pair down our choices and find places that fit both our needs. When choosing your own Airbnb, make sure to have a conversation with your group about what they want most, so that you can find a place that fits everyone’s desires!
Step 3: Slash Choices Right and Left
As mentioned above, outdoor and kitchen space was a pretty high priority. If a place didn’t have those things, we quickly took it off the list. In addition, if a place was brutally far away from the prized French Quarter, we also took it off the list.
This step helped us bring down our choices from 15-20 to 5-7. (!!!)
I just now took a screenshot of our list (post slashing sesh) so you don’t see all of our previous choices. However, I wanted to share this, because this is the visual we used when choosing our place.
We would go through each listing and talk about the pictures, location, and overall feel. When we had a gut-feeling that a place just wouldn’t work, we would take it off the list immediately to eliminate overwhelm and to simply move on to the next listing. This step helped us get rid of places we knew just weren’t right and allowed us to see more laser-focused options.
I also included this screenshot below because we had two windows open when checking out locations.
Because Airbnb doesn’t display the actual address until you book, I would estimate the location of each dot on our Airbnb map and route it to the French Quarter on Google Maps via walking, AND via bus.
Doing this helped us get an idea of how much time we would be in transit each day, and if it was worth it (depending on how much we loved the place.) When choosing your own place, we suggest using this Google Maps strategy to route your potential Airbnb to the places you would spend the most time on your vacation. This will help you decide how long/far you are willing to travel around during your stay.
Step 4: Make A Chart
Knowing detailed information about each place, we decided to make a chart when it came down to our top 5-7 options. All our choices were places that met all our priorities (see list above) as well as the places we liked for different reasons. See my messy chart below.
For this trip, we broke down the chart by categories:
- Total cost of 4 nights
- # of beds
- Security Deposit
- Overall aesthetic (Hey, we’re both bloggers and photographers!)
Looking at all the information this way, we could see which listings gave us the best combination of each category.
As you can see, we discussed each listing in depth, and slowly crossed them off the list. On the bottom of the page, as we came down to our top 4, we decided to rank them in case our #1 listing wasn’t available.
Step 5: Book Your Airbnb!
After we discussed our priorities, slashed less than ideal choices, and broke down our listing on a chart, we were finally ready to book!
As said in step 4, we ranked our top 4 favorite places just in case our #1 choice wasn’t booked. Lucky for us, our top choice was available and we booked it right away!
Again, if it’s your first time booking with Airbnb, click here because we’re giving you $40 to spend!
How do you book a place to stay in a new city? What steps above appeal to you most when choosing the best Airbnb? Let us know in the comments below!
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Thanks for reading! Love,