Since the littlies have arrived we've not used hotels at all, always hiring villas or short-stay apartments instead. I started using airbnb last summer on the recommendation of a friend.
- Communicate with the host as much as possible. You build trust both ways and if anything makes you feel uneasy it might not be too late to cancel.
- Shop around an area - if a rental is much more expensive than others in the same area ask yourself whether the added cost is worth it.
- Find out if cleaning is included but regardless, do clean up after yourself. The host will appreciate it.
- Check whether the host has any reviews. My favourite airbnb experiences are those where the reviews mentioned that the owner had gone out of their way to make their stay comfortable. I've learned that when reviews only talk about the owner's communication skills or how the location is great, the omission is normally there for a reason.
- If you break anything, replace like for like. You'd expect the same if anyone were staying in your house.
- Be truthful in your reviews. It helps the airbnb community and you don't want anyone else to step into a "steaming one"!