Travelers all over the globe have access to a wonderful service called Airbnb. I use it on a regular basis and actually, it is now the ONLY vacation rental site I utilize. The quality of the rentals, the responsiveness of the hosts, and a great support team keep me coming back. But, know this. These are 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida:
- Air-conditioning Units
- Consistent WiFi
- Property Instructions
- Swimming or Dipping Pool
- Travel Essentials
But first . . .
Here’s a little background on this incredible company so you have knowledge of their dedication to the industry and their product.
- 1 A brief history on the origin of Airbnb
- 2 5 Must-Haves in Your Mérida Airbnb
- 3 #1 Air-conditioning units: how many & where?
- 4 #2 Consistent WiFi: don’t take it for granted
- 5 # 3 Property Instructions: trash, emergencies & other details
- 6 #4 Swimming or Dipping Pool: combat weather in Mérida
- 7 #5 Necessary Essentials: ease your frustration
- 8 Important questions to ask PRIOR to booking
- 9 Best practices BEFORE you book with Airbnb in Mérida
- 10 Final thoughts on 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida
A brief history on the origin of Airbnb
The company was founded by Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia along with Nathan Blecharczyk in San Francisco. During a local conference, Brian and Joe realized hotels were fully booked. Looking for a way to earn a little extra money, they decided to offer air mattresses and breakfast to people attending the conference but couldn’t find accommodations.
This creativity sparked the idea behind the company. The founders decided they’d like to change the way people thought about travel.
Let me explain . . .
An online platform was built to offer home-sharing between guests and hosts. Being in the right place at the right time, the partners noticed the Democratic National Convention in Denver had caused a shortage of hotel rooms. Targeting this area, they had a successful launch.
Like most small businesses, they still weren’t profiting and needed money.
Another creative idea helped them not only raise money for the company but also caught the attention of venture capitalists. Just two years after their initial offer of air mattresses in their apartment, they partnered with another company and expanded its limited offerings. Expansion and capital raising efforts continued into the international market.
With operations in over 191 countries and growing, Airbnb has the ability to rent a room, a home, a castle, or a treehouse for one or more nights. Pretty impressive.
Airbnb continues to improve its offerings notably in their “experiences”. Whether you are a long-time user of Airbnb or new to the platform, I highly recommend that you check them out on a frequent basis. Sometimes I get the best design or organizing ideas from perusing their listings. I also love seeing the creativity of people in the experiences they come up with.
5 Must-Haves in Your Mérida Airbnb
Traveling in Mexico for over 15 years, I’m incredibly grateful to have a service like Airbnb. Even though I’ve used other services like VRBO and Home Away, Airbnb has far surpassed them as my favorite. I’ve become familiar with the platform, the structure, the rules, and the incredible customer service. I use them for both long-term rentals, short-term rentals, and even just for one night.
Like anything else, the more you use something, the more you are susceptible to have a problem. The few problems I have had resulted in a solution that was both fair and acceptable. Airbnb really knows how to provide excellent service and caters to its clients.
So here we go . . . Ready for 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida? Without further ado, here they are!
#1 Air-conditioning units: how many & where?
Whether you know it or not, air-conditioning is not in every single house in Mexico or in Mérida for that matter. Central air systems are not part of the construction in Mexico. Therefore you have units strategically placed in the house. These are called mini-splits.
Typically, the bedroom and at least one other area will have a mini-split BUT don’t assume this. It’s important to know where the units are located and how many there are.
I’ll give you an example . . .
Recently I stayed in a large colonial house in Centro with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 living areas and a large kitchen with butler’s pantry. There were only 2 units in the entire home – both in the bedrooms.
I knew this might be a challenge not having a unit in the kitchen as I love to cook and, of course, it gets hot in the kitchen. It was a G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S house with a beautiful pool in an awesome location. So I decided to sacrifice a mini-split or two even though I knew better. I justified that it was still spring and it wouldn’t be so bad.
Let me be completely transparent . . .
I will never, ever do that again. I was miserable, hot, and sweaty for many weeks.
My best advice? Look at the photos to see where the mini-splits are located then verify with the owner. It can be common that the photos are old and show a mini-split in a room that has since been removed. Also ask about ceiling fans, their location, and their state of operability.
#2 Consistent WiFi: don’t take it for granted
There are certain things that we just take for granted. Consistent Wifi is one of those things. Believe it or not, depending on where you are in Mexico, the Wifi can go down if the wind changes direction. No matter where I am considering staying, I ALWAYS ask about consistent WiFi.
Unfortunately more than once, I’ve been promised consistent WiFi that was not. When this happened, I sent a message to the owner about the issue. If it didn’t get resolved within 24 hours, I made a request to Airbnb to cancel the remainder of my stay with that host.
Consistent WiFi is a non-negotiable for me as my ability to work
relies on my ability to be online.
Another note about WiFi . . .
I’ve heard, but never experienced this myself, that some hosts have installed cameras inside houses for security measures. While Airbnb does require its hosts to disclose cameras and security systems, not all hosts do. If you want to check if a security system or cameras are in place, just unplug the WiFi. Typically if the host does have these items in place, you will receive a call or a message asking if the WiFi is down.
Now you know. . .
What to do if this happens? Send a request to Airbnb and let them handle it for you. Their responsiveness and handling of all matters are professional and courteous.
# 3 Property Instructions: trash, emergencies & other details
Whether this essential information is located in the house or part of the online agreement does not matter. What does matter is that you have property instructions and what they cover:
- When is trash pick up?
- What is the WiFi information including the password?
- Who do you call in the event of an emergency?
- If it is a long-term stay, what is the schedule for the service providers (maid, gardener, pool)?
- Is a washer and dryer on the property? If not, are you responsible to take the linens and towels to the lavanderia?
- Are extra linens provided? (Yes, I’ve been in a situation before where the maid did not come for 2 weeks and I had no extra linens and towels.)
- Notice something broken or damaged? What is the process for broken or damaged items?
If you have stayed in Airbnb listings before, you are probably familiar with some type of manual or instructions. Some of the more professional listings I’ve stayed in provide an on-site manual while others provide them online. You may even want to ask what is the nearest hospital or clinic in the event of an emergency.
A word of caution . . .
Check and double-check the house rules in the online agreement.
#4 Swimming or Dipping Pool: combat weather in Mérida
Easing the heat, especially the weather of the grueling summers, in Mérida will help you; mind, body, and soul.
I promise . . .
This is another one of the 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida whether it is the hot summer months or the cooler winter months. There’s nothing like coming home and fully submersing yourself in the cool water or just soaking your feet. I miss having a bathtub for soaking and use the pool instead.
Pools come in a variety of sizes from small, dipping pools to large, lap pools. The size of the pool does not matter unless you want it for exercise. Along with a pool, you will also want to know when the pool will be serviced and if the pool guy has a key.
On another note . . .
It’s also important to ask what other service providers have keys. Just a safety tip.
#5 Necessary Essentials: ease your frustration
A coffee pot with coffee, sugar, and mugs may seem like common sense in a Mérida Airbnb but sometimes it’s not. There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting a cup of coffee the morning after you’ve arrived and you don’t have what you need. The same goes for toilet paper, trash bags, and water.
My best recommendations:
- Read the house rules
- See what is provided
- Inquire about anything you’re not sure of
9 Airbnb essentials on my list
- Coffeepot, coffee, sugar, and mugs
- Kitchen items such as a wine/beer opener, silverware, cooking utensils, glasses, bowls and plates
- Cooking items such as pots and pans
- Small appliances including microwave, toaster, toaster oven and cooktop (some locations only supply a one or two-burner hot plate and advertise that it is a full kitchen)
- Paper and plastic goods like trash bags, paper towels, and toilet paper
- Bottled water – either small bottles or large ones – at least to get started (don’t drink tap water)
- Extra towels and linens
- Pool towels (if not provided, I bring my own)
- Hot water (yes, sometimes there isn’t any hot water)
Important questions to ask PRIOR to booking
- Are you on a busy street such as a bus route?
- Does the bedroom face the street?
- Where is the nearest grocery store or market?
- What size are the current beds? (I’ve been surprised before when booking a house that listed a double bed only to find 2 twins pushed together to make a double.)
- Are the stairs close to the unit (if upstairs)?
- Will I have access to a working elevator (when applicable)?
- Is any construction happening close-by or next door?
- How many sets of keys do I get?
- Will I be responsible to pay for air-conditioning costs at the end of my stay?
- Would you feel comfortable walking around at night in this neighborhood?
Best practices BEFORE you book with Airbnb in Mérida
I know what you’re thinking . . .
Common sense is the best navigator in this situation. However, emotions sometimes get the better of us. More than once I’ve sacrificed something on 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida for another “perk” only to find that I was extremely disappointed when the perk was not as expected. Now, I know to stick to my list and not deviate.
9 Things to do before you contact the host
- Read the reviews of the property and host.
I want to see what other people are saying about the property, the location and the host.
- Ensure the host is verified.
This is an extra layer of security provided via Airbnb for a type of quality control.
- Look at the photographs of the property.
Examine the furniture, location of beds, window coverings, and all the angles of the property. This will also help if you arrive and don’t have a coffeepot when one was shown in the photograph.
- Read reviews of guests from the host.
This helps give insight into the personality of the host. Are they reasonable and level-headed? Do they speak your language? Are they inflammatory and rude?
- Review the cancellation policy.
Understanding your agreement in the event you need to cancel will help tremendously. Some have moderate to strict policies that may cause you to second guess your preference if the strictness is too great.
- Understand the house rules.
Thoroughly examine the house rules for smoking, pets, and other important information.
- Review the availability calendar.
Sometimes nightly prices vary from what is initially offered. Different prices may apply to weekends, weeknights or holidays.
- Search for new listings.
Many times a new listing will offer a discount.
- Recognize the nightly rate is NOT the actual total you will pay.
Additional booking fees are not included with the nightly rate. Review the total prior to submitting your request to book to make sure you aren’t caught off guard.
Final thoughts on 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida
There’s always a small chance your Airbnb rental will have problems. It may even end up not being what you thought or not as advertised. Make sure you have the name and number of a contact person in the event something isn’t right.
Will the host or a representative meet you at the property or is it self-check in?
Understanding what will happen if you are unable to access the property will lessen stress upon arrival.
Read the fine print to understand all the rules and regulations for the property. When in doubt, contact the host as many times as needed until you are comfortable.
Know this . . .
Not everything is going to be perfect. You’ll have some great experiences as well as some not-so-great ones. Equip yourself with as much information as you can. Setting yourself up for a great trip and great experience with 5 Secrets to the Best Airbnb Stay in Mérida. Chat with other locals and visitors about their experiences here – Life in Merida: Visitor & Resident Resources