Airbnb: Top tips for guests – whether savvy travelers or new navigators

The majority of us with access to a computer and internet connection are aware of what Airbnb is. Visiting a different town or city can be daunting as it is, without a question mark hanging above the place we are going to be staying.

At, we wanted to make it as straightforward as possible for guests to understand how Airbnb works and how to avoid being caught out by potential scams, unexpected terms and conditions, and last-minute changes to bookings, so we have put together a guide to help you ensure your time away is as hassle-free as possible.


Airbnb offer a full refund to the guest if the host with whom they have booked to stay cancels the reservation. This policy can sometimes also be applied in other circumstances, for example, if there have been travel issues that have stopped you, as the guest, completing a trip with Airbnb.

There are a number of situations under the ‘Eligible travel issues’ policy that could mean a refund for the guest, e.g. the host failing to provide reasonable access to the booked listing, a misrepresentation of the property in the listing, issues of poor cleanliness and safety concerns, or the presence of an animal in the property that was not disclosed prior to booking. Refund requests can be completed by entering a claim through the Airbnb website directly at

Proof is required immediately in instances where there are travel issues. This is to ensure that any complaints are dealt with as speedily as possible.


Ensure that you read the full listing to be aware of any exclusions, changes or modifications able to be made to the booking after it has been confirmed. Check for security deposits, both those imposed by Airbnb and the host and remember that these are different.

The security deposit required by Airbnb is ‘pre-authorised’ and released up to 14 days after check-out. This means that it is not taken from the bank account, however the funds are held back by your bank in case of any damage or requirement for deduction.

In the case of deposits required by the landlord, these are not pre-authorised, and the charge is only made if the host makes a claim on the deposit.

Potential Scams 

Although Airbnb are stringent in ensuring that all transactions remain clear and above board, there have been instances in which guests have been requested to pay by alternative methods to those offered by Airbnb.

This includes bank transfer and payments made through ‘proxy sites’, which are risky and can mean guests losing their money to scammers. Guests should never make payment through any method that has not been approved by Airbnb. Payments by bank transfer and credit and debit card that have been authorised by the account holder are difficult, sometimes even impossible to get back through your bank.

Complaints process

Due to the fact that issues noted with listings must be highlighted immediately, the complaints process is relatively straight-forward, and all complaints can be made through the Airbnb website at

At, we can help with constructing a complaint, and advise on what to do if your complaint is not being dealt with. top tips for ensuring your Airbnb experience as a guest goes as smoothly as possible –

  • Never agree to pay in cash, bank transfer or through any sites external to Airbnb
  • Ensure you read the full listing – Check for potential hidden charges and surprises.
  • Keep the receipts – Make sure you keep any booking communication
  • Take photos of damage/wear and tear on arrival

If you would like more advice on travel, security when booking holidays online, or any other consumer issue, you can contact on 0808 164 6000. We are open 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. You can follow us on social media – Twitter: @advicedotscot and Facebook at, Instagram:, or get ahead by visiting our knowledge centre at