How to Use Airbnb in New Zealand
So you want to stay with locals and you’ve heard that Airbnb was a thing or you’ve used Airbnb in other countries and loved it? No matter the reason, you have decided to use the popular peer-to-peer accommodation platform for your trip to New Zealand. Good on you, Airbnb NZ is a great option! To make your life even easier, we have compiled a few notes on how to make the most of Airbnb in New Zealand. After all, we have had “stay with locals” platforms here for decades, from the WWOOFing, HelpX and Couchsurfing and the simply kind people inviting you in for a few days. New Zealand was made for Airbnb!
So here is the Kiwi take on Airbnb along with a few tips on how to use the platform during your gap year in New Zealand. By the way, did you see our 10 Awesome Airbnb Rooms in New Zealand for Under $50?
How to Join Airbnb
The first step in using Airbnb during your gap year in New Zealand is to join the platform. Here is how to join Airbnb.
Sign up to Airbnb in New Zealand using any one of the following:
- Your Facebook Account
- Your Google+ Account (What?! Why?! Anyway, did you follow us on Google+ yet?)
- Your email address
Then you will need to fill up your profile. Make sure to do that well: give some details and add a picture. This helps build trust.
Finally, be verified: for last-minute bookings or if you have been randomly selected, you will need to send a copy of your ID to be verified. It is a good thing, it adds trust between your host and you.
Narrowing Your Search on Airbnb NZ
The main thing to understand about Airbnb in New Zealand is that it caters to every need, from a business guy looking for a room when everywhere else is fully booked to a couple of backpackers looking to stay with locals and discover all the secrets of an area. For this very reason, it is critical to narrow your search to exactly what you are looking for.
First up, use that price slider. Couples will benefit from the price rather than a single person, considering that most rooms only charge an extra small fee to add an extra person. Placing your slider at the NZ$50 mark for a couple will usually guarantee you a stay around the NZ$30 per person which is pretty competitive. Read more about this in the “How Much Does an Airbnb Room Cost in New Zealand?” section below.
You will also want to select your area quite tightly as some towns have little to no public transport available. If you do have a car, make sure to select a host that offers parking, especially in big cities like Auckland where overnight parking can be up to NZ$20!For more advice, see 10 Tips to Make the Most of Airbnb in New Zealand.
The Type of Airbnb Host Can You Expect in New Zealand
It’s not all independent hosts. New Zealanders and businesses alike have adopted Airbnb, so if you are looking to use Airbnb NZ to get a break from hostels, you will have to pay close attention to each listing.
About 30% of the hostels in the country are already listed on it. You can find the following type of hosts on Airbnb in New Zealand:
- Individuals with a spare room or listing their holiday house.
- Families with a spare room
- Hostels listing a selected amount of rooms
- Motels listing some of their rooms
- Hotels listing a few of their rooms
Because Airbnb New Zealand only allows members to list one type of room per account, for example, twin room, double room, ensuite room, bunk room, etc, it is common to find the same business behind several listings.
Other businesses will mention the different types of rooms available under each picture or even in their descriptions. For example, when you open a listing for one room, the pictures may reveal several types of rooms available. In this case, you would pay the extra for a different room by cash when you meet your host in person. Keep an eye out for that so you know what are your options with each host.
It all becomes very clear when reading the reviews what type of host they are, whether it’s an individual or a business. Nevertheless, we have found many hostels that have much better reviews than individual hosts, so consider all your options. Extra tip: make sure to read the responses to each review as well – they are often a great way to see what kind of hosts you will have.
To learn more about the locals in New Zealand, see our New Zealand Culture category.
How Much Does an Airbnb Room Cost in New Zealand?
Since we are mainly focused on backpacking in New Zealand, i.e. travelling on a budget, we will only focus on the lower part of that price slider.
You can generally find a room for one person around the NZ$50 mark and for two people around the NZ$80. We have found that the prices in Auckland Central, Wellington City and Queenstown Central tend to be about NZ$10 to NZ$20 dearer simply due to demand and high price of rent.
You can often get a discount by staying longer. In that case, contact your host before booking the room, they may just ask you to book one night and to arrange the rest of your stay with them directly.
Another thing to keep in mind is seasonality. In summer, prices go up in the coastal towns and in winter prices go up in the ski resorts.
What is Included in the Price?
Unlike WWOOFing, it is pretty rare to have food included when booking an Airbnb. Most Airbnb hosts will let you use their kitchen to cook your own meal but this is by no means a requirement. Every Airbnb listing is complete with a list of inclusions like parking, towels, laundry, etc. Some come at an extra cost.
When looking at a price, make sure to add the”services fee” charged by Airbnb, the “cleaning fee”, WiFi and “security deposit” (refundable) as well, as it can quickly impact a budget.
Inclusions are really the section of a listing that you need to pay the most attention to as it often tells you if you are getting a good deal or not by “staying local” versus staying in a hostel.
How to Cancel an Airbnb Booking
Plans change but luckily, cancelling on Airbnb is super easy and you’ll get a refund (it will be in the form of Airbnb credit which might not be available to spend instantly, but should be refunded about a couple of hours after the booking is cancelled). All you need to do is go to “Trips” and tap/click the Airbnb booking you wish to cancel. Once there, simply tap/click “Cancel” and follow the on-screen instructions.
What if Something Goes Wrong?
While the majority of Airbnb stays go smoothly, there are some bad eggs around. If you arrive at an Airbnb rental and you notice something is missing, not working or otherwise not what you expected, Airbnb gives you two options to resolve it.
Contact Your Host
First, contact the host through Airbnb and give them the chance to fix the issue. You can message your host through the “Trips” section of the app/website. If you come to an agreement with your host that includes a reimbursement, you can do so using Airbnb’s Resolution Centre.
If contacting the host doesn’t resolve the issue, then you can contact Airbnb through the “Help” section of the app/website. When doing so, make sure you include a photo and/or video showing them the problem.
Of course, if it’s an emergency situation where your safety is threatened, then call the emergency services which is 111 in New Zealand.
Do Airbnb Offer Refunds?
Airbnb offers full refunds for cases that are eligible under their Guest Refund Policy if the claim is made within 24 hours of discovering the issue. While we recommend that you fully read their Guest Refund Policy to understand what issues are eligible for a refund, in short, what is covered includes:
- If there is no access to the property
- The property is misrepresented, for example, number of bedrooms, location, accessibility features missing, etc.
- Key amenities are missing or not working
- The property isn’t generally clean and/or is unsafe.
After you have contacted Airbnb, remain available so that they can go through the next steps with you.
A Few Tips to Save Money on Airbnb New Zealand
To help you save a few dollars on each of your Airbnb stays, we have compiled this short list of tips.
- Make sure to switch your currency and location to New Zealand, this can save you hundreds over time!
- Check all inclusions for every host as “add-ons” adds up!
- When looking at prices, add the extra fees too.
- Always compare the prices of your hosts with those private rooms in local hostel and motels (Use booking.com for instance to have a rough idea of prices)
Find more tips like this and much more on our 10 Tips to Make the Most of Airbnb in New Zealand article.
Other Ways to Stay with Locals in New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the friendliest country on earth so it not surprising that there are lots of different ways to stay with locals and truly experience the real New Zealand culture. Get off the beaten track and away from the tourist traps by trying any or all of these 5 Ways to Stay with Locals in New Zealand. This will make your trip all the more meaningful even if you only do it once in a while.
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