Below, you′ll find tips for booking and traveling safely, including how to do your research, how to leave a secure paper trail, and how to be prepared.
Know Your Host
While you can′t possibly know everything about your host, you should at least verify his or her real name, request clear photographs, and get a detailed description of the listing. For added piece of mind, look for hosts who are in your social connections network.
Look for detailed descriptions of the property and surrounding area. Make sure photos bear the BistroStays verification/watermark. These properties have been visited and photographed by a professional BistroStays photographer.
A positive review is perhaps the best indication of the authenticity of your potential host. Because BistroStays′s reviews are a snapshot of a real experience between parties, it′s a good indication of your host′s reputation and how he has conducted himself not only in the reservation process, but in any previous rental experiences.
Questions, Questions, Questions
Asking questions is an integral part of the screening process. Get to know your potential host and make sure you both feel comfortable. Sometimes a phone call is more effective than electronic communication. Be prepared to answer the host′s questions as well.
Here are some preliminary questions to start the screening process:
Will there be anyone else in the apartment/house while I′m there?
Will I have my own bathroom?
How many guests have you hosted before?
Does the building have a security system?
Leave a Paper Trail
The messaging feature within our system provides a paper trail that our customer support team can reference in case your accommodation or reservation was misrepresented. For that reason, we only exchange host and guest contact info after a reservation is accepted.
Remember: We′re Here for You
Even with the most thorough planning, things don′t always go as intended. Our operators and customer support staff are available to provide phone and email support. Contact us here. If, for any reason, you feel uncomfortable in your communication with a host, don′t hesitate to contact us by flagging the message thread to alert the Zipvacation team.
Consider the Buddy System
Solo traveling can be overwhelming and even dangerous, so consider bringing along a companion. Play it safe–share your itinerary with people you trust at home.
Expect the Unexpected
Purchasing travel insurance helps to reduce your level of risk and gives you peace of mind about trip delays, theft, or any travel emergencies. Different policies provide different types of protection; we recommend checking with a travel insurance provider to ensure that you understand your coverage options.
All monetary transactions are handled through our secure system, so guests and hosts have peace of mind knowing their money is secure. We hold guest payments until 24 hours after check-in, to ensure that you are satisfied with your accommodations and to uphold the host′s cancellation policies before payments are processed.
Choosing the Best Match
We recommend first pinpointing what kind of living space you′re seeking, and then choosing the best match. Most issues stem from lack of attention to detail or miscommunication, so it′s important to carefully read the reviews and listing descriptions and make special note of amenities and house rules.
When You Get There
Upon arrival, take a quick look around and make sure the space meets your expectations. It′s also wise to verify key information with your host, such as checkout time, keys drop-off, and other details.
No matter what side of the reservation you′re on, we want your experience to be a safe, worry-free one. In fact, the safety and security of our community is our #1 priority.
Traveling to a new locale can be a fun, enriching experience, but unfamiliar environments and cultures can sometimes be confusing and intimidating. Read on for some personal safety tips to ensure a positive travel experience.
Look for hosts or guests who provide their real name, clear photographs, and a full listing description. Read reviews to gauge other travelers′ experiences with the host.
Always share your trip details with people back at home, so they know where you are and how to get in touch with you.
Consider traveling with a friend instead of booking a trip alone.
If you′re a guest, be very clear about the level of privacy you require. Will you have your own bathroom? Does your bathroom have a lock?
If you′re staying with your host or guest, spend time getting to know them. Ask questions. Get a feel for their personality and lifestyle.
Upon arrival, take a quick look around and make sure the space meets your expectations. It′s also wise to verify key information with your host, like checkout time, key drop-off, and other details.
If you′re having any concerns about the reservation, contact us. If necessary, we can find another place for you to stay.
During Your Stay
Remember that being in an unfamiliar place can be confusing. Consuming alcohol or drugs can affect your judgment. Be careful!
In any situation where you feel unsafe or in immediate danger, contact the local police or emergency services immediately.