Advice | 6 Airbnb red flags to spot before you make a booking mistake


The day after my wedding this month, my newly minted husband and I hopped on a red-eye to Paris for six days to celebrate. It wasn’t a big honeymoon blowout: We flew economy with a connection and had booked a reasonably priced Airbnb. The apartment seemed much nicer than our usual budget picks — with a quintessentially Parisian balcony and large living room — but somehow not much more expensive. There had to be a catch.

And there was. For starters, it was a fifth-floor walk-up, meaning that at least twice a day we had to ascend and descend 92 steps. (We counted.) But we knew that when we booked it.

The real catch was the apartment’s location in a chaotically bustling neighborhood, right above a slew of meat and fish markets. Not petite, specialty charcuterie stores, but open-air stalls with bloody piles of pig hoofs by the dozen, Styrofoam towers of fish and liquids from all of the above flowing in front of our building’s front door. In the warmer part of the day, when the wind was hitting just so, musky meat odors would waft up to our Airbnb’s balcony.

We kept the windows shut to stave off the flies.

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