You’re probably feeling pretty powerless if you just checked into an Airbnb with a lousy internet connection. While it’s true that the best advice is to check on the internet connection before you book anything on Airbnb, there’s a few things you can do to improve the internet connection on the fly. You can try using a mobile hotspot instead of the Airbnb Wi-Fi, you can try repositioning the router for a better signal, or if all else fails, contact the Airbnb host for help.
How to Get Better Internet in Your Airbnb
Check Wi-Fi speeds before booking
Airbnb recently launched a feature for hosts that allows them to easily test the data speed on location and post the results to the listing. After scrolling through Airbnb listings, we didn’t find a single place that posted Wi-Fi data speeds. Clearly, most Airbnb hosts try to conceal Wi-Fi speeds, so unless you get lucky and find a listing with a speed test, we’ll need to resort to some other methods to verify the internet quality.
Check the reviews
As always, the most honest source about Airbnb rentals comes from people who just got out of them. Scan the reviews of the listing you want and try to find some details about internet speeds. If a place doesn’t offer solid data speeds, you better believe that people will (justifiably) complain about it in the reviews section.
To make your search easier, you can perform a browser search (Ctrl + F on Windows, Cmd + F on Mac) and type in “Wi-Fi” or “Internet” to filter for reviews that talk about the internet quality.
Check the internet providers in the area you want to stay
As opposed to cell phone carriers that allow you to use their service wherever you want, internet service providers only offer services to specific areas. In other words, your Airbnb host can only choose from a couple ISPs, so we can try to narrow down the options and get an idea of what internet speeds to expect. Try entering the zip code for the Airbnb you want to get in the tool below.
Judging by the results from the tool, you should get a feel for what internet speeds cater to the area. If all you got were satellite internet options, that means there’s no fiber or DSL internet in the area, so set your expectations low. On the other hand, if you see providers like Google Fiber and Xfinity pop up, then it stands to reason you should get decent data speeds at your Airbnb.
Use a mobile hotspot
Do you get faster speeds on your phone when you’re not connected to the Airbnb Wi-Fi? If that’s the case, you can use your cell phone to make a Wi-Fi point that powers the whole house. You just have to make sure you have a cell phone plan with ample mobile hotspot data to make it work.
Many cell phone carriers offer hotspot data with their unlimited data plans, but data caps make all the difference. You can go with a prepaid carrier like Visible and get unlimited hotspot data, but your data speeds will cap at 5 Mbps, which might be worse than whatever you get with the Airbnb Wi-Fi. But if your Airbnb internet basically doesn’t exist, having unlimited hotspot data will make a world of difference.
You can also go for a premium cell phone plan like Verizon’s Unlimited Plus plan and get 30 GB of mobile hotspot data to use every month. As you’d imagine, a cell phone plan with that hotspot data costs a pretty penny ($80/month), but you get some other sweet perks that justify the price tag, like discounted subscriptions to Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and Apple Music.
For folks living the digital nomadic lifestyle, a super robust cell phone plan like this one actually makes a lot of sense. It certainly doesn’t hurt that you also get the best coverage in the country with Verizon’s network on top of everything else.
Reposition the router
Find the router in your Airbnb and check if it's blocked by anything or tucked away in a cabinet or bookshelf. You can always move the router to a more centralized location in your place and see if that improves your connection. Here’s some tips to find the ideal position for the router in your Airbnb:
- Put the router in the center of your Airbnb for the best coverage
- Put the router in open air to remove interference and avoid overheating
- Don’t place the router near electronic devices, appliances, or metal objects
- Place the router as high up as possible
- If you’re staying at a single-story Airbnb, point the antennas on the router upwards
- If you’re staying at a multi-story Airbnb, point one antenna straight up, and the other antenna parallel to the floor
Contact the Airbnb host
When in doubt, send a message to the Airbnb host to get some help. The host can walk you through the instructions to reset the router, or they can contact the ISP and do all the leg work for you (like a good host should). Remember, as the Airbnb guest, you have all the power in the world to leave a bad review if the internet situation never gets fixed. We’re not saying you explicitly threaten the Airbnb host, but keep that in your back pocket if you don’t get any help.
Your host can upgrade their internet plan in a matter of minutes with most internet service providers. We all know when you call an ISP they just want you to upgrade your plan, so getting it done shouldn’t take much from the host. Text your Airbnb host and send them this list of providers so it looks like you did your homework before asking.
Recap: How to Get Better Internet in Your Airbnb
Few things are more annoying on vacation than arriving at an Airbnb with a terrible internet connection. The smartest thing you can do is check on internet speeds before you book anything, especially if you plan on working remotely out of the Airbnb. But if it’s too late and you’ve already unpacked your bags, you can try these ways to improve your internet speed at your Airbnb:
- Use a mobile hotspot: Unlimited data plans always come with hotspot data that you can use to make a Wi-Fi point on the fly. Sadly, hotspot data isn’t usually unlimited like cellular data, so make sure to double check your data plan before you connect everything in the house to your mobile hotspot.
- Reposition the router: Find the router in the Airbnb and see if it's placed in an area with bad reception. Move the router to an open-air location that isn’t near any other electrical devices that can cause interference.
- Contact the Airbnb host: It only takes a few minutes to upgrade an internet plan, so ask the host to make the call to the ISP and improve the internet connection. There’s no excuse for bad internet in an Airbnb, so don’t be afraid to leave (or subtly threaten to leave) a bad review if the internet situation isn’t fixed during your stay.