I'm planning to go to Mexico City. I wanted to get a hotel for like 3 nights and then move into an airbnb for 2 weeks. That way I have the 3 days to make sure the airbnb is close to my friends, that I like the area it's in, check the rental space out, and meet the host. Can you do this? Is it a good plan? Is there a better option? This will be my first time doing airbnb. Thank you.
While this looks and sounds like the best/most responsible option, Airbnb does not encourage this. It may be hard to find a host that agrees to give you the location and meet you before booking. Airbnb advises against it. You also risk very limited availability waiting until days before to book. As a host, I also wouldn't "hold" any dates until a renter has the option to see the space and potentially decline to stay.
I think your best bet would be to choose a well-established listing, meaning it has plenty of good reviews and photos as well as a carefully thought out description, and start a conversation with the host. They may not give you the exact address but a close-by reference point in the neighborhood so you can gauge the location. Hopefully, from the conversation, you will be able to get an idea if they are a hands-on host who cares about your experience.
If you have friends living in Mexico City, I would definitely recommend getting their advice about neighborhoods and transport, supplementing with some of your own research, looking around on Google Street View at the places that get your attention. When you're searching for listings you can narrow the search down to a specific area of the city map, and you can also filter for features such as the key amenities most important to you. If you'd like to ask some questions before committing to a booking, click "Contact Host" just below the main description to send a non-binding inquiry.
For most host, the ideal guest is one who reads the full listing, House Rules, and cancellation policy before sending a request or Instant Book - it's a common pet peeve to ask for info that's already covered in the text, or request additional services (such as a private viewing) that aren't explicitly on offer. If you're traveling during a time without a lot of tourists in town you might luck out on a last-minute opening once you're already there, but you have far more options if you book at least a couple weeks before your trip.
Also, be aware that many hosts require you to have completed the ID Verification process in order to book, so for best results I'd suggest completing your verifications first. And if you don't feel like writing a blurb about yourself in the profile text, it helps to communicate a little bit about yourself in the request message - why you chose the listing, plans for your trip, scheduled arrival time etc.