Occasionally, a client will as me if I can book them through Airbnb rather than finding them a room at a hotel or a rental home. Airbnb seems awesome! You can find affordable, short-term living situations and activity suggestions anywhere you want, all through an easy-to-navigate app on your phone. Why would anyone still stay at hotels?
Well, as it turns out, Airbnb may not be the perfect vacation option that they want you to think they are.
WHAT DO YOU REALLY GET FOR YOUR MONEY?
Yes, you can find somewhere to stay in NYC’s lower east side for just $100 a night… if you don’t mind staying in a bedroom in someone else’s apartment. The fact of the matter is that you just don’t know the person you are staying with; and your privacy is severely diminished when compared to the amount of privacy you get with a hotel room (i.e. you don’t have to share a bathroom with a stranger).
Of course, you can rent out entire residencies on Airbnb. BUT! Not only will this be more expensive, you also won’t get any of the assurances or amenities provided at a hotel. An Airbnb rental will most likely not have amenities such as gyms or pools, free toiletries, or a complimentary continental breakfast. There will be no room service and no maid service, yet you will often be charged a cleaning fee. And on top of all that, your Airbnb host can cancel your stay just days before you are scheduled to arrive, leaving you hanging and making you subject to expensive last-minute reservations and huge change fees for your flight.
YOU WON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE STAYING
There’s a good chance that you don’t know the city or town you are visiting very well, especially if you are travelling internationally. An Airbnb host is probably not going to tell you if their residence is in a dangerous neighborhood, which could land you in some sticky situations. Booking at a reputable hotel adds a level of safety and accountability that Airbnb cannot provide.
And about that cleaning fee mentioned earlier… you will most likely be charged one. And you will be charged a service fee. These extra expenses can equal a quarter of the cost of your rental, adding a sizable amount to the cost of your stay. You could use that extra money elsewhere, like dinner or a show! Or dinner AND a show!
YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN
Airbnb is a booking platform designed to bring owners and renters together. That's it. They do not vet the owners or the properties nor do they have any responsibility should something go awry. If you experience issues with your rental or the owner or if your stay is cancelled days before your trip, Airbnb is not responsible for any of it. You cuold end up thousands
of dollars out of pocket like this couple.
SAFEGUARD YOUR VACATION
Airbnb may seem awesome… but it’s not worth the risk. Your favorite travel agent (that's me!) is always going to be able to find you somewhere to stay that is safe, comfortable, and in your budget.
You work too hard for your money. Don't gamble with your precious vacation!