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For those of you out there planning this years travel, considering a trip or considering using Airbnb but aren’t too sure, this post is for you!
Airbnb is such a great accommodation tool now and has gained more popularity. For those you haven’t tried it yet or want to find out more information, here is my list. I’ve stayed at approximately 10 different Airbnb properties in 10 different towns so here is what I’ve learnt from those experiences.
- Bargain prices to be found: Let’s face it, travelling can be expensive especially if you’re travelling as a family. You will need to compare against hotel/hostel prices in places where you’re travelling to but from my experience, I have found that Airbnb is either cheaper or a better deal. By this I mean, if i paid a few more dollars- I could have an entire apartment with a kitchen which would then save on food costs. So it’s worth checking out even if you’ve never used it before.
- Living with a local: If you’re travelling somewhere where you’ve been before and want an “insider” tip to the city, booking a private room in a house or an apartment could be a good option. Not only are your hosts there to offer you a place, there is a local expert in the house! You can ask them for their favourite restaurants, shops or events to truly get a local feel of a place.
- Use of shared equipment: One of the biggest pro’s I find is the ability to use their kitchen and washing machine. Food and washing are just added expenses to your trip so if you can find a way around it, then I would be all for it. Of course, some places might charge you to do laundry but this should be stated on the accommodation listing so keep an eye out for it. Or else, you have the option of asking before booking.
- Reviews: I love love love that you get the chance to review your host and the place as well as being reviewed. I have found through experience that it is a good idea to read every single review incase there is something hidden or just to get the jist of the place and host. I have also been annoyed at other guests not leaving helpful reviews so I urge you to write one after your stay to help out fellow travellers.
- Cancelling comes with a price: There may be times when plans fall through or you’ve changed your mind. It’s super easy to cancel a booking and you do get your money back (depending on how many days you’ve cancelled in advance, check this!) but you won’t be getting back the Airbnb admin fee. Things happen but this sucks. This is in comparison to hotel and hostel cancelling fees (especially when booked through bookings.com) where for some, cancelling is free.
- Untruthful hosts: This is why it is so important to read and leave thorough reviews! We like to believe the best in people but sadly, the best of people isn’t always there. Always always read the whole listing description and feel free to ask questions. Even then, as I have learnt, you might still be surprised by things not seeming as they should be.
- No fence-sitter: If you were staying at a hostel or hotel and had a problem, you could easily see reception to get your problem fixed. However, when you’re staying in someone else’s place, well….they have their own best interests and you have yours. There is no immediate mediator (apart from Airbnb) and raising an issue could make the rest of your stay awkward. This is obviously different from person to person (maybe you would raise the issue) but I would feel awkward if something didn’t turn out as listed and I brought it up but still lived in their place.
So all in all, I guess you can’t really know until you go! I have mostly had brilliant hosts and places were mostly as listed (and if not, I have written reviews saying so). Also remember that someone else is offering up their home to a complete stranger so the uncomfortable non-trusting feelings run on both sides.
If you have used Airbnb, what do you think of my list? Would you add anything else? If you haven’t used Airbnb, what are the things that are stopping you from using it? I’d love to discuss in the comments so leave one there!
7 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of using Airbnb”
Great post. I’ve had some good experiences with Airbnb. I like to use it when visiting bigger cities like NYC because it makes more sense than a hotel. I usually like to stay in the East Village neighborhood and there aren’t many hotel options there.
I hear NYC is expensive!! Good way to cut costs.
Great post! I’ve used Airbnb several times in the last few months, and I love it for the most part. All of the pros you mentioned have been true for me — especially saving money on food (and it can be fun to check out local markets or grocery stores!). The most common problem I’ve had, though, is an inability to communicate with the host upon arrival at the property. We’ve always scheduled rough times to meet our hosts at the property, but when something has not gone as planned — either we’re early or late — it’s been difficult to find a way to communicate because my phone doesn’t work outside of France — or I get charged roaming fees to use it. It’s never created a major problem, just an hour here and there of waiting around hoping someone will show up or an anxious drive as we hope the host hasn’t left. But it’s something to consider when using Airbnb, and goes along with your “no fence-sitter” point. At a hotel you can show up anytime, but it may take more careful planning with Airbnb.
I’ve had that waiting problem once too and the phone issue! Waited almost 1hr for the keys. I did write that in the review though.
I’ve had the same mixed feelings about Airbnb. I’ve stayed at 3 properties, one excellent, one mediocre and one where I really felt deceived by the host and reviews. It’s disappointing when the photos are old and the property isn’t as described, but I’ve got one more Airbnb trip planned and hopefully it will work out well!
Exactly but for the moment I still feel that there are more pro’s than con’s. I hope they work out well too!
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