Having an Airbnb bad experience can ruin the most carefully planned holiday. Ever stayed in an Airbnb property that was not up to scratch? Or have you had another type of bad experience? Some people might say, “Oh I would never stay in an Airbnb”, but never say never, right? Often the minute we say we won’t do something, inevitably we will change our minds about it. So, is Airbnb for you?
The share economy is growing at a fast rate
Have you heard of the share economy? Airbnb is so immensely popular now, I am sure you’ve heard of it. One of the tech kings in the sharing economy, this platform allows users to hook up online to rent property from each other for short term leases. It’s had its fair share of controversy, some countries and councils banning it completely while others have embraced it and even publicised it.
Personally, I have stayed in Airbnbs with no incident. I have enjoyed my time in the properties I have carefully chosen. However, Airbnb is not for everyone. Here’s why.
#1: In an Airbnb property you might be less anonymous
The best part about travel is getting away from it all. When you travel, you can be anyone, it’s so freeing. From the minute you jump on the plane, find your seat on the bus or hit the road in your car – the world is your oyster. Personally, I dislike having to “make friends” or have hard-and-fast appointments the minute I show up somewhere new. The anonymity of a hotel/motel with its longer range of reception hours suits me much better.
#2: It might sometimes be a hassle picking up keys
With most Airbnbs you have to arrange a time to pick up the keys to the property as most houses and apartments don’t have a reception area. Usually this involves meeting with the owner of the property, or someone they know. If you’re lucky they won’t act like it’s a huge hassle but on occasion you might be made to feel like an inconvenience. Read reviews carefully for any indication of this.
#3: You might not want to see your host’s food or toiletries
Even cheap, crappy motels offer a degree of anonymity. The sheets, towels and cups don’t belong to one owner but to the establishment. This means if you find your pillow too soft or your bedspread to light you can normally get a replacement. Having to squeeze your personal items into a bathroom already cluttered with someone else’s half-used soaps and shampoos is not ideal either.
#4: You might not want even meet your hosts!
Quite frankly I like hotels and motels because they don’t care who you are, you’re just a number on their books, not a “guest” that’s being welcomed into a home. I am a very personable person (can’t ya just tell?) so being nice to people takes a lot of effort – effort that I would rather expend somewhere else.
#5: Don’t even get me started on your family or flatmates!
If the landlord is bad, think about having to pick up the keys from a random, disinterested flatmate or family member. Often these people will make no money from the transaction and are just doing it as a favour to the host. This means that they’re unlikely to be flexible with timings and worse, they might give you and your partner (and kids) the once over. Not pleasant.
#6: You might differ with your host on the level of cleanliness
There was a massive stoush here in Australia about a couple that complained about the level of cleanliness of an Airbnb and the host sent a relative to lock them out of the property, sparking a police intervention. Check out this new documentary revealing the dark side of Airbnb. There have even been reports of drug houses in Airbnbs but I am in no way suggesting that that’s the norm!
#7: “I can get myself around just fine, thanks!”
So many of my colleagues and friends just LOVE Airbnb because they love to make friends wherever they go. Not me, I have enough friends, thank you very much, and I want to be left to my own devices when I travel. I don’t want suggestions to local hotspots, restaurants or nightlife because I have wifi now. Thanks anyway but I’d prefer to avoid that awkward conversation if I can.
#8: You might not want your host (or the company) emailing you after you have left
It’s part of the deal, if you stay at an Airbnb, it’s nice to leave a positive review. The host might even communicate with you afterwards, as they’ll have all your contact details. If you break something or use something you haven’t paid for in a hotel or motel, they normally have some sort of system in place for reimbursement with little fuss. You may not find the same systems in place with an Airbnb so if something does go wrong, or you break something, this may spark a dispute. However, the platform does have a robust Airbnb Resolutions Center – so long as you’re in the right.
#9: How much more was that snazzy hotel anyway?
At the end of the day, how much cheaper is Airbnb than a hostel, hotel or motel anyway? If you’re happy simply renting a room, you will probably find savings, especially in big cities. However, if you want to rent a whole property and you’re in a capital city at peak time, you may find that Airbnb is comparable to some 4 and 5 star hotels. Choose wisely.
#10: You might just want to be alone
Be like Greta Garbo and declare that yes, you just want to be alone. I just love the anonymity offered by the biggest, most impersonal hotels. I love the fact that no one recognises me, that if I am greeted it’s a nominal greeting only, and that if I have a request, there is someone there, often 24/7 to find me a better pillow, bring me some extra herbal tea or tell me the wifi password. Airbnb is definitely not for me but do your own investigations because it might be a great fit for you.
Have you stayed in an Airbnb property before? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below to win a free eBook.