Are you thinking of booking an AirBnB? If like me you have heard a lot of negative stuff in the press and online then you may be having second thoughts. There has been a fair bit of controversy around Airbnb. I must admit I was pretty shocked when I first heard about it being made illegal in certain places. So like any socially responsible traveler, I began to look into why Airbnb has become so controversial so I could make my mind up for myself. In this article, I’m going to fill you in on what I have learned so you can decide ifor yourself why you shouldn’t use Airbnb when booking your future trips.
If you would like to know more about why it has been made illegal and were then take a read of these two articles as they should help shed some light on the topic.
Some of the main issues from what I can gather are:
- Hotels are getting upset and saying that Airbnb should be compliant to the same laws as them (I know there is much more to it than this, I’m just trying to summarise).
- Local residents are being priced out of areas as landlords are choosing to let their properties through Airbnb to make more money.
This is the main reason that I have started to issue caution about my use of Airbnb.
What is Airbnb
The idea behind Airbnb is that if you are someone who has a spare room or maybe you work away a lot and your home is empty that you can make a bit of extra cash. This is through short-term renting your spare room or whole property while you are out-of-town.
What it is NOT supposed to be is an alternative to renting for landlords. So I can completely understand why there are some many difficult issues coming up with landlords using Airbnb in this way.
I do not want to be a part of the problem and use Airbnb in a way that has a negative effect on local residents so here are a few things I look out for when considering using Airbnb while I’m traveling.
1. Ok so the top of my checklist is to do a quick google search in the area I am traveling to. Something like “is Airbnb ok in…” or “Airbnb illegal in..” just to see if there has been anything in the local news about it and make sure it’s not an area it is illegal.
2. I then think about why I want to use Airbnb and see if there are reasons why I shouldn’t useAirbnb. I decide it using Airbnb is the best option.
Normally I would stay in a hostel or if I’m in need of a bit more luxury (and feeling flush) I will book a hotel.
These are the reasons I normally use Airbnb:
- I can’t find a hostel
- If I want to stay somewhere a bit longer term
- I need a bed in a non-tourist area where hotels are super expensive (i.e. close to an airport so I can catch an early flight.
3. At that point, I will then search for properties. What I look for is why they are renting on Airbnb ie do they live there. If they do live there and it’s a spare room, or they work away, then I will book it. You can normally tell by what’s written in the description if they are living in the property. If they aren’t and it looks like they are not using Airbnb properly then I’ll give it a miss.
Other things I look for when choosing a place to stay are:
- Reviews – Read them all and don’t book somewhere with no reviews or bad ones.
- Area – Check out the area and make sure it’s close to transport links and easy to find.
- Trust your gut – When I’m deciding on a place to stay if I read something that doesn’t quite sit right then I skip past it. Safety is so important and I’ve learned the best way to stay safe is to trust my instincts and if something doesn’t quite feel right then it probably isn’t.
I have had some great Airbnb experiences. Mostly when I’ve needed a bed close to an airport. But I also think it’s important to be knowledgeable about some of the issues. I always try and do my best to not be a part of the problem.
Have you had any good or bad experiences with Airbnb? I would love to hear from you, so leave me a comment below.
If you are looking for ways to save money on accommodation check out my article that guides you through saving money of accommodation using Skyscanner and Booking.com.
** I have included my link for Airbnb in this article I have not received any payment from Airbnb. If you click on the link and sign up for the account and make a booking we will both receive a £25 credit to spend on the site. It is through these affiliate links that I am able to continue writing articles to help other travelers.