Why you shouldn’t use Airbnb

Why you shouldn’t use Airbnb

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 for yourself why you shouldn’t use Airbnb when booking your future trips.

Why you shouldn’t use Airbnb

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 around AirBnB 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 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 use Airbnb. I decide 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.

Is it ever ok to use AirBnB?

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. 

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.

 

Why you shouldn't use Airbnb

 

Final Thoughts

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.

 

Here are my other planning guides

How to Save Money for Travel

How to find the best flight deals online

12 Travel apps to download before taking your trip

 A step by step guide to planning the perfect trip

 

This post was proofread by Grammarly

 

Book your trip now

Are you ready to book your trip?  To help you get the best deals and service here are the companies that I personally use to book all of my travel online. I always shop around before booking anything, but these are my tried and tested starting places.

  • Skyscanner – I’m a bit fan of Skyscanner, it is who I use to book all of my flights. I often will check other like Google Flights or Momodo, but I always go here first and it is who I book 99% of my flights with. 
  • Booking.com – I LOVE booking.com especially when I can book and cancel free up until a certain point, mostly because my plans are forever changing. It’s easy to use and has one of the widest selections. 
  • Airbnb – I’m not a huge user of Airbnb, but sometimes I do like to use it, and I ALWAYS check it before I book anything else. You can get some really cool places to stay here, and it is especially good in places like Cuba. If you don’t have an account and you click on this link then you will get $36 off your first booking.
  • Hostelworld – If you are looking for hostels then this is a great place to check first. They often have additional places that you won’t find on Bookin.com.
  • Agoda – Although I don’t use it as much as booking.com, Agonda is especially good if you are traveling in Asia as they really do dominate there. 
  • Worldpackers – If you want to travel on the cheap and save money on accommodation then you need Worldpackers in your life. You can read more about it here. If you click this link to sign up and use the code CLAIRESITCHYFEET then you can get a 40% discount on your membership! 
  • Book a Way – If you are traveling in Asia and want to pre-book your transportation then bookaway.com is a fantastic site to do so. They have buses, trains, and cars.
  • RentalCars – Looking to rent a. car while you are away? I always book through Rental Cars as they do a search of all of the big sites and find the best deals. 
  • Welcome Pickups – Very occasionally getting from the airport to my accommodation is a total pain in the butt, or I’m traveling in a group and it makes sense to arrange a pickup. When I do I use Welcome pickups.
  • World Nomads – If you are looking for flexible travel insurance then it’s World Nomads all the way. I wrote all about insurance here if you want a more thorough review. 
  • SafetyWing – AsI’m a Digital Nomad and not moving around quite so much anymore I personally use SafetyWing now for my health insurance. I wrote a full review here
  • Viatour – Sometimes it can be a little expensive, but I like Viatour for somethings, especially if you can get a discount code! It’s also great for inspiration. 
  • Klook – If you are traveling in Asia, then Klook is great! You can book all kinds of tours, activities, and train tickets, plus they even have sim cards and WiFi.

Claire Summers

Dancer, producer, traveller, photographer, cake maker, dog lover and knitter of Christmas scarfs.

This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. We don’t usually use Airbnb. We prefer other types of accomodations like hotels but we have to say that when we used it we were satisfied. It’s only a question of taste lol

    1. Claire Summers

      I’ve been really lucky that I’ve yet to have a bad Airbnb too. Happy travelling 🙂

  2. Chiera

    I have had a few AirBNB experiences and tbh all good. I stayed in an AriBNB in NYC years ago (before it was made illegal) and it was fine, in a great area.
    When you said your trip about “Don’t book a place with no reviews” it reminded me on the place we rented in Paris from a guy. It was a new listing with no reviews and £19 a night. There was 3 of us there that day and it turned out he was really nice and made us tea before he left (although very aware that could have gone very wrong) I’m like you in that I will first look for a hotel or hostel, THEN Airbnb if I have no luck with the others!
    I agree that I’m now cautious of the crackdown and don’t want to be a part of the problem. It’s a shame when people start to misuse a good thing.

    1. Claire Summers

      Completely agree and thank you so much for your comment about using somewhere with no reviews. I think if I were travelling in a group this wouldn’t bother me so much. I think I would just be hesitant if I were travelling solo. I’m always extra cautious about stuff like that being on my own. Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  3. kallsy

    Claire, thank you for your honest opinions and reviews of AirBnB! We have stayed in a few AirBnB locations recently and have been very pleased. Unfortunately, we are struggling with one of the issues you named above. Recently the rent at our apartment went up another $30 a month… this may not sound like a huge amount but typically it only rises around $10 a month whenever we resign! We both inquired about the reasoning behind it to which we couldn’t get a straight answer! But, we did notice that many of the buildings in our complexes have locks on the outside of the doorknob like most realtors would place so I’m wondering if that’s what is happening! Regardless, we have loved our stays at AirBnB locations and even are tempted to rent out our place when we are gone for three months this summer!

    1. Claire Summers

      Oh wow, I’m so sorry for that! This is exactly why I’m much more careful and do my research before booking an Airbnb. Like you I also love the idea of Airbnb and its something I do still use, just carefully. Happy travelling and thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  4. ADAM DOOLITTLE

    Interesting read…I’ve been following AirBnB since they first came out and was always intrigued with using their services but to this date, I have not. I know there are many unique lodgings that are listed on there which is great and don’t put a strain on housing issues.

    1. Claire Summers

      There are so many amazing places on Airbnb. I once stayed in someone back garden (in a field full of sheep) in an old caravan when I needed to get away from the world to write. It was brilliant and I would never have been able to do that without Airbnb. It’s just a shame that some people choose to abuse the concept of it, but I also get that people need to make money. It’s such a tricky one!

  5. We’ve always had good experiences. We use it in particularly expensive cities or like you where is lack of options, or if we are a group we will rent the whole property, but we agree that it could be damaging to an area and to the everyday life of locals in finding apartments. Any suggestions on how to fix this?

    1. Claire Summers

      Yes, I must admit I’ve also had great experiences with it. And I do still use it but I just try to do so consciously. I’m not sure of how to fix it other than doing some research before booking. If it’s in an area where It’s had a negative effect on the local people I don’t use it. Most of the time when I use it now I stay with local people. For example, me and my friend went Hiking in upstate new York a few weeks ago and stayed in an Airbnb with the most wonderful couple who were amazing. But I would never use it in NYC (It’s Ilegal anyway) to rent a whole apartment because of the effect on the local residents. But that’s just my personal opinion 🙂

  6. Hendrik

    Very interesting article and an important topic for all of us travelers out there. I have mixed feelings about Airbnb since they became some kind of superpower. Of course we love to use their services as well and it not only saves a lot of money, it also gives you opportunities that no hotel can offer very often. Sure. But we made also some very bad experiences with Airbnb where either flats are suddenly not available anymore when you arrive or they charge you afterwards completely unfair for things you are not responsible for. So for now I really consider to find a cheap hotel place instead.

    1. Claire Summers

      Completely agree I have had some incredible experiences but the more I hear and use it the more I’m trying to do it responsibly and also always looking for other ways. If I use it now I prefer to stay with people where possibly.

  7. Agnes

    I have used Airbnb many times and have always been satisfied. I like that you can get a more personal service than in hotels and the owners often share great tips about the location and help to find the really authentic spots. I haven’t heard that it is now illegal in some places. Thanks for the information, it’s all very useful, especially when booking my next accommodation.

  8. Bruce Schinkel

    Thanks for this post Claire! I’ve used Airbnb a few times and always loved it.
    I get some of those issues outlined, but can’t say i agree with them … sounds like just more evidence of historical (often archaic) industries not liking new technologies taking away their market share (like with Uber and Lyft) 🙂

  9. Bella WW

    I did not know these issues about Airbnb until now, so I’m glad I found out about them in this article. I used Airbnb 3 times so far, and I can say that one of them was a terrible experience. The room was much smaller in reality, and the intimacy was almost completely missing. I think Airbnb is still a good option, but we have to check it well before. A very useful post!

  10. Wanderlust vegans

    I have heard of this issue but haven’t looked into it too much. I didn’t know that airbnb was illegal some places. I wouldn’t say I’m against airbnb though as we’ve had a lot of good experiences and if someone owns a property they can do what they want if they aren’t breaking the law. I understand how people are annoyed if they think airbnb is to blame for increased rent.

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