Pros and Cons of Airbnb

When travelling, my first choice for accommodation is Airbnb. Since so many people ask me recently – is it OK, is it safe, is it clean, etc (some ask what is Airbnb..), I decided to share my Airbnb experience with you.

My first travel with Airbnb was 3-4 years ago I think. Until now I’ve stayed at more than 30 properties with Airbnb. Did I have an unpleasant experience from any of these? Maybe once, related to noise and lack of privacy. Compared to stays with and other online reservation systems, the disappointment rate with Airbnb, at least for me, is way way lower.

Now, what’s good and what’s bad about Airbnb? Read my impressions below and decide for yourself. For those who have no idea what Airbnb is – it’s a place where you can book privately-owned rooms and apartments, usually for short-term stay.

The Pros:

  • Get connected to a local person and live in a local environment.

    You get a feel of the place, the people, their way of life and not of a standard hotel environment, where the only person you may converse with is the receptionist (if he speaks English well enough and is in a good mood).
  • Get a whole lot of true information about the sights around, local transport, best places to eat, etc.

    Airbnb hosts are very motivated to create the best of experience for you and so often willingly give you all kind of information that would make your stay great. And this is personal recommendation on where to go and where to eat – not some pumped up tourist info.
  • It’s easy to get a ride from the airport to the host.

    Since the host is interested to have you accommodated as soon as possible, with least hassle for them, they often offer you to pick you up at the airport, for a small fee (way smaller than public shuttles). If this is not specifically written in their listing – ask them.
  • In most cases, you get way more than your small hotel room.

    Most hosts offer big rooms, the usage of their kitchen, their garden (if they live in a house), free bikes, breakfast and others. Of course, you might also get a bonus – their cat, noise from kids, etc, but that is only if you decide to book a room, and not an entire property (apartment or room with a separate entrance). When possible, I book an entire property.

    Two-room apartment we rented in a house in Syracuse, Sicily. You can enjoy the garden, get free breakfast and free bikes. Photo:


  • You can get a really good price.

    Now, this very much depends on how popular Airbnb is with the locals. If there are a lot of places rented out in your location, you can get a very good price. If Airbnb is not that popular (this usually is valid for smaller cities) – you get a limited choice and higher pricing. In this case, it might be good to look around for small family hotels or other options for property rentals. In ~90% of the cases, I’ve been accommodated with Airbnb for less than $20 per person per night (which is the price of a bed in an average hostel).

    Apartment in Split, Croatia. During the summer Split can get real pricey and airbnb can save you a lot of money.


  • The reviews of other guests give a really good idea of the property pros and cons.

    So, you better pick places with more and detailed reviews.
    I have always stuck to this rule and so far the reviews have never lied. People are very honest about every single detail in the property they have rented and whether it’s distant location, room too small or something else – this turns out right.
  • You can get a $25 discount for a first-time booking of $75+ or more if you are referred by someone. And you also get $25 for everyone you refer to Airbnb who booked for $75+.

    Now, this is something I really appreciate. It helps set off the price a bit, travel more and also help you friends save some money!
    Here’s a link you can use to obtain a $25 discount on your first Airbnb booking.
    Sign up for Airbnb.

How about the cons?

Of course, there are cons too. For me they are really unimportant compared to the benefits, but still I’m listing them.

  • You might need more time to book yourself a property

    After you place a reservation request with Airbnb, they block the money for the stay and send a request to the owner of the property. If he approved – all is fine, they get their money 1 day after you’ve been accommodated and everything is perfect. Sometimes though, the owners refuse your request (e.g if they are not in town, if the property is not available, etc). In this case you get your money back and have to resume the search..
  • You should be careful about cancellation policy.

    Some owners have a very strict cancellation policy and would keep part of your money if you cancel. So, be careful to read the FULL rental conditions of the property, to avoid disappointment.
  • You should be careful about the property location.

    Since most properties are rented out by their owners, the property might not be in a central/touristy location, but rather, in a residential one, a nearby village, etc. So, make sure you study the map of the region and the reviews. If you are renting a car, location is usually not that important. But if using public transport and having a lot of luggage – it becomes critical.

    Room I rented in Darmstadt area, Germany. In a small village but very close to a key train station, so perfectly fine. Photo:


  • You need to communicate with the owner your expected time of arrival.

    Unlike a hotel where reception is 24/7, you may not expect that a real person would be staying at his home, waiting for you to arrive. So, communicate your exact time of arrival and send him phone messages if you see that you might be earlier or late.
  • However unlikely, you may still come across a noisy place, with lack of enough privacy, not well furnished, etc.

    This however is really unlikely if you read the reviews and check the pics. Hosts understand that any small inconvenience will go into those reviews, so even if initially something was not as good as expected, they try to fix it up asap and reflect this in the comments.

That’s it, I can really think of nothing else as cons. I really recommend you try this option one day, the experience is much different than staying with a hotel and I think you’ll like it!

And if you’d like to add any pros and cons to those above – I’ll be happy to see them in the comments below.

Renting out rooms with Airbnb in London? Use the convenience of Airbnb domestic cleaning and carpet cleaning using Home Maid Clean.

Happy Airbnb-ing and have a most adventurous 2015!


One Response to Pros and Cons of Airbnb

  1. A great round up of AirBnb, with some useful things to consider. Sadly my first experience was not that great as, despite checking the reviews, the apartment we chose was noisy, poorly furnished, cold and much smaller than we imagined – so it does happen! All a learning curve though!

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