AirBnb vs. Hotel: What No One Is Telling You

AirBnb rentals are visibly cheaper than a traditional stay at a hotel, which may be why the popularity of the U.S.A.-based vacation rental website is now off the charts worldwide. But we must warn you that AirBnb is not for everyone, and there are several less-obvious reasons to book a hotel. It can be cheaper in the long term, trust us.

AirBnb Is Rife with Scammers

If using AirBnb on a regular basis, brace yourself for an unfortunate encounter with a scam artist. Scammers are in plenty on the vacation rental website and they’re very hard to tell from legitimate users as AirBnb has a somewhat relaxed policy when it comes to banning transgressors. From guests that accept multiple bids (yours included) and ruin the vacations of everyone but the highest bidder to guests booking for one night and extending their stay free of charge for a couple of weeks, scammers come in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Also, if a listing sounds too good to be true, it probably is. And never pay for a transaction outside the Airbnb platform. If someone asks for an offsite payment, he or she is likely a scammer.

AirBnb May Be illegal in Some Locations

Your host may be breaking the law when listing that property in the city of your choice. In some countries, the accommodation service is (partially) unlawful, with some cities hiring people just to spot illegal rentals and fine the host into oblivion while throwing occupants out. Locations where AirBnb is (semi-)illegal include Barcelona, Spain, New York City, in the U.S., (unless you rent the location for more than 30 consecutive days), and Berlin, Germany, (unless the host has a special permit).

Japan and France have some restrictions too on AirBnb rentals, like capping the number of days a property owner can rent out the location. Most of these laws are designed to shield locals from long-term accommodation shortages and keep housing prices down.

What’s more, around 1 in 3 AirBnb rentals are listed on the website by people who are not even the owners and they do it behind the real owners’ backs. So, if you choose AirBnb over a hotel, you might have the unpleasant surprise of being asked to leave when the property owner wants.

Safety Regulations Are Not As Strict for AirBnbs

AirBnbs do not have to follow the same safety and security rules like hotels have to. Most rentals listed by AirBnb are private properties so they lack the extra regulations when it comes to fire, theft, and safety risks. What’s more, AirBnb’s Host Protection Insurance will not compensate you if your goods were stolen or property was damaged through acts of terrorism, vandalism and other intentional acts. AirBnb will not cover you for lost income either like most hotels would.


Some AirBnb Hosts Have Little to No Respect for Your Privacy

Just like narcissistic parents, some Airbnb hosts live with the idea that they own the place and they have every right to infringe on your privacy while staying there. In some mild cases, they may pay a surprise visit when you’re not around and go freely through your stuff. In the worst cases, they may use hidden cameras to spy your every move, which can be horrifying for couples looking to have an intimate moment away from home or for single ladies roaming half-naked in their underwear thinking that no one’s watching.

While people spying on other people could land in jail in most parts of the world, catching them red-handed is much trickier. A hotel rarely risks spying on its guests as there’s too much at stake if people find out and they always have the proper insurance if something goes wrong.

There’s a Higher Risk of Getting Injured in an AirBnb

From a slippery floor and an unfinished staircase, the number of slip, trip, and fall hazards is much greater in an AirBnb rental than it is in a hotel. We’ve also heard horror stories about rentals AiBnb burning down because of faulty electrical outlets and/or the lack of smoke detectors or about floors or ceiling collapsing out of the blue.

The good news is that AirBnb offers personal injury coverage up to $1 million to protect hosts against lawsuits. The not-so-good news is that $1 million is not that much if you must pay hefty medical bills or face recurring medical costs caused by a lifelong disability. You could get much higher compensation and strike a fairer settlement with a hotel than you would with an AirBnb host as a free legal consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney can easily confirm.

Featured image credit: Alexander Kaunas for sharing their work on Unsplash.