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Here are the top 5 reasons to avoid Airbnb on your next trip

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More than a billion travelers have used Airbnb to find unique travel experiences since its founding in 2008. With more than half a million guests a year visiting more than 220 countries at various price points, Airbnb has effectively become the only real choice for travel rentals.

woman handing keys to man in airbnb

Unfortunately, in the absence of legitimate global competition for hotel alternatives, Airbnb has become more problematic as it continues to grow.

Both guests and hosts they’re getting fed up while the challenges only grow in step with the platform’s rise to ubiquity.

While Airbnb has taken some steps to address common pain points, like giving guests the option to see all rates in advance while they search, other, more systemic hurdles will be nearly impossible to overcome. These are features, not bugs, of the Airbnb system.

Here are the top five reasons you might want to avoid Airbnb on your next trip:

airbnb key in front of the mountain

Missing or mismatched services

Vacation time is a more precious commodity than dollars, euros or pesos for most travelers. With most Americans taking less than two weeks of vacation each year, it’s safe to say that all travelers want to squeeze every last drop out of their travel days.

Unfortunately, the inconsistency of amenities across Airbnb properties means less time enjoying your destination.

Sometimes absolute basics like toilet paper or soap can be missing from your accommodation, turning some of your precious holiday relaxation time into a stressful trip to the supermarket during weekend rush hour, possibly in a foreign language or far. of your accommodation.

More importantly, never really You don’t know what you’re getting until you read pages of home descriptions and manuals, which are inconveniently located in different sections of the web listing (and sometimes self-translated nonsense, just for a laugh).

There is simply too much variety to avoid conflicting expectations or miscommunication.

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disappointed traveler in summer

Hosts can’t compete with a reception

There are many genuinely outstanding Airbnb hosts who deserve serious praise for their hospitality and love of their hometown. However, like the amenities, the hospitality and responsiveness of Airbnb hosts are pretty lucky.

Even when hosting with a superhost, there is often (understandably) a significant delay in resolving issues or getting critical information. From multi-day power outages in sweltering heat to flooded bathrooms, there are a few things that make a traveler long for a hotel reception.

These types of issues can quickly go from inconvenience to real health and safety issues. When hosts are unavailable or unable to resolve issues, Airbnb support should be able to fill in the gaps, right?

…Mistaken.

basic empty airbnb

Poor customer service means no peace of mind

a recent report Analyzing more than 125,000 Airbnb complaints on Twitter, it was found that 72% of traveler issues with Airbnb were related to poor customer service.

The main problems included:

  • Limited support in emergencies.
  • Unreachable or very rude, hang up
  • Unfairly Denies Refunds or Full Refunds
  • Promises but never delivers
  • Provides an incorrect answer

Some guests accuse Airbnb Support of prioritizing bottom line profits and maintaining their image over helping or protecting guests.

In especially frightening cases, Airbnb’s shadowy « safety team » in particular seems to focus less on preemptive changes to keep travelers safe and more on paying millions in silent money when the host’s lack of accountability and standardized security practices result in break-ins and violent assaults, predominantly affecting female guests.

airbnb app

A not so beautiful day in the neighborhood

What used to be an offbeat taste of local life seems to have morphed into a corporate machine. Foreign house flaps and sterile management companies have replaced the homey hospitality and quirky immersive experiences of early Airbnbs.

Airbnb’ Properties neighbors they know this harsh reality better than anyone, and are pushing back

One study in Hawaii revealed some of the ways short-term vacation rentals like Airbnb erode a neighborhood’s character and culture. “This is changing the neighborhood’s sense of place. It’s changing the feel, with almost a revolving door of strangers, » said one resident.

Boston studies also show that short-term rentals that disrupt the organic organization of a neighborhood can also have detrimental effects on social ties and increase crime rates.

A concentration of Airbnbs within a neighborhood can bring problems such as:

  • cultural dilution
  • Noise pollution
  • Parties
  • congested parking
  • Damage to property
  • rising rents
  • displaced residents
woman sitting in messy airbnb

Because short term rentals like Airbnb can make anywhere from 2 to 8 times more money than a long-term lease, many long-term residents are being kicked out of multi-generational family homes around the world to accommodate the next vacation of tourists.

This displacement can be seen most severely when wealthier Western tourists flock to cheaper countries with lower local wages due to their low cost of living; For example, Mexico City.

The average salary in the Mexican capital is $3,800 per year. After last year’s deal, in which the Mexico City government welcomed Airbnb with open arms, a typical 2-bedroom apartment costs more in monthly rent ($1,500 – 4,000) than many local annual salaries.

A tourist says his Airbnb price is an incredible deal. One digital nomad calls it geoarbitrage. Locals and experts call it global gentrification.

Palace of Fine Arts Mexico City at sunset

Is your vacation rental illegal?

without knowing it For most travelers, many of the Airbnb listings that show up in their search results are, in fact, illegal.

Some operate in cities or countries where Airbnb is illegal or heavily restricted. Others have not followed the proper protocols for their area, such as being a registered real estate or tourism business or renting for the legal minimum or maximum periods.

Some hosts even put guests in the awkward position of lying for them to circumvent these rules.

Airbnb is banned or severely restricted in these top destinations:

  • New York City, New York
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Paris France
  • Barcelona, ​​Spain
  • Singapore
  • thailand
  • Japan
traditional japanese ryokan guest house

Airbnb started out as a brilliant way to travel more like a local. Now, it’s become a necessary evil that travelers just can’t shake.

Don’t be discouraged by the lack of known alternatives to Airbnb. While the options are a bit slim, here are some trip-worthy ideas for those willing to venture off the beaten path:

  • widespread hotels – In Italy and around the world, you can stay in villages that have become “scattered hotels” focused on reviving local historical and cultural gems.
  • Ryokan and Minshuku – These traditional guest houses in Japan they are usually family-run and passed down from generation to generation. Travelers can fully immerse themselves in Japanese culture, from tatami rooms to hot spring baths.
  • fairbnb – Eastern European cooperative grants 50% of tourists’ payment to fund local community projects and allows hosts to list their homes for free.
  • Home exchange – As its name suggests, you can house exchange with someone from another country. Speaking of fair trade!
  • Locally owned B&Bs, guest houses, and boutique hotels – Take a look at 10 great options of The Guardian hereor search on your own using filters on Booking, Google or anywhere else.

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com