Four Reasons To Walk Away From Airbnb [Roundup]

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Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Getting FIYAD is the perfect reason to outfox your former employer and start your own business, so you can be a future side hustle millionaire.

  2. Airbnb is one option that appeals to some and not to others. I’m fine with Matt staying in hostels that afford zero privacy. He should not care if I stay in airbnb.

  3. Airbnb has the “reverse Karen” problem. Hosts feel super entitled even though they’ve taken your money. I’d be glad to take out my trash when I’m staying for free or very cheap at the generosity of the host. But Airbnb’s days of being cheap are long gone. Airbnb empowers hosts to indulge in their greed. To charge cleaning fees on top of fees and then expect the guest to adhere to every stupid whim in the “house rules.” Airbnb is not compatible with the selfish attitude of capitalist societies like America. I hope Airbnb goes out of businesses. Good riddance.

  4. We have had AirBnB apartments:
    – Near camp de Fiori in Rome in the heart of Rome
    – Near Piazza Navona in Rome in the city center
    – Near Piazza de Petra (Hadian’s temple or Tempio de Adriano) in Rome
    – In Piazza Donati (Via del Corso) in central Florence
    – Near Ponte Real in Venice with walking distance to St. Mark’s

    All neaby hotels offered tiny accommodations (room only) for triple the daily rate, and we needed 2 rooms because we are a family of 4. We shopped, cooked, and ate what we like and enjoyed the spacious accommodations in historic centers. So, yes, there is a case to be made for AirBnB stays!

  5. Of course airbnb will not appeal to lonely salesmen going to places for work or a high maintenance tourist that only cares about the finger foods in the hotel lounge.

    Airbnbs are perfect for exploring places while giving you a good location for a fraction of the cost of even the dingiest of chain hotels (like a Sheraton or Holiday Inn)

    And as mentioned, perfect for families who want to be independent and have a lot more space than a hotel room can offer.

  6. The traffic controllers deserved to be fired. Moving the statue for that reason is BS. It’s obvious this is a facade

  7. I have zero interest in dealing with Airbnb. There is too much extra work that I don’t need to worry about with hotels.

    As much as we complain about consistency with hotel chains, there is still far less variability then there is with Airbnb. I don’t want to have to record my room right when I get there, and as a minority I don’t want to have to worry about being rejected because of a profile picture. I don’t want to have to worry about ancillary fees because I have children.

    With hotels, I don’t have to worry about any of that. I just check in, enjoy my stay, check out, and I’m done.

  8. It’s easy to outsmart the plastic box encased thermostat if you want more AC. Simply take aim at it with a hair dryer.

    As for AirBnBs – some of the most amazing, spectacular stays I’ve had around this planet have been an truly unique properties. Also, a lot of AirBnB properties are also listed on Expedia, Priceline, etc for much less.

  9. AirBNB is… in general, horrible.

    We stay in them often (in one now).
    No standards, usually dirty, crazy check in processes.

    I wish someone offered a better experience.
    I’d like a hotel with real kitchen, washer/dryer and fast internet.

    We stay in AirBNBs because there is no option for short term apartment rentals.
    (and we can cash in Chase Points currently.), But, yes, it’s almost always dreadful.

  10. I still prefer Airbnb over hotels because I highly value a kitchen and laundry. That said I do agree that Airbnbs put more risk on the traveler compared to the host. Ive run into issues before with being ghosted by the host before arriving in a remote foreign country and Airbnb was terrible. So now I only book when I know that if something goes wrong I can easily find an alternative.

    Also it seemed Matt was renting rooms which I would guess is more problematic than renting an entire place.

  11. We (family of four, two young children) travel the world regularly and extensively and have used hotels, motels, hostels, timeshare rentals (not owners), and AirBnBs. We vastly prefer hotels when available, but timeshare rentals can be much larger and better priced in some markets. AirBnBs entail more risk – quality and financial – that other options, but occasionally produce a nice reward with a great host. Hostels generally produce the lowest cost, even in a private room as we choose.

    The advent of massive mandatory cleaning fees generally makes AirBnBs at least as expensive for us and almost never worth it. If I wasn’t a top or near-top elite in all of the major hotel chains, my evaluation might change.

  12. Living in DC for nearly a decade, the people who go out of their way to call it “National” instead of “Reagan” (and yes, that’s what they’re doing) because they think it makes them sound like old timers or “real” locals are the f***ing worst. Do you also call the NBA team the Bullets and their arena the MCI Center?

    Sorry, G man. We’re usually on the same page with stuff, but this is stupid.

  13. @Justin – not ‘going out of my way’ I don’t stop myself and then call it “National” that’s *just what it is to me*, I’d have to stop and force myself to call it something else.

    I’m very much a creature of habit. I still type in “” to go to the Southwest website. And until the URL stopped forwarding, went dormant, and was scooped up I went to to pay my Barclays AAdvantage card.

    Do you call ATL “hartsfield jackson airport”..?

  14. I was done with Abnb in 2015 when, for my first stay ever, the host cancelled a month long stay 24 hours in advance. ABNB offered $200 credit toward other accommodations but there was nothing similar. Screw them.

    I’m buying my own hotel chain.

  15. I can defeat that thermostat control box in three seconds. Just slip a table knife into the slots and push the buttons to whatever you want, unless they’ve managed to somehow lock the controls.

    Never stayed at an AirBnB because I generally don’t like sharing space with strangers, but have had tremendous luck with things like VRBO or where you get an entire apartment, condo, or house. Which is usually cheaper than booking two rooms or a suite.

  16. Airbnb is a total crapshoot. Some have been nice, but others dirty or low quality. One of the problems seems to be absentee owners who buy a property specifically to put it on Airbnb, do the minimum to fix it up, and the pictures online make it look way nicer than it is. As a result, I’d prefer a good hotel, but in some places that is not an option.

  17. Used AirBnB once. Very nice place, but only included bedding for 4 people (although was advertised as sleeping for 6). We emailed the owners, they emailed us that they would bring bedding on day 2… but they never did. And including all the ridiculous add-on fees, it was costlier than a hotel. Of course, we knew that in advance but we are a group of 6 so wanted to stay together, and hotel rooms don’t accommodate that.
    Basically, I believe we got lucky with the quality of the rental, unlucky with not having bedding for 2 people. And won’t do it again.

  18. I’ve lived in the DMV my whole life, and I’ve called DCA Reagan since the name change. And I’ve heard other locals refer to it as Reagan too many times to count.

  19. The new thing I’ve seen over the last year in AirBnB, VRBO AND Vacasa is a 11am checkout listed and in all communication then a note on the refrigerator with 10am. So I’m sure i could probably* negotiate it back to 11 but it’s another thing on my shoulders to negotiate which was not the agreement. I want less negotiating, less stress and communication, not more.

  20. Not all holiday rentals are on Airbnb. The reason they are increasing in price is because Airbnb is becoming more greedy. Most hosts are really happy to rent directly and will take the Airbnb Commission off. With the cleaning unfortunately some guests leave properties in a disgusting mess so everyone has to pay for that. We try to book direct and the Hosts love it. Hosts also haye dealing with greedy Airbnb.

  21. My biggest complaint with Airbnb is that you’re getting a pig in a poke. Specifically you don’t know the location until you book. The area may be good but not the location.

    I also have learned to only book with Superhosts to avoid nasty surprises. I also prefer hostels, but sometimes Airbnb satisfies a need.

  22. Air traffic controllers got a raw deal. The striking teachers in so many cities never got fired. I am a proud union member and more union folks need to speak up and out against the corporate greed and political corruption. Did Mommy( Nancy Reagan ) approve of Pres Reagan’s shafting of the air traffic controllers ? Did Nancy’s psychic approve ? Whack jobs . I never say Reagan when I make my announcements
    On the aircraft landing in Dca . Never will ….

  23. Gary, why would you bring up an unhinged opinion piece from a paper that has a history of opposing freedom over the Christmas holiday? The Reagan Airport is probably the least controversial name for a publicly known structure. If you want to talk about something, talk about how the Tappan Zee Bridge was renamed Mario Cuomo bridge signed by Andrew Cuomo as governor. Talk about the Las Vegas Airport being renamed for Harry Reid who is a liberal supporter of coercive government and an oppressor of freedom. His time as Senate Majority leader is derided by half the public.

  24. @Jon: “I have zero interest in dealing with Airbnb. There is too much extra work that I don’t need to worry about with hotels.”
    Pretty much the reason my wife and I now prefer hotels. That and the often variable “rules” demanded by hosts that in many cases you don’t find out about until you get there.
    As someone who had a short-term rental in Tahoe before the days of AirBNB, my advice is: Have a holiday home OR have a short-term rental. Trying to mix the two will just p*ss you off.
    BTW, although this piece aims squarely at AirBNB owners, I have to say, too many S-T guests are pigs.

  25. There are plenty of folks on these travel blogs who bag on Marriott for getting Bonvoyed because of promised but undelivered benefits. Airbnb’s business model of pimping anyone else’s property and then taking a cut makes it ripe for service and quality inconsistency. If I had to rent a house (or room in a true bed & breakfast), would prefer to do it directly.

    Am happy to play the hotel status (and branded credit card) game, the rules are known (and usually followed) by all. But have never rented from Airbnb and don’t plan to.

  26. For hosts to be able to cancel reservations when high demand might give them more profit is a bad policy. This has just happened to us even though the reservation was made and paid for months ago.
    I prefer the relative consistency I can expect from a hotel and avoid booking airbnbs.

  27. I would never use Airbnb again, first time experience was horrible, dirty and the pictures on the listing looks nicer than it is, we had no heating, no hot water, demanded a partial refund but Airbnb complaints procedure was even more shocking to deal with. They allow hosts to make all the decisions and the guests have no say. Taking my complaints to the ombudsman although Airbnb claims they have no regulator.. we shall see about this hey!

  28. This sounds like, in all honesty, like a very U.S-centric view. That’s fine, of course, but the heading presented this as a much broader frame of advice.

  29. Airbnb is not for me. Seems to be a cult following I think it’s cool to mention Airbnb any chance they get. I do most of my traveling in Mexico and other such places in general and can normally do much better in a small locally owned hotel. Many places the airbnbs are operated by expats looking to suck her in other expats and outrageous prices for the area.

  30. Years ago we stayed in some great AirBnBs around the world. Nowadays the greed and selfishness makes me recoil and I’d prefer to camp out!

    Don’t charge me close to $1000 a night and email me the day before we exit (while I’m trying to squeeze the last little bits out of a 4 day holiday in amongst Covid craziness as a front line healthworker) and tell me to strip the beds, leave the dirty linen in a particular place, take out all our garbage and leave by 10am coz the cleaner comes at 1030!

    Rude, selfish, greed. Have some manners and respect for hard-working people who need a break, not a taskist.

    2 thumbs down for AirBnB.

  31. As an airbnb host…if things like this stress you out, don’t use airbnb. It’s not for you. Guests like this just make our lives harder. Stay I the hotel and get on with your life

  32. We recently stayed in Mexico and three different AirBnB’s in two weeks. All three were SuperHosts. ALL three fell *VERY* short of sparkling clean and basic amenities, in regards to the kitchen areas. I really wish guests would leave better reviews for future travelers, rather than “great location”, “nice host”; literally helps NO ONE when deciphering on what AirBnB to stay at.

    AirBnB needs to get better at standards for SuperHosts and reviews! It’s very inconsistent.

  33. I have also had to break yo with airbnb, they basically facilitate hosts being able to get over on guests and make plenty of money as a company while doing so. has become my new friend for extended stays in apartment style accommodations. Glad of Matt’s declaration…maybe Airbnb will figure out a way to be a decent company if enough people pivot away from them and affect their bottom line.

  34. AirBnB should have stuck to their original format – spare room in owner occupied home. Cut out the greedy landlord types who let their properties get filthy.

  35. I am an Airbnb Host. I provide a very clean studio cottage, water, snacks, easy breakfast items. I also don’t put a plastic cover over thermostat. I also give my guests flexible check in which means they can check in any time they want on their arrival..
    Yes I have house rules just like a hotel does. I allow pets .
    I am tired of seeing articles on how bad Airbnb is. Yes, there are some bad ones , 99.9% are Hosts who care about the quality of their Airbnb business.

  36. When I stayed at a few Airbnb’s, pros and cons, most don’t probably clean after the people before you come, and one place had a broken stove, electric I had fixed and told the woman, took pictures as we entered the property everytime. You just have to for your sake and the one renting to you. I mean telling you tri pay for cleaning yet telling ro to do this that and the other when you leave or be charged and Airbnb never replied back about this ever once! And these places are 1000s a week or more. Like there is no guidelines or minimum or max, the smallest place I paid the most, the other ones same issues, broken this broken that I mean seriously! Does Airbnb physically go to these places and say this is safe that is so on. And charge you electric fees over a certain amount during a week like… omg! If you go over this you pay 30$ extra per day and want cash at hand when we left. Suspect! And like the one guy, they blocked off things so you couldn’t touc them to exclude them from charging you so you’re stuck with an extra bill for no reason, boot sure about other places but Cape Coral, Sanibel, same scenario, even the people you speak with are like well, we don’t live in the states, and supposedly have ppl come clean, like who comes up with the pricing for these places anyways? Hotels are just a gamble itself, but you sure won’t be getting overcharged for a stay and extra for nonsense. I believe there is really no guideline for Airbnb which is goin g to be their downfall. Not all but most of them crooks trying to make a buck!

  37. I think they should drop the “Reagan” part of the name at Washington “National” Airport or else put it at the end of the name, after “National” such as: Washington National “Reagan” Airport. I’m also with Amy Fisher and her thoughts on the Tappan Zee Bridge and LAS Airport’s name. Harry Reid was a pain in the butt to deal with. Name the North Las Vegas Airport after him!

  38. The ongoing Abb and Vacation Rental vs hotel debate cracks me up. Most travellers prefer one over the other. They’re each set up to cater to the needs of travellers. Stay where you like, stay where you’re comfortable. Stay where you receive good value. Why do some travellers think that they should bad-mouth the other side? There’s no right nor wrong here, it’s all a matter of what floats your boat.

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