This is an interesting topic to me. My husband and I have vastly different opinions about it! We’ve likely tried Airbnb at least 20 times and the experiences have all varied.
On the plus side, I love the fact that most locations are in the local communities of the cities you’re visiting, which gives you a real sense of how “the locals live”. Being away from the touristy areas gives you the real flavor of a city – even though you’re a tourist, too!
Many of the locations have been perfect. The accommodations lived up to the listing descriptions and images. In a few cases, the location exceeded expectations. During our trip to Cuba we rented an Airbnb and it was one of the best experiences we’ve had at a short-term rental…hands down!
Another plus, and in my opinion, the biggest advantages of short-term rentals, is the price! We’ve saved a ton. During all of our stays, there was no comparison in the price compared to staying at a hotel. The other savings – food and drinks. We typically stock up on food and beverages from grocery stores, which again, is a major cost savings.
On the flip side, we’ve had our womp-womps, too! A couple of spots really didn’t live up to the listings. It was clear a professional photographer was used to make the spaces look extra large (they used the mirror trick!) and picture perfect. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we found the spaces to be a huge disappointment – think hole-in-a-wall.
We’ve also experienced the “hidden fees” that weren’t clearly outlined in a listing. In that instance we had no choice but to pay the fees, which were outrageous.
So, we’ve had our fair share of pluses and minuses, but in the end, I think they’re worth it. My husband…not so much! It really comes down to personal preference.
I think short-term rentals are a great option that can be used to experience different countries and cities more affordably. You can find some real gems that are off the beaten path. You also have to recognize that they all may not be “as advertised” – that’s the chance you take, I suppose. My recommendation - read the reviews and ask the owners questions - that’ll help you make an informed decision.