Airbnb Review [2024]: Still Worth it for Budget Travelers?

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Airbnb Review [2024]: Still Worth it for Budget Travelers?
One of the biggest names in the travel room rental game is Airbnb. It offers countless places to stay worldwide and has a reputable name. But is it the best choice? Let's see if Airbnb can still beat its competitors in today's market.
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You want a nice place to lay your head at the end of a long day of adventuring. While the party environment of a hostel can be enticing, sometimes you want your own space. Whether you're visiting a city for a night or a while, rental properties can be a good alternative to expensive private hotel rooms. 

While Airbnb isn't typical to the traditional travel deal websites out there, it's effectively a place to source travel deals for accommodations.

One way to have your own space to work or play is by renting via Airbnb. Since the establishment of Airbnb, other room rental sites like Vacasa and Homestay have popped up. But how does the original household name of room rentals hold up in today's market?

Before booking an Airbnb, let's look at everything you need to know, from how it works to whether it's worth it.

Airbnb logo
Photo by Airbnb.com

What is Airbnb? 

Airbnb is a platform founded in 2008 that lets property owners rent out rooms or entire properties to travelers worldwide. 

While the company's name stands for Air Bed and Breakfast, properties aren't required to come with breakfast or additional amenities. It operates as a peer-to-peer service, and each property varies in style and quality. Because of this, you can find unique gems that you might not find on other sites.

How does Airbnb work?

  1. As a traveler, you can search through Airbnb's extensive listings by visiting their homepage and choosing a location and preferred date. 
  2. You'll receive a list of available properties in your selected location with their nightly costs. 
  3. To narrow the search, use the filter to choose if you prefer to rent a private room or an entire property. You can sometimes even book a big house for multiple people if you're traveling with others!
  4. You can apply even more filters and input the number of guests, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you'd like, your price range, the property type you want, and the amenities you wish to have available.
  5. Once you find something interesting, click on it for more details, like information on where you'll sleep, additional amenities available, and check-in times. You can also scroll through past reviews of people who have stayed there and see if it's a good fit.
  6. When you find a property you like, input your chosen dates and then reserve the property!
  7. You can also contact the host if you have any questions. After reserving the property, you'll be able to communicate with the host about any questions. 

However, it's understandable that these types of accommodation might not be for everybody. If you'd prefer to stay in a hostel-style dorm, head to Hostelworld!

What is Airbnb Superhost?

In addition to reading reviews on the property, you can also check out the host. Some hosts have a badge next to their name, indicating they're a Superhost. This earned status happens when they continually receive ratings of 4.8/5 overall from guests. 

Where can you stay in an Airbnb?

Airbnb has listings in over 200 countries, so you're likely to find listings in most places. While bigger cities tend to have the most options, there are camping properties and private rooms in smaller towns. 

Now, if you want more bang for your buck, why not consider traveling to a budget location this year?

Screenshot of Airbnb site
Photo by Oberon Copeland @veryinformed.com on Unsplash

How to contact Airbnb

In general, Airbnb prefers that you engage directly with your host. You can message your host through Airbnb or call them using the app. 

If you can't get in touch with your host, you can contact Airbnb customer service through its messaging system, an automated response service.

Airbnb also has a Help Center with frequently asked questions, which is a good resource for first-time users. If you have any direct feedback for Airbnb after your stay, you can also submit that online. 

Airbnb long-term rentals

If you're hoping to try out the digital nomad lifestyle, you may want a place of your own to get work done. 

Some Airbnb properties allow you to rent for longer than a typical vacation. You can do this directly online, or you may have to reach out to the host for more details. What's great about longer stays compared to short-term rentals is that they usually come at a discounted rate. 

But if Airbnb doesn't have rentals that float your boat, check out these 10 Airbnb alternatives for travelers!  

Benefits of using Airbnb

One of the biggest draws of using Airbnb is finding unique properties. You can stay in a bungalow, tree house, themed rental, or even a hobbit hole! You can also get to know your host, and if you're staying in a private room, you might make a new connection! 

Airbnbs can also offer you more flexibility, especially if you stay long-term. With its sheer volume of properties, you can find one with a kitchen or workspace to make yourself more comfortable.

What are the downsides of using Airbnb?

Like many rental sites, Airbnb isn't perfect. Several reports of travelers arriving at their Airbnb only to find it doesn't exist or that the photos weren't accurate. Sometimes, you may not get along with the host if you've rented a private room. 

What's more, Airbnb isn't always the cheapest option. While nightly rates can be reasonable, there are often additional charges, such as cleaning fees. These charges can sometimes almost double the cost of the rental. 

Interior of cabin in the woods
Photo by Nachelle Nocom on Unsplash

Airbnb experiences

Even if you don't find somewhere to stay through Airbnb, you can still use it during your travels. Hosted by locals, Airbnb Experiences are unique and fun opportunities you can try in the city you're visiting. This could be a cooking class, walking tour, workshops, or more.

I once used Airbnb Experiences to learn to bake pastel de natas in Lisbon, and it was worth every euro! 

Is Airbnb worth it?

Whether you're hoping to stay in town for one night, or months, Airbnb is worth consulting before you travel. The variety of what's available makes it perfect for all travelers and means you can find budget-friendly properties that perfectly suit your needs.

While budget-friendly Airbnbs exist, checking any additional fees is essential to ensure you don't get sticker shock. In some cities, their rates may be similar to hotels. If being budget-friendly is key to your travels, you can also use other budget-friendly rental sites

The biggest concerns of Airbnb are the risk of staying with someone you don't know and scams. The ability to read reviews of the property can help with this. Still, it's a good idea to trust your gut with any reservations.

Our rating: 4.3/5 

Pros: 

  • Lots of options
  • Available around the world
  • Short-term and long-term availability
  • Airbnb Experiences

Cons:

  • Not always the most budget-friendly
  • Risk of scams
  • Not a lot of customer support
3 people drinking wine at gathering
Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash

Plan your next trip with Pilot

Even if you don't use Airbnb for your next vacation, finding a place to stay is vital to organizing your trip. Once you have booked your accommodation, you'll want to keep all your plans in one place, and thats where Pilot comes in handy. 

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Pilot is a social trip planner to discover and build travel itineraries connecting you to resources everywhere, for free. Pilot makes it fun and easy to create and share your favorite travel moments.

Collaborate stress-free with your travel companions and have all the features you need all in one place with Pilot. It’s completely free and ready for you to try it out now!

Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our community. We may earn a small commission fee with affiliate links on our website. All reviews and recommendations are independent and do not reflect the official view of Pilot.

Miriam Jaffe Blog
Written by:
Miriam Jaffe
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