My rants: Why I hate Airbnb

My rants: Why I hate Airbnb flat balcony house

Hard to imagine a better deal when traveling! Stay at flats of locals, discover how they live and enjoy your trip to the fullest. All this alone does not make up any reason why one should hate Airbnb. But I have one…oh wait – I have actually more reasons to hate Airbnb! And do you know what is the catch? I have not ever tried it!

How Airbnb works

If you go to Airbnb website, you can find 3 idiot proof steps to your next Airbnb stay.

  1. Explore where you want to go. Ever fancied staying in an igloo? (eh, igloo?) Airbnb can make this happen. The more traditional lodgings include either entire homes or rooms in shared flats.
  2. Choose the dates, pay for your stay and get excited for your trip.
  3. Reach your booked destination and feel at home.

Don’t take me wrong, I am a huge fan of sharing economy. I still cannot forget the experience of taking a random car lift from Zrce beach to the city instead of paying for overpriced bus service provided by the municipality of Novalja. You can read about my awful experience in Zrce beach here.

The biggest truth about Airbnb is that it has totally become a business. A sort of an online marketplace to advertise spare flats and rent them out for a shorter term to foreigners visiting your lovely city instead of letting it to locals to inhabit them.

apartment interior nice flat room

Airbnb in Budapest has nothing to do with finding out how the locals live, unless you are really interested in seeing the pipework or IKEA furniture. Sad, but true. Because many of these flats (and before you crucify me, I admit there are some flats that are all year long inhabited by people and they just let it when they go for a holiday or so) are used to just have tourists stay in them and locals never did. But it is still a convenient alternative to a uniform and sterile environment of a hotel room. Probably it is also cheaper.

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Just do not get deceived, do not think that the nicely polished flats in the direct city centre are something the locals would be able to live in. Not that they would not want to, but because the rents in e.g. V. district of Budapest, next to Basilica are extremely high and the salaries are…much lower.

So if somebody ever lived in the flat before you, it was most probably an expat. Or the flat used to be an office. Or it used to be a gigantic flat that got split in two smaller ones with very thin walls. (i.e. your neighbours can hear everything you say)

But all this is an individual taste and a matter of preference and itself it does not make up a reason for me to hate Airbnb. What does then?

Like your neighbours? Hate Airbnb.

Now you know that Airbnb is a pure business with a touch of sharing economy, but only a slight one. But did you ever try imagining how Airbnb is detrimental to neighbour relationships? So with Airbnb, there are basically none. If you live in a city centre, you can get quite unlucky that the flat that you stay in can be neighbouring an Airbnb flat.

If you live in Hungary, the chances of that are even higher as a lot of the flats in the V. district are owned by foreigners or by Hungarians living abroad and they need to capitalize on the investment made.

Ever happened to you that you needed a bit of salt/flour/egg/nails/duct tape/whatever comes to your mind in the evening when the shops were closed or on Sunday (when pretty much everything is closed in Hungary)? And the only solution was to try at the neighbour’s?

With Airbnb, you can be pretty sure that they will have a fridge full of booze, but for sure no flour. A moment to hate Airbnb.

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Also, imagine going for holiday and you need somebody to water your flowers and pick up your mail so that it does not appear to the burglars that you are gone. Whom do you ask? Friends living in another part of the city with a sky rocket career and no free time or your neighbour for whom it should be a much smaller bother? And what if your neighbours are just Airbnb peeps? They will change multiple times during the time of your absence and you do not want to let random strangers to enter your flat to water your precious flowers, right? You might equally entrust a local homeless guy and you have a bigger certainty that he will be there after you return rather than the Airbnb folks.

Slippery bathroom and call for help

And imagine that something would happen to you, for example you slip in the bathroom and cannot move, reaching out to your phone is out of the question, so the only way is to call for help – by calling out loud in hope that somebody hears it. Airbnb folks usually came to visit the city and not spend the entire stay in the flat, so it might get quite tricky to be able to get heard and rescued.

staircase hate airbnb dark snail

And you live here?

And my biggest freak out is that Airbnb goers do not really know the safety rules of the house and none of the people they share the temporary home with, so they easily let into the house strangers in belief they live there. A practice that can lead to serious crimes from thefts up to murders (do not want to stress you, but these US statistics look a bit terrifying).

Conclusion to all my ranting

Dear Airbnb, I hate you, but at the same time, I love the idea!! Would there be a way to expand on it and enable the neighbours to meet with the Airbnb clients (who btw are really shy and often do not even answer a simple greeting) to befriend locals staying in the house? All in all, it might enrich them even more than staying in these tourist designed flats? It might actually benefit both of the sides involved!

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Dear Airbnb folks, please do not forget you are not alone in the house and even though you might be heavily enjoying your well deserved holiday, pretty please keep the noise down as you stay in a habitation house where people have to get up in the morning to go to work. Also, please keep an eye on whom you let in to the building and greet back to the people especially when they greet you first. That simple it is.

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13 Comment

  1. Great post, thanks for linking up to #justanotherlinky x

  2. Never heard of this before! Interesting post to read.
    thank you for linking up with #justanotherlinky

  3. Oh, I love Airbnb. However, as a neighbor living next to an Airbnb flat, I get what you are saying. Not everyone is going to respect your neighbors and that is a shame. Airbnb does allow the host to rate renters though, so maybe the bad ones will get rejected by the hosts. It’s tricky balance.

    1. I will try soon 🙂 And I read that Airbnb wants to change policy to be a bit more of sharing economy rather than a long term rental.

  4. You raise some very valid points. I blogged about rental houses the other day.

    1. I was very surprised to see that Airbnb is now thinking of changing its policies to prevent exactly what I was writing about. I am not sure whether to account my blog for these upcoming changes, but for sure it made me happy as the rents in Budapest are going incredibly high and the offer is limited as many flats are used for Airbnb in long term.

  5. Interesting thoughts. We are using Airbnb for our first time when we go to Paris next year. The place we stayed was recommended by a friend so I’m hoping we have a positive experience!

    1. Same here, I am going to try Airbnb next week. It kind of did not feel right ranting about it without trying it. Have a good trip to Paris!

  6. I hadn’t heard of Airbnb before this, but I now I know I won’t be staying at one. I have rented cottages and guest houses that have the owners on the premises, which makes me feel comfortable.

    1. I understand what you mean. It is sometimes really better to have somebody to turn to especially when you are staying in a foreign city.

  7. GirlAstray says: Reply

    I had a very similar (negative!) feeling towards airbnb until I tried it. I still don´t like it much (the app is just HUGE and takes up too much space, besides they ask you to verify or whatever stuff…) but it was the best option for us when staying in Istanbul; since all the couchsurfers (I love CS!) were booked, we got a room in a flat of a really nice girl and than another room in a flat of some expats and we had a lot of fun with them. We shared food and stories and it was overall a very good experience.

    1. I am happy you had a nice time staying in an Airbnb shared flat. I actually tried Airbnb before Christmas in Prague and was really surprised that it is really such a big business. The appartment where we stayed was probably inhabited many years ago, it was nice, but you could not see that it would be somebody’s home, because it was not.

  8. I used to rent out the spare room in my flat in Budapest on Airbnb a couple of years ago (I live in the XI District, so probably attracted a different crowd to those in the V or VII), but I was always there and people treated it like visiting their friends rather than a guest. It’s the same when I travelled and stayed at an Airbnb, I personally prefer to rent someone’s spare room and have a local (I usually travel alone) to hang out with. But you’re right, the Airbnb market in Budapest has tilted more towards renting luxury flats than having people make a bit of money on the side by renting a spare room, which is sad.

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