To AirBNB Or Not To AirBNB?

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We are now a family of four and while we still rack up the hotel points, we are finding that we prefer having vacation destinations with all the amenities. A small hotel room just doesn’t cut it for us any more. Amenities such as a kitchen with dishwasher and multiple bedrooms are very desired by the Weekly Flyer family when Toddler and Baby Weekly Flyer make the trip with us.

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To AirBNB Or Not To AirBNB?

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So, what do we do?

If we can confirm a suite either with status, or with upgrade certs, then a hotel might be the way to go for us. But, more often than not we are having to look to other options like AirBNB and Homeaway to book larger spaces when we travel with the little ones.

Over the last several months, we have booked both ways, here are our experiences:

AirBNB: we recently booked a week long stay at the beach. AirBNB’s site is really great and easy to use. The host had to approve us, which was kinda nice; it made you feel more confident in your reservation. AirBNB is flexible in that they offer different room types, as an example, entire home, a room or even shared rooms. Once we were approved for the reservation, it was super easy to pay for our stay. There was a cleaning fee but, that is pretty standard. There was not a deposit and no mailing of checks involved, just a simple plug in your credit card number here. Overall, the process of booking was incredibly seamless. If you haven’t tried AirBNB, you can get $20 off first reservation to use for travel.

The house we rented was exactly as pictured with all the amenities that you would expect. The host had a property manager who was available for help 24 hours. It was fantastic and we will definitely keep using AirBNB.

HomeAway: we also recently did a quick weekend to the mountains and booked using HomeAwayIt worked out very well but, I had to talk to the owner on the phone to pay for the trip vs being able to pay online. I think that this may have been specific to the homeowner because it looks like Homeaway does have an online payment option. The house we rented was also really nice and there was a property manager here as well. We did have to pay a security deposit and then after we checked out wait to receive the money back via check. A little annoying but, not too bad.

Bottom Line 

For us, having a family means needing more space to feel comfortable while on vacation. We will continue to use AirBNB and HomeAway depending on which has a better house, with better availability for the best rate. I am very comfortable with both options but, with our most recent 2 stays, the AirBNB booking was a little more seamless because of ease with payment.


Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Part of the similarity factor between hotels and hotel-operated timeshares (such as Hilton Grand Vacations, Hyatt Residence Club etc) is that the latter provides housekeeping service, etc just like hotels. I assume for AirBNB, because it’s someone’s house/apartment, such daily/biweekly service doesn’t exist? And you’re expected to bring your own towels/sheets etc? Thx in advance – we’re also exploring this avenue, as a family of four.

  2. Hi Jim, We did not have to bring our own linens nor wash them after we were done. Any housekeeping services (during the stay) were offered as a separate charge and not included in the AirBNB rental. But, I’m sure that the host could arrange for that since they already have the contact with the housekeeping service for when you leave. Since it was a house it had the added amenity of a washer and dryer too which also comes in very handy during a week vacation to the beach! Thanks for the questions.

  3. Maybe you were not aware, but Airbnb charges booking fees of up to 12% which can be hundreds of dollars for a week long rental. HomeAway and VRBO don’t charge this fee so we usually go with them. I’ll filter for only properties that can be booked online so that I can pay with a credit card. And, sometimes the same house/apartment is listed on all 3 sites!

  4. +1 to Eric’s comment. I’ve used HomeAway for years and been very happy with it. I started using Airbnb recently and I booked a property that came up in a search near my parents’ house in Florida (Thanksgiving vacation). Once I booked and paid, the real address came up and it is nowhere near them. I canceled immediately but found out about the fees the hard way. You book with Airbnb and there are nonrefundable fees even though I canceled months ahead of time. It doesn’t go to the owner, it goes to Airbnb. Anyway, since I had recently booked several Airbnb’s, I tweeted them, told them I was unhappy about the fee & the incorrectly advertised location and they refunded the fee but I am now very wary when I book Airbnb!

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