Is Airbnb Safe?
Since its inception in 2008, Airbnb has provided local accommodation for over 150 million travelers, across more than 191 countries. It has secured its position as the most popular alternative to hotel accommodation, and has become a globally recognized brand.
Part of Airbnb’s appeal for travelers, whether for business or leisure, has been its accessibility.
With so many sites across so many locations, you are almost guaranteed to find accommodation, no matter where you’re travelling to. You can also often find accommodation that is much closer to your chosen destination than a hotel, saving you time, money, and hassle.
Perhaps the biggest factor, however, is the pricing. Renting a room using Airbnb is almost always cheaper than renting a hotel room, although there a couple of notable exceptions — Austin, Texas in the United States and Barcelona in Spain both see significantly higher prices for Airbnb rooms than hotels. However, as a general rule, Airbnb rates are easier on your wallet than a hotel.*
Unfortunately, the nature of Airbnb’s “hosting” services comes with security concerns. Hotels around the world are going to be subject to a range of regulations and health and safety policies, and whilst the standards of those regulations will vary from country to country, they offer a level of protection that Airbnb does not.
Airbnb does not require hosts to prove the safety or security of their listed sites. They do conduct certain background checks, which you can find on their website, but these are limited, which can make it difficult to get an informed and accurate picture of your hosts, and certainly makes it difficult to verify the state of your potential accommodation.
Because the measures Airbnb have put in place are not exhaustive — and they certainly cannot be expected to be exhaustive — we would recommend to only book with Airbnb hosts that have been reviewed often, and reviewed positively. Although this will not provide you with a guarantee of a safe host and safe accommodation, it is a very important step in the right direction.
Airbnb isn’t going to be dropping out of the marketplace anytime soon. Their user base continues to grow, and there will never be a shortage of travelers looking out for cheaper accommodation alternatives. However, whilst their service is undeniably convenient, and provides a unique insight into the life and culture of a destination, using Airbnb does not come without issues of safety and security.
Ultimately, Airbnb is only ever going to be as safe as you make it to be — your research and preparation will be the real determining factors in your ability to travel safely using Airbnb.
If you would like to know more about how we are enabling anyone, anywhere, to travel safely, or would be interested in Travel Safety eLearning, then visit www.etravelsafety.com, and sign up for news and information about our upcoming Travel Safety eLearning app, and be the first to get hold of it when it launches.
*This is a general statement — rates for both hotels and Airbnb will fluctuate wherever you go. Make sure you check and compare rates before you book your accommodation.