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Why I No Longer Use Airbnb When I Travel And What I’m Using Instead

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Airbnb, once known for being an incredible and innovative platform for finding unique accommodations around the world, has fallen from grace with many travelers.

Travelers are tired of exorbitant service fees and cleaning fees, ridiculous rules, misleading listings, missing amenities, and inconsistent quality.

Here's why I gave up on Airbnb and what I'm using to book my travel accommodations instead:

woman working on laptop outside

Why I Quit Using Airbnb

As a frequent traveler and digital nomad, I had a great experience using Airbnb to book private apartments for stays of anywhere from one week to one month in many destinations around the world.

But around the end of 2021, I started noticing a sharp decline in the quality of my Airbnb experiences.

I found myself dealing with uncommunicative hosts and apartments that didn't live up to the listing photos. Once, I checked in to an Airbnb, only to find it hadn't been cleaned at all after the previous guest left, and the WiFi wasn't working. It took hours of contacting Airbnb support to get this resolved.

Frustrated Customer

Not only that, but Airbnb, which once offered great deals and value on short-term apartment rentals, was no longer an economical option thanks to sky-high fees.

What I Use To Book Accommodations Instead

After I quit using Airbnb in 2022, I switched to booking almost all of my accommodations through Booking.com instead. In some situations, I also book direct with hotel chains.

As a frequent Booking.com user, I've found the platform to be much better than Airbnb for a number of reasons.

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Booking.com App

Why I Love Booking.com

Booking.com is not just for hotels. The booking platform also has a great selection of apartment rentals, much like Airbnb.

The difference is that with Booking.com, many of these are serviced apartments and “aparthotels.” You get the privacy and amenities of an apartment but with added hotel benefits like a real reception desk and housekeeping services.

I almost always book these types of properties for my longer stays now.

Hands placing fresh towels on bed

You can choose to view the total price upfront for listings on Booking.com, so you won't be surprised by any additional fees when you go to check out.

You can also filter the search results in many ways on Booking.com to find exactly what you're looking for. One thing I always do is filter results by properties that have an average rating of 9/10 or higher.

Another great reason to use Booking.com is because of its Genius program. This free loyalty program offers great perks like extensive discounts and free breakfast or room upgrades at many properties.

Unlike many loyalty programs, once you unlock a new Level with the Genius program, you retain it for life rather than having to maintain a certain number of stays per year.

woman in a hotel

Booking Direct With Hotel Chains

For short stays of just a few days to a week, I often stay in hotels rather than an apartment. While Booking.com is great for booking unique boutique and independent hotels, there's another good option too, and that's booking directly with hotel chains.

Hotel chains like Marriott, Hilton, and IHG offer discounts if you book directly rather than using a third-party booking platform.

Marriott Bonvoy Mobile Application

You'll also be able to earn points on your stay, which can be redeemed for free hotel nights later on.

Hotels typically work out to be cheaper for short trips compared to Airbnb, according to NerdWallet, and you can expect a more consistent level of service and quality. You won't have to worry about spending your vacation dealing with an Airbnb host who's late to show up or an Airbnb that's missing amenities that were promised in the listing.

Both of these Airbnb alternatives have made my life of frequent travel much easier and smoother since making the switch.

Woman in Hotel Room

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


K

Thursday 17th of August 2023

Good for you for switching to Booking.Com. I'll never use them again. I was overcharged by a host. A one night stay that should have been $162 resulted in $562 being taken from my credit card. After at least 30 messages with Booking.Com. Nothing has been done. They have well trained customer service people who make you feel like they are addressing their issue, but Booking.COM does nothing. Worse yet. There are reviews on their sites about that same person who scammed me and they are still allowing that listing on thier site. No more Booking.Com. I will also never use AirbnB. Strictly direct hotel bookings for me.

Gilly Platt

Wednesday 9th of August 2023

An interesting read, I really hope you don’t get scammed my Booking.com - we did. We went to an apartment in Basingstoke for the weekend and the place looked like some kind of squat, we really expected someone to walk in from another room it was so lived in. It had dirty unmade beds, a broken chair and dirty coffee mugs lying around. We couldn’t get hold of the owner or Booking.com for a few days as they didn’t answer the phone or emails, eventually we got hold of B.C but they refused to give us a refund as they’d already paid it to the owner and we broke our contract by not staying there.

We’ve lost £500 and they were of no help at all. On the internet there’s hundreds of cases saying similar stuff, I hope you don’t get this. We’d never use them again! Gilly

K

Thursday 17th of August 2023

@Gilly Platt, True Gilly. Booking.Com is not a hospitality site. It's just a listing site. They don't care what happens after money has been transferred.

Travel Meow

Tuesday 8th of August 2023

Booking.com is good for research, easy cancel, make good use of genius discounts.

Once I find hotel I like, then I register with them directly in the future, and usually offered promotions and discounts.

Highly recommend HotelesMX and CityExpress (Mexico) some locations, they are cheaper than airbnb!

also Hotel Principe and Best Western Zen (Panama City)

Vahagn

Tuesday 8th of August 2023

You will use booking till the first problem case when you try to contact their support with no luck. They never answer. Their phones are always "busy" and they reply to your messages in couple of days with a standart tezt with sorry. So go to hell with this paid post to advertise booking. They have 0 support for their users, even with genius level 3.

Airbnb is more expensive but I had many cases where I needed their support and they were always helpful.

Gilly Platt

Wednesday 9th of August 2023

@Vahagn, yes I agree with you totally about B.C. Whereas my daughters have always found Airbnb very helpful if there’s any issues

Mohan

Monday 7th of August 2023

I have used Booking.com for years for hotels, homes, apartments etc and mostly completely satisfied without paying any booking fee, without giving credit card details and free cancellations most of the times. Also enjoyed Genius discounts and rewards with good service.