Airbnb was founded in 2008 and is headquartered in San Fransisco. Airbnb has lodging available in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries. Airbnb is unique in the fact that it offers vacation homes as well as the ability to rent out simply a private or a shared bedroom in someone’s home. AirBed & Breakfast was originally created for a unique business networking opportunity for those who were unable to book a hotel in an oversaturated market. The founders started by creating a bed and breakfast in their San Francisco apartment because they could not afford the rent. They would accommodate three guests in their living room on air mattresses and provide them a homemade breakfast. It started as a simple idea, but now their website includes so much more. Not only can people book a shared room, but also they can book their own private rooms or choose to rent out an entire private home.

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The Good

  • Great options
  • Easy to use
  • Mobile app

Traditional vacation booking sites try to get users to book as many accommodations on their site as possible. In this attempt, several travel sites provide the exact same services without providing anything unique to the traveler. Fortunately, there are platforms like Airbnb that make up the difference. Rather than spreading efforts thin to obtain as many reservations as possible, Airbnb solely focuses on their accommodation booking service.

Airbnb has a variety of options for vacation homes. Airbnb has over one million listed vacation rental spots so you know you can find a place in your desired location. Here is how you know:

  • Over 1.5 million listings
  • Lodging in over 34,000 cities
  • Available in 190 countries
  • Over 1,400 rentals in castles
  • Convenient search options to find your perfect place

Airbnb makes it easy to find your vacation location by giving easy search features. These features include searching by price range, room type, amenities, property types and verified hosts. Keep in mind, some hosts are not verified so look for lodging that has a super host badge, which indicates that the vacation rental is verified.

Additionally, Airbnb is a great place to find the cheapest pricing. Since you can rent an entire house or just one single room, you are guaranteed to find a cheap rental if you are okay with renting out just a single room. Airbnb also includes features such as reviews from previous tenants, pictures of the host, and customer guarantees.

Airbnb is also focused on convenience. They offer quite a few options so can have the best experience while booking your vacation rental. These features include:

  • A mobile app for easy booking on the go (compatible with iOS and Android)
  • Instant booking features once you have an account
  • Popularity information such as "This place is typically completely booked"

Most importantly, Airbnb has a great 24 hour customer service line that is there to support you if you have any issues with your vacation rental. Airbnb also withholds the payment of hosts until 24 hours after check-in this means your vacation rental is a secure investment. Airbnb will refund you if you have any issues with your rental such as appearance, overlapped bookings, amenities, or if you are unable to access your vacation rental.

The Bad

  • Additional fees
  • Time consuming
  • Varied cancellation policies

Airbnb goes out of its way to make sure each guest has a positive experience while booking his or her vacation rental. However, these guarantees are costly and in order to pay for that service Airbnb charges an additional 6-12% fee for each booking. Depending upon the price of your rental, a 12% booking fee could significantly change your cost. This is especially a problem if you are booking a high-cost luxury rental.

Since Airbnb has millions of properties for travelers to choose from, finding the right accommodation can take some time. To minimize the research process, Airbnb instituted a sorting tool. This feature allows users to filter based on the following criteria:

  1. Pricing (range or low to high, high to low)
  2. Guest star rating - based on what real customers have experienced
  3. Amenities - what is included in the property
  4. Proximity - distance to landmarks or airports
  5. Type - accommodation type whether it is condo, apartment, house, etc.

Additionally, cancellation policies are decided directly by the host. Airbnb does not have a policy to assist travellers with last minute cancellations and the host chooses the terms of each cancellation. This means travellers should be cautious of cancellation policies when booking, make sure to make a note of the deadline for a full refund. Keep in mind that if you are booking within a month or two of check-in you might not be able to cancel your reservation at all.

The Bottom Line

We would recommend Airbnb to any traveler as a great resource for low cost and convenient housing. Many of the posted vacation rentals have more amenities than a hotel, and for a much better price. Even though Airbnb has additional booking fees, their service makes it worth it. You know your vacation rental is going to be a good one. Travelers who book their accommodations through Airbnb can expect the following:

  1. Unique travel accommodations - stay in properties that would not otherwise be available
  2. Cut costs on large groups - split the costs per night to save money
  3. See the world - Airbnb has listings both in the U.S. and internationally
  4. Extra booking efforts required - travelers will need to book their flights and other travel necessities elsewhere
  5. Sorting tool - quickly filter through hundreds or even thousands of lodging options

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User Reviews

Star Rating


81 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 star
4 star
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Sentiment Criteria

Value for your money
Quality of product or service
Customer service
Company trustworthiness
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July 18th, 2015 Canoga Park, CA

Used airbnb in 3 different cities in Italy....all 3 were great!! ...In Venice... it was much better than expected... all hosts were wonderful... I will definitely use it again... in fact the only bad place I stayed in Europe was a hotel


Paola Ramirez

July 18th, 2015 Dallas, TX

I used Airbnb in 4 different countries in Europe. My second host was an hour late to my arrival, I called Airbnb and they made me feel safe and assured me if my host did not show up in the next hour they were going to get me another place to stay. My fourth host tottaly lied about her place, it was filthy and scary, of course I did not stayed there, after my arrival back home, Airbnb refunded me for the unpleasant and dirty place. I will recommended 100%. Safe and great customer service. A+


Kimberly Alberding

July 17th, 2015 Chicago, IL

The premiss of Airbnb's service is incredible. I will continue to rent through them until another company with an equally user friendly interface comes along. That being said, Airbnb's customer service is, in a word, despicable. When you are in a new city/country and having trouble with a listing they should be there to help- not there to make your already troubled stay even more difficult. I've found their customer service to be delayed in contact, stand offish, and sporadic in which policies they uphold/overlook. They over complicate every issue and make bad situations worse. I recommend always making bookings with a trusted credit card (Amex is mine) and know that you have a fall back plan when Airbnb screws you.


Jennifer Desmond

July 14th, 2015 New York, NY

I am an Airbnb host, and rent my property out multiple times per year. I have been hosting through Airbnb for several years, and up until recently was quite happy with them. In the past, they seemed responsive to host concerns (damage, etc...) but their policies have changed. I recently had a threatening tenant, who caused significant damage to my home, and they would not return calls, did not acknowledge my damage claims, and were wholly unresponsive. Considering that I have been a model host (and renter) for more than 7 years, I am now looking to switch my business to an agency where my home can be better protected, like VRBO


brigitte kalama

July 13th, 2015 Vallejo, CA

Recently we rented a property for three nights in Shell Beach. I contacted the host several times before arrival to confirm arrival and received no answer. Finally, when we were standing in front of the door the host told me that there was a "misunderstanding" and she expected us for the next day. I told her that there was no misunderstanding since I had the confirmed reservation in my hand. She told me that she might arrive at the property in one hour and then opted out to call us whenever she would arrive. When I mentioned this was not acceptable I was told that I had a "bad attitude". I have used Airbnb six different times in different countries and noone was this badly behaved. Airbnb's attitude didn't help. The first call for help was not acted upon and three hours later I got another representative who had to call the host to find out that she indeed had cancelled. We were offered up to $250 for another accommodation but it was not mentioned that it had to be with Airbnb. All those choices meant we had to drive again after a long day on the road. We found a motel and were reimbursed the full amount of the cancelled Airbnb property. I must say that Airbnb handling of the matter left a lot to be desired. It was also very difficult to get a hold of them. I will think twice before using Airbnb again. In addition the property was not as described online. The beach bungalow was in the middle of a high densiity neighborhood of old cottages in need of TLC and the street ended in a dead end and had no access to the beach. The outside of the "bungalow" was dilapidated and uninviting and certainly not worth the rent asked for. Does Airbnb inspect the places and realize how hyped up some places are and how greedy some people get?


Philip Ray

July 12th, 2015 Los Angeles, CA

Used in '14 Lake Tahoe. Had good fortune relative left me money in will and we wanted to take our adult kids 2 and wives and 2 teens ultimate family vacation. Tahoe was chosen as we could drive from So Cal and no air fair . We chosenLake Tahoe as We could kayak and skin dive in clear cold water and do adult activities gaming at Harrahs Harveys Mont Blu casinos. Tahoe kid friendly with arcade in Harveys. The large chalet with wifi and high end stainless Stella appliances and pool table foose ball and 3 TV s . It was Challet David you can check out airbnb . The communication seem less and we could email or call owner nice man Bay Area . This wasn't the cheapest rental but suited our needs and my wife who uses walker and somewhat handicapped. We will use in Hawaii on family trip to celebrate my grandson graduating High School. Your money's safe and very easy to take over property and check out .


Rebecca Hudson

July 11th, 2015 Greenville, SC

I am an Airbnb user, first as a guest, and now as a host. I have had mostly satisfactory experiences as a guest. One of my stays was not a good fit for me, and I left early, but at $15 a night, I didn't even ask for my money back. As a host, I provide a clean, safe, and comfortable place to stay at a price that is much lower than local hotels. I can't speak for everyone, but Airbnb has been good to me, all the way around, I've met some lovely people, and haven't had any guests who were dishonest or unpleasant.


Larry Coons

July 10th, 2015 Tampa, FL

I've used AirBnB all around the world since 2011. I have always had a delightful experience and have met the best people. No regrets and always feel safe and secure with all of the places.



July 9th, 2015 Malden, MA

I have nothing but great things to say about AIRBNB. I just got back from a 2 week trip to Italy and rented all 4 properties through AIRBNB......The people were great, the properties were great, the prices were amazing! I have absolutely NO REGRETS about using AIRBNB and can't wait to book my next trip. That is my personal experience, I can't speak for others. It was very easy...all the property listings matched the places we stayed. I made sure to read many/all reviews before booking a property, and always got a timely response. I am very happy with the service. Thank you so much!



July 8th, 2015 Redmond, OR

We are Airbnb hosts in Bend, Oregon. We offer 4 short-term rentals exclusively though Airbnb. We have tried other rental portals and Airbnb is by far the best for a number of reasons. One of the most important aspects of Airbnb is the verification of guests and hosts. We pretty much know who our guests are and why they are visiting. That's ultimately very important to us. Also, guests can see who we are. Other portals like VRBO do not have the same level of trust and we often got scammer inquiries. That does not happen with Airbnb or at least never has with us. We host between 200 - 250 guest booking per year and have never been scammed. Airbnb also really promotes reviews. Both from guests and hosts. We maintain a 5 Star rating from 80% to 95% of our guests and the remainder are 4 star. I would say that we leave 5 star reviews for 99% of our guests. Communication between guests and hosts is also highly encouraged and the vast majority of times will avert any issues or misunderstandings. We have never travelled through Airbnb so we don't have any personal experience in that regard. But the guests we have talked to really like the Airbnb experience as compared to other rental portals. So from a host perspective we give Airbnb very high marks. They are not perfect in every way but they are the best at what they do and continue to listen to both guests and hosts on ways to improve. Thanks for reading this review.



July 6th, 2015 Oak Park, CA

I booked an Airbnb in Santa Barbara last December for UCSB graduation weekend in June -- possibly the busiest Santa Barbara weekend of the year and the one in which hotels jack up their rates into the stratosphere. I felt very fortunate to find and book a 2-bedroom condo for 4 at a rate of $178.00 per night. One week prior to arrival the host cancelled, leaving me high and dry. An airbnb host can cancel at the last minute, and the guest, who has paid in full, has no recourse. After several tense hours of searching, I finally located a place for $134.00 more. All airbnb was willing to offer me was a $70.00 credit toward a future reservation. I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and ultimately received a refund of the additional $134.00. Airbnb is all about protecting the host, but does very little to help a guest, who has fully prepaid, when a host flakes out. That policy needs to change.


Sydney Proctor

July 5th, 2015 Oakland, CA

I am a superhost, and have been hosting guests since 2012. Airbnb has always been responsive and supportive. The only thing I would like to see them add is a hotel tax widget so the 11% room tax in Santa Cruz could be tracked and summarized at summer's end. It would make it easier for me to pay the city. My guests have all been fantastic! I have encountered great hosts and properties allong the way as I have traveled. Great company, great vallue!


[email protected]

July 5th, 2015 Great Bend, KS

We have our vacation rental home ~ Chalet Rio Hondo - Taos House listed with Airbnb as a Host and have had nothing but good luck with all aspects of renting to Airbnb folks. Their membership seems to attract or screen good quality home renters. From a Host's standpoint the Airbnb web site is accurate and user friendly (just do not try using in linked to Facebook).


Robin Whitburn

July 1st, 2015 Lady Lake, FL

I have loved being an airbnb host (2 properties) and guest since 2012. With about 50+ hostings with the company, I have never had a bad experience. I have only stayed as a guest a couple of times but it is now my preferred way to travel! Airbnb makes the process easy and streamlined. By being able to see all the reviews for either hosts or guests, I feel a very good level of trust and comfort with each booking that I agree to. I love airbnb!



July 1st, 2015 Albuquerque, NM

We used them in two different cities....Boston and NYC on vacation this summer and they both were great experiences. I was nervous but I think doing enough research was why we had great experience. I communicated with them before booking to getting a feel. I wouldn't stay with someone that had less than 20 reviews good or bad and lastly stay with someone who has all their verifications completed. We will use again I'm sure but again I know not everyone is the same. I loved this site....


SG Rawner

July 1st, 2015 Lompoc, CA

I stayed where the leaser of an apartment was a greedy user near a college in Los angeles; I paid for 3 nights, they threw my stuff out -on- -the- -street- on Day 2; the person the greedy leasee (notice I did not say owner) hired to clean spoke no English, the language we do business with in the U.S., and there were 5 people n a tiny living room; mine was aset of mattrasses on the floor. Buyer beware. When I called customer service so they could make it right, they kept handing me over to different people, and actually wound up doing nothing but wasting a lot of my time on the phone. AirBnB was so unfair, it makes me wonder how they are still in business.


Peggy Abby

June 30th, 2015 Federal Way, WA

I have been using AirBnB for over 2 years with nothing but positive experiences. I traveled through Europe last year for 3 months very nicley with only using them. Now I rent my home and have had the nicest people as guests. I just used htem for staying in Portalnd this last week successfully too! The staff has been very responsive and helpful the few times I have needed them. I couldn't be more pleased.


Vicki L.Hisaw

June 28th, 2015 Grass Valley, CA

Terrible refund policy. They will side with the party renting a room (regardless if they are lying) . Will NEVER use them again and will discourage others from doing so.



June 28th, 2015 Crescent City, CA

I have been an airbnb host for more than two years now. I have people staying with me in a small cottage I occupy. If guests think airbnb is unresponsive, try being a host! I have contacted them about a number of problems they have created for me, and each response has been platitudes about how great a host I am and no actual help. In the latest, they changed their calendar and removed my blocking three weeks in October so I can take a trip myself. I had to apologize to the guest trying to reserve the room during that time and re-block those weeks. I'm waiting for another rental site for those of us offering a private room in our homes, and I'll jump immediately. Bottom line: I work hard to please guests and airbnb doesn't care about me.


Jo S.P.

June 28th, 2015 Niagara Falls, NY

Hotels will be my last option from now on! The personal and positive experiences my husband and I have had (both hosting guests and staying as guests) have far surpassed even the most expensive and best hotel stay! As a host, I enjoy Airbnb "bringing the world to us." On any given week, we could host guests from Dubai one day, Bogata the next, Nepal the next, and Gary, Indiana the next. The cities/ countries are continually changing. I haven't had the opportunity to do much traveling overseas,so it's exciting to be able to sit with guests and listen to stories about their homeland from their perspective, not that of the media. We also have the opportunity to share the " best kept local secrets" with our guests. As a traveller, meeting other hosts and experiencing the wonderful travel tips they have to offer has been equally gratifying. Travelers should expect that staying in someone's home WILL BE very different than staying in a hotel. You are being invited into the host's home and therefore, you should do your homework prior to requesting a reservation. Things you should look for: house rules, the host's profile, reviews from past guests (I even went as far as sending an email to one of the previous guest's to ask a specific question and was SUPER glad I did!), check in and out times, and cancellation policy (which is at the sole discretion of the host, not Airbnb). As a host, I do the same thing. I ask a lot of questions such as: What are you coming into town for? Who will be traveling with you? What are your expectations for your stay (ie. Are you looking for total quiet, a party in our yard, lots of hiking trails, a place to gather with family)? The more I ask prior to accepting guests, the less surprises I expect. And just a note about cancellations from a host's perspective.....if I block out our apartment for you three months out, and you decide to cancel two days before, there's a good chance I will not be able to re-book the apartment and would be out a fair amount of money. There is a good chance I would have been able to get other bookings during the three months the dates were blocked. On the other hand, if you have a real emergency, I will work with you. All that being said, my husband and I just booked a cross country trip staying at 13 different Airbnb rentals along the way and we are looking forward to meeting our hosts, as much as we are to seeing the sites! Happy traveling!


Julie Ransom

June 27th, 2015 Marlton, NJ

I have been a host for six years. I have had a front row seat to experience the exponential growth of the company. This growth has come at a price. They have a severe shortage of customer service reps, they often launch new tools online without fully testing them, and unless it involves a small amount of money (under $100) they usually side with guests in a dispute. There are bad actors on both sides. Hosts who see those dollar signs and an easy way to make money but do not keep their properties clean, or are out and out trying to con people out of their money. There are guests that don't read the listing and expect an airbnb experience to be the same as staying at the Marriott around the corner. There are guests who rent as a means to scope out your place, to later come out and rob you. There are guests who shoot porno movies at an airbnb property. While these bad actors represent a very small minority, if you consider the millions of airbnb users, it is unfortunately inevitable that this should happen. I personally think airbnb should put on the brakes for all the marketing it is doing and focus on providing superlative customer service to both guests and hosts and to fix the many bugs in their web site so it's easier for everyone to use. As a host, airbnb has had a transformative effect on my life. When I started I was unemployed and rented one room out of my house so I could keep the lights on. Now, it's a full time, profitable business with three units I rent out. If you're a host, don't lie about your property, keep it clean, and cancel only when absolutely necessary. If you're a guest, have reasonable expectations and carefully read the description to make sure it's right for you. Both should vet the other and have a conversation prior to booking the space to make sure no one is strange/weird or a bad fit.


Gail W Armand

June 27th, 2015 Hilo, HI

I am a host and a guest. As a guest, the places I have stayed at have all been nicer than any hotel or resort in the same price range. The hosts have been friendly and helpful. It is possible to have ongoing dialogue with hosts before you go somewhere you have never been, and gain a better sense of how you would like to spend your time there. As a host, my goal is to offer our guests the best vacation experience they have ever had. Due to the nature of our guest house, most who stay are couples on their honeymoon. Their happiness is our happiness. Airbnb provides a platform where what we offer can be showcased, by reviews and through the wishlists our unique spot appears upon. It is closer to word-of-mouth than advertising. In the time I have been listed with Airbnb, there has been one guest who was opportunistic in his dealings with us and when he left, stole things from our house. Airbnb extended payment to me from their end for the items taken. Due to their culture of responsibility, this particular guest is unlikely to worm his way into another person's home and leave with their art pieces. Other vacation rental sites do not screen out anyone - it is strictly up to the host to make a decision. It is pretty hard to spot a thief from a rental request. No site is perfect. Any business with the volume of AIrbnb is going to have some people who cannot be made happy, and some people who are out to cause trouble any way they can. The review by Dave on this site seems unhelpful because Airbnb collects money from the guest and does not release it until the day after check in. So how does one get screwed out of $5000?


joyce micheon

June 25th, 2015 Newport Beach, CA

We arrived after dark at a home in Corona del Mar Caif I booked the house for my daughters coming from Florida and Portland Ore with my 3 small granddaughters. The next morning wanted to fix breakfast but the large coil on stove was broken! My daughter did a load of wash in the garage she screamed out the machine is overflowing!! Call the host Fran said she couldn't get someone out to check issues for 2 days! We had the house for 4 nights! I must say we were disappointed! My daughter has been a member of Airbnb since 2009 and never had issues. We visited with the neighbor she said she was happy we were a family! Too many parties in the big house that she has called police


Janice and Ken Jones

June 23rd, 2015 Tempe, AZ

Three months before our trip, we rented a 5 bedroom home in Holly for a month. 56 days before our trip the owners canceled our reservation. Three other people were canceled who rented the same house one who only had 15 days notice. The owners (host) said they got a better offer, someone wanted to rent it for a year and so sorry if this inconvenienced us. In the meantime my husband and I as well as my 3 siblings and their husbands have to find another place to stay. There was nothing left at Air B&B 56 days out from our vacation that was large enough and fit our budget. . Air B & B suggested one place that was twice as expensive and another that was 10 times as expensive. They ruined not only our trips as well as those of three other people that booked the same house before we had. Because we had to make reservations elsewhere and no longer share a place we all had to cut our trips short to stay in our respective budgets. The only good thing I can honestly say is that Air B&B promptly credited our American Express card for our rental cost. We will never use Air B&B again. Fool me once...


Julia Mehrer

June 23rd, 2015 Tucson, AZ

Awesome stay for 2 nights in Vancouver! Apartment just as described with the plus of a roof garden to sip wine in under an arbor! My first experience. I look forward to the second in September!


dennis raimondi

June 22nd, 2015 Fairfield, IA

Love airbnb.


Bruce Bennett

June 18th, 2015 Sunnyvale, CA

the above statement that the only way to get in touch with Airbnb through being a member of their site is not true. They have an 800 # if you google it, anyone can call. FYI.



June 18th, 2015 Buffalo, NY

We had one positive and one horrible stay with Airbnb. Our best stay was in Amsterdam in a fantastic tiny apartment big enough for three travelers and with all the amenities including a magnificent rooftop balcony where we spent our evenings. We stayed in Mauro's apartment at Bosboom toussaintstraat 27 and we loved it!! Our nightmare began as soon as we left Amsterdam and arrived in London. The name of the person who brokered the rental was Karen. She DID NOT vet the renter as she said she did, because if she had she would have realized that the renter was crazy. When we arrived at the flat (after waiting for over an hour for him at our meeting place), he walked us to the apartment. On first inspection, the place was fine, but after looking more carefully (after Paul left), it was disgusting. I have photos of the dirty mess, the filthy bathroom, bathroom cleaner on the carpet, mold in the kitchen, ants all over the dirty balcony and a neighbor who spit on my head in the morning...what a way to start your day! Needless to say, we will be reluctant to use Airbnb again. We vetted the host and read all the favorable reviews her renters offered, however, she was not available when we needed her and she was forced to refund us all our money by the Airbnb Resolution Tool. As a business woman, she should have checked this renter out more carefully instead of rushing to make sure we "had a place to stay"....AND....we rented a hotel room because we were forced to leave the rental after Paul moved all of our belongings and entered the apartment, after he told us he would be leaving London for the week, to do his laundry!! VERY CREEPY!


Kendle Cole

June 17th, 2015 Portland, OR

I had a issue with a host and my hand was twisted to cancel due to not trusting the host, and the host trying to get additional money out of me. I reached out to air bnb after my refund of $20 out of $135 was stated. Air Bnb helped me get the whole refund as well as are looking into assisting me with my new reservations that I had to book. (FYI my reservation was cancelled 4 days before My wedding and this was my Get ready place)



June 17th, 2015 Argyle, FL

I rented a house on Airbnb & the whole experience was wonderful. The house was just as described. It was fully stocked with everything we needed except food. I can't imagine using a hotel again for a multi-day stay.


Dave A

June 16th, 2015 Boston, MA

We got screwed out of $5000 because of a false rental listed on Air BnB's website, and they refused to accept any responsibility at all - will NEVER use them again.