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Has anyone ever used Airbnb to book an apartment?

Has anybody used before Airbnb site to book an appartment? 

Is it safe or reliable??


I really appreciate your help and your advices!

If I got it right, I can rent an apartment, or room through AirBnb and It's completely safe. The only thing I didn't understand (and I apologise If i make stupid questions) is:

  1. In the apartment/room that I would choose I would live with the host??
  2. What is the different between rent an apartment on AirBnb and Booking?(I know I use it for several years and I am really pleased)
  3. I have to pay by credit card or pay later on cash?
  4. Is there an extra charge for cleaning the room?

38 Answers

top answer by
Valerie from Seattle

Elli, short answer? Yes, yes, yes! Airbnb generally does a good job of screening hosts and since the site is based on user reviews and photos, you can usually trust what you see. I've booked 17 trips on the site, 13 of which have been fabulous, and the other 4 of which were okay (not bad, just not as great by comparison).

I was also a host when I lived in London, and had good experiences--most hosts have to approve their guests, and guests get to choose their hosts among the options, so you can generally feel comfortable that nobody's going to be a creep. Airbnb also has great customer service for dealing with complaints.

Because I want to add a map, the great ones:

Hopefully that helps you see what really good Airbnb listings look like--lots of reviews, generally good looking photos, etc.

Wherever you're going, have a great trip!!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Edinburgh (city)
  2. Cardiff (city)
  3. Rome (city)
  4. Lisbon (city)
  5. Dublin (city)
  6. Kinsale (city)
  7. Barcelona (city)
  8. Paris (city)
  9. Layton (city)
  10. Hawaii (state)
  11. Crescent City (city)
  12. Artic Rd (attraction)
25 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Jeannette from Brooklyn

Hi Elli, I've used Airbnb a number of times in different locations including SantiagoBuenos AiresWoodstock (New York), and San Francisco. I love it for several reasons:

  • You get a much more authentic experience because you're staying in someone's home, which gives you a direct lens into the culture of the location. 
  • You have the option to rent an entire house/apartment, or just a room. While it's nice to have a place to yourself, I find that renting a room/sharing the space with the owner makes the experience a thousand times richer. Plus, renting a room is much less expensive.
  • Additional perks to renting a room is that the owner will more than likely try to make your stay exceptional. They'll give you insight into all the best local spots to try, help you answer any questions, and make you feel at home.
  • The booking process is easy.
  • Most listers have reviews. I never stay at an Airbnb that hasn't had guests stay there previously. If they have at least 3-5 positive reviews and zero negative, then they're probably legit.
  • I've never had any logistical issues. The people I stay with are great at communicating (you'll get their phone number and email address) and coordinating your arrival. 

The best Airbnb experience I had was in Santiago. The person I stayed with was incredibly hospitable and generous. I was staying on his futon, which he set up each evening and even sprayed essential oils on the pillow to help me sleep. In the morning he'd prepare a breakfast of vegetable egg scramble, yogurt, granola, toast, and tea: 

He shared a bottle of Chilean wine with me and his friends, and also took me and a friend of his out to a couple authentic Chilean dinners. I was blown away.

In addition to getting to a deeper cultural experience, I made a lifelong friend. 

My other experiences have also been positive with very minor complaints. For instance, in Buenos Aires I rented an entire apartment and you had to use a key to get in AND out of the building, which was annoying. That's about it though. 

I highly recommend it!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santiago (city)
  2. Buenos Aires (city)
  3. Woodstock (New York) (city)
  4. San Francisco (city)
13 thankscomments (1)

answered first by
Christopher from Melbourne

I've used airbnb a handful of times and have never had a bad experience. Often I've found the place to be 10 times better compared to hotels in the area when it comes to quality, customer service and the overall experience.

Many hosts offer smart cards for the public transport, personalised maps, local knowledge, mobile phone SIMs/portable hotspots and other perks that hotels would charge as an optional extra. 

Sure, there are horror stories, but there are are also really bad hotel experiences out there too. Just be smart with your research and you'll find the experience to be incredibly rewarding.

11 thanks

answered by
Katie from Cedar Knolls, New Jersey


Yes me and my 3 friends literally booked all our lodging needs across Madrid, Barcelona, Ibizia, and Turkey through AirBnB. It is the best way to save money and the hosts can give you great local insight.

There are also a ton of reviews on each owner so you can peruse through tons of users' comments and experiences!

9 thanks

answered by
Bharti from Mumbai

I am fan of Airbnb. We stayed only in Airbnb houses during our trip to Europe and each place was a delightful experience. The hosts are usually very helpful and happy to meet guests. Some even stock the kitchen with some yummy stuff - like this lady in Florence who had baked a cake for us and kept as a surprise when we arrived. Now which hotel does that. 

9 thanks

answered by
Amanda from Atlanta

I haven't used AirBnB, but I have used VRBO, which gave us similar results to the people posting before me.  We love the feeling of being in a genuine neighborhood and having more room to spread out. We have had great results in Florence and Santa Fe.  Traveling with my husband and daughter, it is nice to put her to bed and have a little time to ourselves at night.  Also, we enjoy being able to have  a few staples in the apartment (cook hard-boiled eggs, keep milk in the refrigerator, etc.). 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Florence (city)
  2. Santa Fe (city)
8 thanks

answered by
Gary from Scottsdale

I've rented several times in Europe through AirBNB.  The rooms, in Rome, Paris and The Hague were all clean, and the people were very nice.  The bathrooms were all fine, too.  They know their renters will be reviewing their stay, so it is in their best interest to make it as nice as possible.  Usually it is just a spare bedroom, although that widely varies as you can tell looking through the listings.

I don't think you can say absolutely that it is safe.  You're not totally safe anywhere.  I'd read the reviews carefully and stay at places with lots of good reviews.

Usually the kitchen and laundry are also available to you, which is really nice if you are traveling a lot.

Here's one important thing to remember if you are traveling by train.  Make sure you know how far away the place is, and if it is an easy walk from the nearest train or metro station.  In The Hague I had a 25 minute light rail ride from the train station, then a 15 minute walk to the place, which was hard to find in the rabbit-warren of other condos.  Luckily, the first time the guy picked me up.  Paris and Rome were simple, the places were in the city and a five minute walk from the metro.  If you rent, be sure to ask the owner which metro stop you get off and where to go from there!  Also, be sure to have the address printed out so if you get lost, you can show someone to get directions.

Have fun.  It's a great way to meet new people.  Bring a bottle of wine to share.

7 thanks

answered by
Christopher from San Francisco

I've used it a lot, for everywhere from Sonoma to Montreal, Iceland, Berlin, New York City. Perhaps I've been lucky, but I've had nothing but good experiences.

In general, I've found it to be cheaper than other apartment rental services. 

Regarding who you're staying with, it runs the gamut. I've stayed places that are more like rooming houses (someone's renting out an entire multi-bedroom house to several different people) to sharing an apartment with the host to renting the entire apartment.

Cleaning and cancellation policies depend upon the place and person you're renting from. In general though, you're paying upfront to Airbnb and they hold onto this until you've gotten into the rental (so you're protected from unscrupulous hosts). Rent from someone who has been doing it a while, has good reviews and you should be fine.

Have fun, C

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sonoma (city)
  2. Montreal (city)
  3. Iceland (country)
  4. Berlin (city)
  5. New York City (city)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Holly from West Hollywood

Yes and Love it! Spent 10 days in EnglandEngland, 3 days in Scotland, 6 weeks in France and now yes it all over California! Do your homework, look at the reviews of past guests, read everything and you should enjoy. If you want to rent an apartment ask questions - how close is it to the places you want to go? Near transportation, if rental car - place to park it safely? On street? If you have neighbors - loud? Nightlife around you? Smoking allowed? If you have migraines - do they use smelly detergents? Are you allergic to animals? Do they allow pets? What kind of neighborhood is it? Read! Ask ?s, Book, Enjoy!!! We did and are tonight!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. England (country)
  2. Scotland (country)
  3. France (country)
  4. California (state)
7 thanks

answered by
Anamika from Birmingham, United Kingdom

Air BnB seems too good to be true in terms of price, until you see the sky high admin fees and "cleaning fees" that they add on to the price advertised. However, sometimes even with the "add ons" it works out cheaper than say,

7 thanks

answered by
Ulisses from Campinas

I definitely recommend airbnb. I started using it on july and my experience was great. In every case we were in the same house as the host. I believe that is the main difference between airbnb and, but I'm not sure because I don't use much. I used to stay in hostels, but now I believe I will use only airbnb.

About the extra cleaning fee, it does exist, but it's worth it. 

6 thanks

answered by
Brett from Eindhoven

I think Airbnb is one of the best options for finding last-minutes accommodations, or a place to stay outside of normal tourist areas.  I used them for the first time on a recent trip to Dublin, where almost every hotel in town was sold out or out of this world price-wise when I went to book, but I managed to find a wonderful place in a great location, just at the end of Temple Bar.

I do always check the box for the whole apartment/house option, even still, usually winds up much less than hotels for the night. 

6 thanks

answered by
Jahn from Barcelona

Elli! just do it!

It is the most amazing way to meet locals at the place you travel to and get a decent apartment. I personally would also do couchsurfing, but that is not everybody's piece of bread.

Try Airbnb. They rule!

This summer I stayed at (recommend them all):


Isabel's place


Maria's place

and Salamanca

Ana's place

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Burgos (metro area)
  2. Porto (city)
  3. Salamanca (metro area)
6 thanks

answered by
Tony from Seattle

I've never had a bad AirBnB experience.  You can filter by "entire apartment/house" if you aren't keen on staying in someone's guest bedroom.

You general save money and have a more interesting place to stay, but it IS a bit more work to book it.

I've had annoying experiences where I do 3 reservation requests for apparently available places and get "no" from all three (it sometimes takes 24hrs or more to get replies).  Sometime I'll just head to just so I can get a room at a hotel/inn just so I don't have to deal with the back and forth.

6 thanks

answered by
Aliotte from Amsterdam

I use it most of the time i trvel. It's really safe. Pictures are generally representative of the flat. I always had good hosts, really friendly and helpful. I used it in ParisLisbonPorto, and New York City.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
  2. Lisbon (city)
  3. Porto (city)
  4. New York City (city)
6 thanks

answered by
Kristin from New York City

We love Air BnB. Used them to stay in Portland, OR for a week and again in Vancouver Canada as a passing-through spot. We found it's a great way to live like a local and also convenient for affordable one or two night stays. You just have to check out the profiles and reviews to know whether someone has a clean place and is accommodating. I love the service!

5 thanks

answered by

i've used airbnb on my last three trips and i'm a huge fan. first you usually get more cost affordable options. second, the hosts that i've dealt with have been awesome and give insider tips to the city. you also feel more like a local when you're staying in an apt or a home compared to a hotel. make sure to read the reviews of the host and home you're considering, communicate with them to make sure your expectations are aligned and they can meet your needs, and look for verified photos. hope you enjoy the experience as much as i have. 

5 thanks

answered by
Debbie from South San Francisco

We haven't had any problems.  In January we stayed in San Jose del Cabo, beautiful condo. In April we stayed in Brussels at a very nice apartment, next week we will be staying in Ithaca,  NY. All airbnb. & We are looking forward to many more stays.

5 thanks

answered by
Han from Regensburg

Airbnb totally rocks! Have stayed with great hosts and saved tons of money along the way.

1. It really depends. There are rooms where you often live with the host in the same apartments and there are apartments you will have by yourself. We once had a whole house. But also staying with the host can be a great experience.

2. Booking is essentially a hotel booking site like expedia. AirBnb is more like having the home stay experience in an apartment or house.

3. You will get charged by Airbnb. You never pay anything directly to the host

4. Depends. mostly yes and it will be shown as an extra item when you book.

Just try it you won't regret it.

4 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Daniela from Santiago

I just travelled 3 months using only Airbnb and it was a great experience. I met nice people. You can choose if you want a private, share room or apartment. The principle idea of AIRBNB is to give you the opportunity to meet real folks of the city you are visiting, taking to the real city and culture. Some of your hosted are really nice and helpful, some a little bit indifferent, but I never had a bad experience. Be careful to review the comments of other travellers. My advice, don't go to places without evaluations and in my case I always choose places with more than person. Have fun!

3 thanks

answered by
Danielle from Washington, DC

I've used AirBnB once - for a trip to Paris18e Arrondissement but I chose wisely and it made my trip far better than I could have expected. I researched like crazy and chose to rent an entire 1BR flat in the 18th. The host was awesome and thoroughly communicated with me before my arrival (a big issue for me). The location was key because I could walk, bus or metro easily from the flat. It was also close to shops, grocery stores and restaurants. I  cooked when I wanted and dined out when I felt like it. In the evening, I would sit on the balcony have a glass of wine and watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the distance. it was hard to leave. 

I will definitely use AirBnB again. It was more cost effective and larger than a hotel.  And was much more relaxing than an hotel (no one knocking on my door to wake me up) and I got to live like a local.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
  2. 18e Arrondissement (attraction)
  3. Eiffel Tower (attraction)
3 thanks

answered by
Claudia from Austria

I tried it once and I don't recommend it if you are a girl travelling on your own and have concerns about your safety. 

I booked a whole apartment in San Francisco and it all started with the host not showing up.  Once in the apartment, I did not feel safe at all and could rarely sleep.  (and the apartment did NOT look as great as on the pics). Further, it turned out that my host did not inform the owner of the building about offering her place on airbnb and he showed up, catched me on the stairs asked me questions. At this point I contacted the host, moved out and went to a 4-star-hotel which was acutally 10 dollar cheaper than the crappy apartment. We had agreed that the host will return me the rest of the money. We both contacted Aribnb several times for support in various ways and we both never got any reaction.

Anyway, anyone I talk to about this, has only had good experiences. Maybe it was just not right for me, but decide for yourself... 

Best, Claudia

3 thanks

answered by
June from Charleston

Absolutely! Airbnb is wonderful. I am using it right now in Australia and is fabulous. Also are flipkey, home away and others. Big airbnb fan. Don't hesitate to clarify what you are looking for with your host.

3 thanks

answered by

I have used AirBnB in Napier and in London.

In both cases I just needed a room so yes, the host was there but very welcoming, out to work during the day and most often in the evening too, as was I. 

You can also book an apartment or house in which case the host would not be there. Rent and book mean the same thing.

When you book, AirbnB take your credit card details as far as I can remember, but it's not paid until you have stayed and both you and the host are happy with everything.  Some people have a cleaning charge included in the fee but that is on their page so you will know.

It is as safe as they can make it! They have a large indemnity insurance. When you book the host contacts you and you can arrange to Skype or phone to meet so then it's your judgement as to whether you think you will be happy with them. 

I was very happy with both my experiences. Good luck.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Napier (city)
  2. London (city)
2 thanks

answered by
Julie from Saint Paul (Minnesota)

I have uses Airbnb several times and have loved it. I highly recommend trying it. They charge your credit card that you put on file. They charge you when you book the room. Not when you stay there. Look for the refund policy, it varies by host. If there is a cleaning fee it will state it on the description page. Usually there isn't a cleaning fee if you are just renting a room in the owners house. If you have a private space or you are renting an entire house you are more likely to see a fee. When you book a room Airbnb tacks on an Airbnb charge. Look for that. We have found it to be very safe. It is like staying with friends. If you cancel your reservation you lose the Airbnb fee by the way. Airbnb has a question answer section. Review that to see if the answer additional questions you might have. Always read the reviews left by previous guests to get a better idea if you would enjoy your visit. 

2 thanks

answered by

You can choose the whole place only to you or stay in a bedroom with the host living there. I always choose the whole place to me and my boyfriend.

I think the process on AirBnb is more personal and there's much more places and prices.

You have to pay by credit card because it's a safe transaction and the owner will only receive the money if you don´t complain about anything like: there wasn't a place to stay :D

The website will tell you the value of the cleaning and you will pay it with the reservation.

2 thanks

answered by
Rae- from Toronto, Ontario

I have used airbandb here in Toronto when I was in between apts for 4 months. I stayed at a lovely place, they had 4 guest rooms and 2 bathrooms and became friend to this day. I also used it in Costa Rica and had an amazing experience there as well.

I find alot of hosts are also travelers and make it a great experience.

But each spot is unique, find what suits you

2 thanks

answered by

We've used Airbnb as guests and as hosts with very few problems. In Berlin we had an entire lovely two-bedroom apartment for less than it would have cost to rent a single decent hotel room. We like our privacy, so we usually only book places with at least a separate entrance, but have occasionally stayed in someone's spare bedroom. We've never had an issue with any of the hosts.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Berlin (city)
2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Taylor from Pennsylvania

Hi Elli,

I've used airbnb a couple times and I've had great experiences every time.  Everyone has been reliable and awesome.  You can read reviews about hosts and usually after you stay with them, the hosts give you a review as well.

To answer your questions, 1)You don't necessarily live with the host.  It might depend on the place.  I've stayed at one where the host did not live there.  She just met us at the beginning to give us the keys and answer any questions we had.  In another airbnb that I did, the host lived on the same grounds as the apartment suite that I rented, but we were not directly sharing the place. 2) I'm not really sure about the difference between airbnb and  I've used and have also had good luck with that.  3) I've always payed the full amount by card on the website.  I've never been asked for cash upon arrival.  Airbnb charges the full amount to your card once the hosts accepts your request.  4) Some people might have a cleaning fee, but I'm not sure if all do.  It could be included within the overall price.  I think it would be listed on the host's profile if it charged for a cleaning fee.

Hope this was helpful.  I would definitely recommend airbnb though!  Good luck!

2 thanks

answered by
Wil from Jacksonville

Yes, I have used them several times!! Loved them!! No issues whatsoever. I have used them in Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Tokyo.

As for your questions:

Not sure about (never used them). Sounds like maybe for hotels only?

You do have to pay by credit card and they take out the fees and rates right away.  

As far as cleaning fees, that varies by the host.  Also, some charge Security Deposits while others do not.


2 thanks

answered by
hj from Monterrey

I've used it twice. 

It's my second prefered option (just after crashing at a friends sofa).

It's becoming increasingly pricy though, yet it beats paying full price at an average hotel. You can get a better grasp of the city when you are embedded in a real place rather than in a artificial setup.

If you are lucky, you will get great hosts that can show you around, introduce you to great people or some of them when they are not available are used to include "care packages" (with pre-paid phones, public transportation card, a map, etc.)

In overall I choose Airbnb over any hotel.

2 thanks

answered by

Yes, it is, i am actually using it to offer my place for rent, and i use it when i travel also.

its highly reliable, check the references to any listing before you book it, its trustworthy

2 thanks

answered by
Wade from San Francisco

Yes- I've used airbnb many times and have never had a problem. It's both safe & reliable.

2 thanks

answered by

Hi I have used Airbnb twice this year, a houseboat in Amsterdam moored by the Opera House and an apartment in Paris in the trendy Marais area. In both cases we prepaid by credit card and there weren't any extra charges, felt completely safe and had a great time, Airbnb provide great support. Will be using this in Los Angeles later this year. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Amsterdam (city)
  2. Paris (city)
  3. Los Angeles (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Roxanne from Montreal

If your going in Europe, my friends and I have usued with very good satisfaction to rent appartment for vacations in Paris, different region of France  and Spain.  Lot of price range, photos and users comments.  It helps to make your choice.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Paris (city)
  2. France (country)
1 thanks

answered by
Josef from London

1. In the apartment/room that I would choose I would live with the host??

You can choose either entire apartment or a private room or even a shared room, so you can or cannot live with the host. Staying with a host is great though because they can give you all the local tips!

2. I have to pay by credit card or pay later on cash?

You pay in advance via Credit/Debit Card or PayPal. You never pay in cash.

3. Is there an extra charge for cleaning the room?

Some listings have a cleaning fee and some do not, it depends per listing but all listings have this information available before you book.

I recommend it using AirBnb you can read all the reviews from other guests before you book. Also here is a link that will give you £15 free credit towards a booking:

Good luck using AirBnb!

1 thanks

answered by
Christie from Greece

The apartments are too good to be true! (not only those that Valerie recommended but also many others i saw).
They are so well-made and in good prices that it's a little weird and i think that is a trap.
I read some other reviews for this site and many people said that they lost their money because at the last minute the booking was cancelled under the pretence that someone else have made the same booking for this apartment or find up other silly justifications!

Thus, how do i know i won't lose my money?

I really appreciate your help and your advices!

If I got it right, I can rent an apartment, or room through AirBnb and It's completely safe. The only thing I didn't understand (and I apologise If i make stupid questions) is:

  1. In the apartment/room that I would choose I would live with the host??
  2. What is the different between rent an apartment on AirBnb and Booking?(I know I use it for several years and I am really pleased)
  3. I have to pay by credit card or pay later on cash?
  4. Is there an extra charge for cleaning the room?

1 thankscomments (3)

answered by
Martin from Colorado

Yes in Seattle I had a great experience.  There are great safety measures in place, check out the reviews.  I will use it again.

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