Avoid Airbnb: 5 Reasons You’re No Longer Safe (Especially As a Guest)!

We’re sharing 5 clear reasons you’re no longer safe as a guest, plus links to MANY news stories–from CNN to Forbes!–reporting on the latest unsafe issues with Airbnb.

While Matt and I used Airbnb for years, we’ve recently gone from huge Airbnb fans to now warning people AGAINST ever trusting Airbnb in 2024 and beyond!

Why? Today we’re sharing 5 simple reasons you should AVOID Airbnb as a paying guest!

#5: Your money is unsafe!

#4: The location is unsafe!

#3:Your property’s promised features are unsafe!

#2: The reviews are unsafe!

#1: You and your loved one are unsafe!

In the last year alone, we stayed at over 30 Airbnb properties and have seen firsthand how drastically the Airbnb system has changed to

support hosts over guests…

…even when at the risk of the guest!

So when I get a note from someone saying, “Stop saying Airbnb is unsafe! It’s hurting us hosts!” I know that of course Airbnb hosts are happy–and actually, now the entire Airbnb system is set up for

more and more dangerous hosts taking advantage of

the Airbnb host-supportive system full of loopholes!

IMPORTANT NOTE: While Airbnb’s “official policies” say they will take care of all these things for guests and make them right, the reality we’ve experienced now in 2024 is that they no longer do! They used to, but we’ve seen it over months where Airbnb seemed to “realize their power” and realize they don’t have to make anything right for you as a guest!

Airbnb makes BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN PROFIT EVERY YEAR! They’re gaining more and more, and you can see why in the 5 reasons below.

AirBnb Is Unsafe

Reason #5: Your Money Is Unsafe!

Basically, Airbnb can steal your money and there’s nothing you can do about it.

We’ve had Airbnb double charge their fees onto the card used for payment and refuse to refund them.

Example story: There was an unsafe host we stayed with and Airbnb encouraged us to leave the property and they promised to “refund all unused nights.” We only received a partial refund on that, and when we asked when the rest was coming they claimed, “We understand but we are unable to do a second refund.”

EXACT same thing happened again in a property which wasn’t in the location it claimed AND was missing amenities, which Airbnb told us over the phone they would absolutely refund 30% of as it’s their policy for missed amenities, but after hanging up the phone we got a note in writing saying, “Oh, we can’t refund for all that disaster of a stay because we already did a partial refund and can’t do a second one.”

It’s 2024, ANYONE can send ANYONE money, whether they’ve done it once before or not. Ain’t no one foolin’ no one with that excuse!

PS: I share a number of stories further below.

AirBnb Is Unsafe

Reason #4: Your Location Is Unsafe!

We’ve arrived at Airbnbs that were NOT where they said they were. The “official Airbnb policy” says to contact them regarding this and they’ll find you another place or refund you a portion of your stay.

Example: Once we chose a location that claimed it was 10 minutes walk to the beach. Now, many Airbnbs will not give you the exact street address until days before your arrival. So you can make the booking, go past the cancellation point, and still never really see where the property is. You’re 100% at the mercy of the integrity of the host.

So for us, “Location 10 minutes walk to the beach” was perfect with kids. We were staying for several weeks and the beach was the #1 activity we wanted to do car-free with kids. We arrived at the property in the dark at night and the next morning we mapped out which road to walk to the beach and it was OVER 20 MINUTES WALK. With kids, that was not gonna fly to be a 45-minute roundtrip walking up and down hills.

Imagine you make these plans and the location of your rental isn’t at ALL what was promised, you’re out of luck.

Yikes! Not a fun vacation for you to not be where you thought and looked forward to being!

BOTTOM LINE: If you show up to your Airbnb and it’s not in the location you were told, you’re stuck!

AirBnb Is Unsafe

Reason #3: The Property’s Promised Features Are Unsafe!

Airbnb claims that if you arrive at one of their properties and a “listed amenity” is not there as promised, or is broken, you will receive “30% of the nightly rate” back.

  1. This is not promised. If they don’t want to give you 30% back on something you have photos of being broken (or completely missing!), Airbnb will not. It’s completely up to them.
  2. Also keep in mind that if they do decide to give you the paltry 30% off of your nightly rate, that will NOT include the additional Airbnb fees they charged you on that original rate. Their fees will stay the same. So it’s not even 30% of what you think of as your “total nightly rate.” It’s less.

Example: We arrived at a supposedly highly rated Airbnb (see #2 below regarding their ratings) only to find that the dining room chairs for adults at the table were completely missing! When we asked the host, she said “Oh, a prior guest damaged them so they’re gone.” Really? ALL of the adult chairs? So the kids seats were left…which, when you’re staying at a “vacation rental” for awhile, does a small percentage back really make up for uncomfortable seating at every meal? This also went for an appliance that was ALSO broken, so we went without adult-sized chairs AND this multi-daily-use appliance…

…so you’re not getting the 25-30% refund for EACH missing amenity in the property, it’s just total. Whether it’s one thing or ten things missing/broken. You’re still paying about 75% of your overall total per night including missing amenities, broken appliances or furniture, etc.

I’ve read plenty of stories on the internet (not on the Airbnb reviews because they manage to block many of those!) about people arriving at the Airbnb with “private pool” only to be told by the host that the pool suddenly wasn’t working, for example, and Airbnb supported the host and didn’t refund their money! So they paid for a pool property but didn’t get it…?

Nice, aye? 🙂 What fun on vacation!

BOTTOM LINE: If you show up to your Airbnb and the furniture isn’t as pictured/appliances don’t work/amenities aren’t as listed, you’re probably stuck with that!

AirBnb Is Unsafe

Reason #2: The Reviews Are Unsafe!

There are SO many properties on Airbnb with near-5-star reviews! Now we know why! They BLOCK most people from leaving the REALLY bad warnings!

When we had to report an unsafe host to Airbnb, they cancelled the rest of our stay and actually

blocked our account from being able to leave a review for the unsafe host.

When we asked how we could leave a review so that we could warn others/future Airbnb guests, they claimed they couldn’t let us.

This is one of my top reasons I’ll NEVER book on Airbnb again, now that I see they’re not publishing all the reviews or even letting the “safety issue” hosts get reviewed!


BOTTOM LINE: When you’re reading property reviews, you won’t see warnings about unsafe/creepy hosts because those have been blocked by Airbnb.

AirBnb Is Unsafe

Reason #1: You + Your Loved Ones Are Unsafe!

We aren’t staying in cheap Airbnb properties; we’re always staying in high quality, highly rated ones (which we thought would ensure enjoyment and safety for our family). We ONLY have stayed in Airbnbs that had ALMOST-5-STAR REVIEWS.

And still…we’ve had 3 BIG safety issues with hosts that immediately come to mind.

Without taking hours and hours of our time to write out all three stories in detail (at least not yet! for now, you can read plenty of them online or in the news where people have died in Airbnbs), we’ll just say:

Given all of the above, it is NOT worth staying in Airbnbs anymore.

When Airbnb is set up to support hosts over guests,

the guests are no longer safe and protected!

Airbnb has paid up to $7 million dollars to keep stories of rape quiet.

Is this why none of us hear about it except from each other? (Or until they shut our blog down for bringing it up?)

It’s so sad because Matt and I remember the days (even last year before this change!) where Airbnb was hardcore supportive of guests and their safety, but we watched it change drastically. We were shocked. We worked professionally with Airbnb FOR OVER 1 MONTH trying to get them to explain why the extreme safety issues were not taken seriously and we were not taken care of as guests, and all their responses were

  • in writing, never on phone, therefore
  • never responding directly to our direct questions
  • evading all direct questions about why X, Y, Z policies were so clearly being violated
  • went round and round and round…

…for over 1 month!

Finally we notified them that it was clear they were not going to resolve it or admit they were no longer adhering to their printed policies, and we would need to let our readers and followers know.

It’s an issue of ethics and integrity.

We GENUINELY want you and your loved ones to be safe!

We have nothing to gain from writing this post. We’re not sponsored by anyone in the travel industry or an Airbnb competitor. We’re just 1) sad this is now the case, 2) still a little in shock (even after almost 3 months of this all becoming apparent), and 3) eager to warn others so we can all stay safe!

See below headlines & articles from Bloomberg, Forbes and others!

Airbnb was a great idea, but it’s just not safe anymore. Matt and I will never again book via Airbnb, for the safety of our family (not to mention our credit cards).


For those of you who want to see more, here are just a few of thousands of stories of people sharing (and news articles about) how Airbnb is unsafe!

  1. NEW! “How Airbnb Fails To Protect Guests From Hidden Cameras!” on CNN (super creepy)
  2. “The Dark Side of Airbnbs”
  3. “5 Reasons Why Airbnb is a Dangerous Lodging Choice” on TripConcierge
  4. “8 Troubling Airbnb Problems You Didn’t Know” by The Invisible Tourist
  5. Another example story of nightmare in unsafe Airbnb with only partial refund.
  6. Another example story of unsafe Airbnb and no refund.
  7. “Airbnb Risks for Guests”
  8. Airbnb Risks With Carbon Monoxide Deaths (as if the below wasn’t enough)


Another story from someone we know that JUST happened again in 2024: A sweet mama with kids and a family left the property…then the host/Airbnb charged her card an extra several hundred dollars “claiming” she smoked at XYZ time, which she proved with videos and photos they weren’t in the property at that time for. She wants to hire a lawyer but from our experience there’s nothing she can do about it. “It’s like a scam! And Airbnb is in on it!” she said.

Soon I’ll be uploading screenshots of some of the horror stories people are direct messaging me!


This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Rebekah Rhodes

    Unfortunately VRBO is the same. They charged my family $2000 and never used the insurance we had purchased through them to cover these “issues”. They accused us of leaving stains on the couch (we didn’t!), we broke the ring camera? (Not sure how that happened), we put a hole in the drywall (there were many holes in the drywall and we didn’t add to them!) and they said we broke the door handle when we reported it to them so the next guest didn’t have a problem. Can’t use vrbo either! They charged our credit card and refused to give us our money back. As well as a vrbo employee trying to scam vrbo out of money. He proposed he would get all our money back (which I didn’t want to do and I was to give him half!).

    1. Jess

      That sounds SO frustrating and wrong! Yes, I can imagine VRBO might be going a similar route as well now. We’ve had good luck with local or country-specific rental sites or even Booking.com has given us some great finds with no problems.

      Let us know if you’ve found any other great ones! 😄 We (and everyone else!) would appreciate hearing!

      Jess & Matt

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