Throughout our short 1 week stints in Airbnb’s throughout Europe, I have found that there are certain things you won’t find (or maybe very rarely find) that you would find in most 3 + star hotels
1. 5 star service: There are a certain minimal expectations that a host should follow–but just because they’re your host, it doesn’t mean they are also your servant. If you want 5 star service, you should probably book a 5 star hotel, not someone’s home.
2. Spotlessly: Again, there are certain cleanliness standards that should be met, but when renting through Airbnb you may find a few crumbs in the couch or dust under the bed and sometimes even mildew in the bathrooms. Although it can be super gross at times and sometimes worse than others, it does happen. I find that hosts who care about their reputation on Airbnb do the best that they can to make sure their place is as clean as they can make it.
3. Mattress pads: I have been surprised at how few places we’ve stayed in have mattress pads for their beds. I would think this should be a requirement, but alas, it is not. If you require a mattress pad, ask the host before booking or consider bringing your own.
4. Breakfast: Although it is a very nice perk to come home to find food in the fridge, most Airbnb’s will not have food in the fridge upon your arrival–that is unless they state specifically that they provide it for you. Also, keep in mind that “breakfast” in the UK has a very different definition than “breakfast” in Italy or Spain. So, don’t expect a full English breakfast when a host in Italy says they provide a full breakfast– as their full breakfast might be a pack of stale toast, butter and jelly.
5. Transportation: Although some hosts do offer transportation to their place, we have found very few do offer this perk–and if they do, it is not included in your stay, so have some cash on you and know what you’re paying for.
6. Neighbors: Yes, you have neighbors at a hotel, but it’s very rare that you see them and if you do, it’s even rarer to make eye contact or speak to them. The difference here, is that an Airbnb is usually in a neighborhood or a local’s apartment complex, so seeing neighbors is an everyday experience–one which can be quite fun!
7. Ample supply of toilet paper: Now, this has been about half and half. Half of our hosts have provided plenty of toilet paper for our stay, where the other half have given us a roll to start our week with. This hasn’t been a big deal to us, as we end up going to the store anyways and it’s no big deal to pick up toilet paper. I have read some reviews where the guests were incensed that the hosts didn’t provide enough TP for their stay–it is nice to have enough, but, seriously, it’s not worth loosing sleep or writing a bad review over.
8. Feeling like a local: It’s one thing to stay in a hotel and take a cab into the middle of a neighborhood, where when you are staying smack dab in the middle of the neighborhood you get to feel like you are a part of the community. You get to shop with the locals, eat with the locals, take public transportation with the locals. Staying at a hotel, you get to be a tourist and see the sites, while when you stay at an Airbnb, you not only get to be a tourist and see the sites, you get to experience the area those sites are in.