To stay or not to stay…Airbnb

airbnbA and I are going to Chicago for Thanksgiving. We started looking for hotels and as it is with all holidays, hotel prices are sky-high. So I thought why not try Airbnb. I have always wanted to try it but never did. I started to look at what Chicago Airbnb has to offer and I am shocked at how expensive it is!

I am not sure what exactly I was expecting with this service but I thought they would be cheaper than staying in hotels since we don’t get any daily maid or room service.  Yes I was looking at very core areas like downtown and magnificent mile and it’s a holiday time. I get it! But I couldn’t justify some of the charges.

For example, I looked at a 1 bedroom apartment, close to all the main attractions in Chicago. Price per night is $188. It has all the basic amenities of a hotel but no parking. This was a big bummer. A and I are driving so parking is a must! That’s the first strike!

Then there is cleaning fee for $30 and a service fee for $71. If I was staying in a hotel, all this would be included in that $188 price tag! I wouldn’t have to worry about making my bed or cleaning after me. I wouldn’t have to pay any additional fee either (unless I break something of course). On top of that I get room service. Okay fine some people might be really messy and in those cases the cleaning fee is justifiable. But what is the service fee for? What service am I getting? All the talking is done by the landlord and the tenant so why I am paying $71 dollars to Airbnb? Shouldn’t the landlord be paying instead because Airbnb made it possible for people like them to post such service in a secure network? Isn’t $71 dollars a little too overpriced? I can get an airport hotel for that price!

People might argue that apartments come with full kitchen and you can save a lot of money not eating out. Now this might be personal opinion but I really don’t care about the kitchen. If I am on vacation, I don’t think I will be thinking “I am hungry. Let’s go back to apartment and cook something to eat”. I don’t think I would want to be cooking after a full day of fun activities. Plus if I am in a new city, I like to experience the local restaurants. That’s the foodie in me talking 🙂

Some people might say, staying in apartment has a comfortable homelike appeal. Home-like? There is nothing personal or home-like feel about living in someone else’ apartment! The sheets are not your choice neither is the paint on the wall. Heck the air in the apartment smells different. What if the owner thought of putting some pumpkin spiced air fragrance to give it an autumnal feel? I dislike anything pumpkin! How can that be comfortable for me now?

I just want to be clear that  I am not against Airbnb. As I mentioned earlier, I have always wanted to try it and I will try it in future. My opinions might be completely wrong too but for the specific upcoming Chicago trip, I think we are settling into getting a hotel. Comparing the prices and the services we get for our trip, staying in a hotel is a better choice versus renting an apartment. I have also come to the conclusion that Airbnb is for people who are visiting for a longer period of time. They are not for short-term visitors like us. Since these apartments have full size kitchen, it makes sense for long-term visitors to choose Airbnb versus a hotel. That also makes cleaning fee more reasonable. It is also suitable for people who have special dietary needs, who can’t just go out to a restaurant and eat. But for us, who just want to relax and enjoy every minute while we are in the city, I think we will pass this time.

What are your thoughts on this?

1 Comment

  • Reply November 25, 2014


    I think this is a completely fair point. For a short stay, checking into a hotel would be much more convenient but when you have weeks to your luxury then perhaps airbnb would be a better choice. Never booked via airbnb though… something to consider for next time..

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