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Airbnb meet-ups: Red flags you can't afford to ignore

Here are important considerations you should keep in mind before opting for an Airbnb stay

Instead, my family and I stayed at an Airbnb that felt like its own private Swiss retreat.

Over the past decade, Airbnb has revolutionised the travel and hospitality industry, providing travelers with diverse accommodation options across Kenya.

Its disruptive innovation has not only provided travelers with diverse options but has also reshaped the hospitality landscape

However, despite its widespread popularity, there are important considerations that individuals should keep in mind before opting for an Airbnb stay.

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Airbnb listings, ranging from rooms in regular houses to unique and exotic properties, lack standardised rating systems.

They rely on profile descriptions, photos, and guest ratings. This subjective evaluation can lead to discrepancies in expectations, as interpretations of terms like spotless or well-designed may differ among guests

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While Airbnb excels in providing a sense of independence and privacy, the downside is the potential lack of on-site assistance.

Many listings are private properties, and if issues arise, guests may have to coordinate with off-site hosts.

Some Airbnb's may require scheduled check-ins, which might potentially inconvenience guests.

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Each Airbnb comes with its own set of house rules, varying in strictness and content. Travelers should thoroughly review these rules to ensure a suitable match with their preferences.

Failure to do so might result in feeling restricted or encountering issues during the stay.

One significant disadvantage of Airbnb is the risk of last-minute cancellations by hosts. While Airbnb has policies in place to protect guests, instances of hosts canceling bookings close to check-in dates may occur.

Such cancellations can leave guests scrambling for alternative accommodations, potentially disrupting travel plans.

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The inherent risk in Airbnb lies in the uncertainty of sharing accommodations with strangers.

While renting an entire property provides more privacy, opting for a room in someone's home entails an element of unpredictability regarding the hosts' character and behavior.

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Beyond the nightly rate, Airbnb guests may encounter additional charges, including service fees imposed by Airbnb, cleaning fees set by hosts, and sometimes hospitality taxes.

Understanding these charges upfront is essential to budgeting and avoiding surprises.

Compared to hotels with security measures like surveillance cameras and on-site staff, Airbnb may provide less monitored guest safety.

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While some hosts implement security measures, the lack of standardised requirements can leave guests feeling less secure during their stay.

Unlike hotels often located near transportation hubs, Airbnb listings vary in accessibility to public transportation.

Some areas might have limited public transit options, inconveniencing travelers who rely on buses, trains, or subways. Additionally, parking availability can be limited or nonexistent.

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Some Airbnb properties may lack standardised emergency exits and procedures found in other commercial accommodations.

Because some Airbnb listings may not provide the same level of guidance or assurance in this regard, understanding how to swiftly exit the premises during an emergency is essential for your safety.

Some Airbnb properties might be located in diverse neighborhoods with varying safety standards.

The absence of a consistently safe neighborhood can be considered a disadvantage, impacting the overall security of your stay.

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Researching local crime rates, reading community reviews, and assessing proximity to emergency services become crucial steps.

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