Airbnb is ideal for travelers who...
- Are on a budget (i.e., everyone)
- May want to prepare some of their meals
- Might crave some of the comforts of home
- Want a more local experience
- Like (or can tolerate) a little quirkiness
And less ideal for travelers who...
- Are going for only a night, since you may pay a one-time cleaning fee
- Are looking for a hotel complete with maid service, room service, fresh towels every day, and the like
- Can't tolerate a little quirkiness
What to watch out for:
- Whether you're renting the whole house or apartment, or a room (or rooms) in a shared space.
- Potential charges for cleaning or for extra people. These are not "hidden" charges— they're listed—but you want to be sure you understand them all before you book.
- Misleading ads. These are not a big risk because your transaction is guaranteed and protected by the site. But we tried to rent a Paris houseboat and discovered it was not what we thought. No money changed hands, and it was resolved long before our trip, but our kids were a little disappointed.
When they're not standing in front of the Eiffel Tower (sigh), contributor Catherine Newman, her husband, Michael, and kids Ben, age 13, and Birdy, 9, live in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Originally published in November 2012 issue of FamilyFun