When I was traveling a lot, I used Airbnb a lot. I would go from one Airbnb to another, sometimes staying in one for a month, before finding a year-long place from neighborhood rent signs.

I always used Airbnb to get my first place in a new area.

It worked great until right before I bought my home here in Mexico and settled down.

Then I used Airbnb for vacation weekends to nearby getaways because I love exploring my area of Mexico, the Yucatán Peninsular.

But, the last few months, I’ve had a complete reversal on my attitude with Airbnb in general.

I find Airbnb to be the same price or more as a nice hotel in Merida, Yucatán. My favorite hotel Fiesta Americana is pretty big, great lobby, tubs in the bathroom, fantastic aircon and super quiet rooms.

Local Aribnbs are about the same price or more, and who knows what you’ll really get.

Airbnb check ins times are usually very narrow and late in the afternoon. Very inconvenient. A hotel I can walk in 24-hours a day and typically have earlier check-in times.

And many Airbnbs have a ton of extra fees (including electricity usage) and even some require you clean the room before checking out, and you still have to pay a cleanup fee. Some places have exorbitant cleaning fees, exorbitant prices and crazy instructions that take rereading several times to figure out. I blew a fuse in the entire building because I plugged my laptop in to charge. Another time the manual that came with the place mentioned not running the kitchen sink and taking a shower at the same time or the bathroom would flood uncontrollably.

Many impressive buildings have begun to use fingerprint and facial recognition to access facilities, and Airbnb hosts will not register short-term guests for this.

Moreover, many impressive apartments are not listed on Airbnb and the buildings that haven’t banned it have the occasional disruptive guests.

My last Airbnb before I moved into my Mexican home was the worst experience I have ever had. Saturday night parties until sunrise and when I complained many times management and the unit owner would say no one has ever complained before. Locals told me the place is famous for extremely loud complex wide parties.

I had to go to my favorite hotel in nearby Merida every Saturday night, so I could get some sleep. If a hotel room were too noisy, the management would not tolerate that type of behavior, probably before I could even complain.

Fiesta Americana
Fiesta American in Mérida, Yucatán, México

If it wasn’t for waiting for my house to close and needing to be only 10-minutes away, I would have left that awful condo complex. Complaining did no good.

I have even looked at some apartment buildings that only allow 1-year contracts and if I stayed only 3-months and forfeited the deposit, it’s still cheaper than Airbnb.

For short trips of a week or less. I have had too many bad experiences with checking in. After a long trip, I just want to walk into the building with a 24-hour front desk ready to check me in, so hotels/apart-hotels are the way to go here. Furthermore, Airbnb hosts sometimes have “forgotten” to clean the apartment before I checked in, very annoying when you just want to fall into bed after a long trip.

I tend to use booking.com or kayak.com now-a-days for new areas.

I can see how Airbnb might be useful if you go someplace for 30 or 60 days. But even then, I’d choose an apartment hotel or serviced apartment instead of using Airbnb to book a place.

For some areas, Airbnb is the only viable option. So, you’ll need to check Airbnb and hotels.

Moreover, I’ve found Airbnb to be helpful when there were issues with the host or property. I don’t have a problem with them, but occasionally, I think we use something because it’s easy and convenient when there are better options. I am completely in favor of Airbnb, the platform is great, and support is always very helpful.

Furthermore, I think the issue is that people aren’t “renting out their spare rooms” or doing a small side job on Airbnb anymore. They operate multiple apartments and have a full-scale hotel business.

But they don’t offer the same benefits or convenience of hotels. We need to fix things. Either reduce the prices too slightly above direct rentals or offer hotel amenities and services.

Meanwhile, I book boutique hotels directly here in México, as there are so many very nice small hotels that remind me of high-end traveling decades ago. I only use booking.com or kayak.com to get a hotel when I don’t know the area at all, and Airbnb when the inventory and pricing is the best option.

Case Don Gustavo Hotel
My favorite boutique hotel in Campeche, México