Throughout college, my friends and I started planning silly little weekend trips to escape our silly little realities. Since most hotels didn’t fit a group our size with our limited, almost nonexistent price range, we only had one real option in the United States: Airbnb.
Airbnb was glorious in its prime: a whole house or apartment to yourself so you could live like a local. It provided flexibility so you could stay practically anywhere and make group stays far easier. It was the end-all-be-all – that end being, end your need for hotels altogether.
They were a safe haven for many. Reminiscent of going out without your parents, you didn’t have to check-in at a front desk or face the concierge and staff when you’ve had one too many drinks.
And then things changed. You’d find yourself at your short-term rental only to realize that the person who owns it lives in the room next to you. And they have chores for you. And a laundry list of things you cannot do in their home. And then you now have to clean up after yourself. And if you don’t… well good luck recovering your bank account and your Airbnb rating.
The Airbnb buck doesn’t stop there. There’s been a recent development in Airbnb’s tragic downfall: now you need to worry about hidden cameras around the house! How…quaint.
My Beef With Airbnb
My friends and I have a term for when we hang out or have plans to go somewhere: “ripping friendship.” Every time we decide to rip friendship, I take it upon myself to book the sleeping arrangements because - TBH - I'm a bit of an Airbnb savant.
Just kidding. I search day and night on the Airbnb website, my fingers cramping from endless scrolling, my eyes burning from pure screen overdose. I become bitter and enter denial that I’ll even find a shack on the Airbnb list. Then I get craftsy, debating how many of us can theoretically fit on a bunk bed. Truthfully, I go through all stages of grief until I find The One.
Hotels have generally been out of the question solely due to our track record. That's mostly because we like to sing Night Changes by One Direction at the top of our lungs at any given moment and we'd rather not be interrupted during our concert.
It’s not because identifying a house to rip the ultimate amount of friendship is hard, it’s because Airbnb has made it so damn difficult. Over the past year, I've watched Airbnb grow exclusive and astronomically priced.
One-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments in dicey areas surrounding where you really want to stay are pricier than one night in a hotel at an identical rate. Airbnb displays a low price on their website only to skyrocket into the atmosphere after service-free cleaning fees, taxes, etc. are added. This normally doubles the rate you budgeted for at the very least.
Another once beloved feature of Airbnb - the glorious extended stay option - has gone by the wayside. If you want a long-term stay during the summer, you may as well sign a year lease. These stays are going for $14,000, but they will accept both your identity and your soul as payment.
Smile! You’re On Non-Consensual Camera!
Oh-boy does it get better. Now, when you book an Airbnb, you can play their latest game: does your Airbnb host hide hidden cameras in the walls or not?
Nothing says “book a hotel now” quite like finding hidden cameras in different spots throughout your Airbnb. For years, horror stories have popped up of vacationers stumbling upon cameras in sprinkler systems, phone chargers, clocks, outlets, you name it.
In fact, this has become such a problem that there are multiple articles detailing how to spot a camera in your Airbnb despite their “strict” no hidden camera policy. (Shine a light in the camera and if it tints blue then you know you’re being watched, btw. You’re welcome.)
We At The Hotel Motel Holiday Inn Baby
I don’t know if Airbnb is going to get their act together anytime soon. So I come to offer one simple solution: bring hotels back. Shell out the extra cash and ditch the cleaning fees, the host harassment, and maybe the worst part, the chores.
Airbnb has lost their minds if they think I’m okay with paying some booking subtotal for so little freedom with no real benefit. So, I think it’s time to bring back the era of the Holiday Inn.
With guaranteed cleaning service, air conditioning, and a solid bathroom that legally has to be in working condition, I’m feeling nostalgic for hotels.