I recently returned from an incredible 10-day holiday, exploring Paris and the south of France – kid-free.
When my friend heard about my travel plans, she was full of tips of things to see and do in Paris. “Check out the Airbnb options,” was her number one nugget of advice. “The hotels are tiny and so expensive – you can get an Airbnb for half the price, in a great neighbourhood.”
I appreciated where she was coming from.
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But here’s the thing: this was my first overseas holiday with my husband, without our kids with us, in eight years.
I wanted to luxuriate in the delights of room service, and fresh towels, and having someone making my bed every day.
I wanted a hotel, not a home where I had to make small talk with the host and clean up after myself at the end.
This week, I discovered another reason for bypassing Airbnb in favour of hotels: spy cameras.
Last month, a couple vacationing in Toronto, Canada discovered a spy camera secreted in an alarm clock.
“The hidden camera was facing into the living area and open-plan bedroom, so it could see everything. We didn’t know if the owner had been watching. It just felt really creepy and we didn’t want to stay,” says the holiday-maker, Dougie.
“Airbnb passed it onto their security team. They told us to pick one of three luxury hotels close by and said we could leave the Airbnb and get a full refund, and they said they would be cancelling upcoming reservations for the owner’s properties.”
Police are apparently investigating now as well.
Can you imagine if this happened in a hotel?! It simply wouldn’t happen, because unlike short stay rentals – which are really just private homes – hotels are highly regulated and governed, with massive fines for doing the wrong thing.
Spy cams are a risk I’ve never even considered before, and I’ve stayed in a dozen Airbnbs.
It’s a reminder that this is a completely new and as-yet lightly regulated field – and in my book, it’s another reason to be proceed with caution around short-term rentals.