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The problem with Airbnb in Hawaii
Well, this one is going to be controversial. I wasn’t going to write a blog post about Airbnb in Hawaii, but I keep answering the same questions, so I thought it was time. So, what is the problem with Airbnb in Hawaii?
Well, honestly, there are quite a few problems. There is one problem that you might not care about (even though you should) and one that you definitely will care about.
The first problem with Airbnb in Hawaii
First, there is a shortage of affordable housing in Hawaii. You might not think this affects you if you do not live in Hawaii, but it does. The lack of affordable housing is starting to cause problems with entry-level jobs in Hawaii. For example, most people can’t afford to live working a lower-paying job, which is causing problems for those who live in Hawaii and tourists alike. There are very high turnovers at employers like Wal-Mart, Target, etc. and sometimes even a shortage of workers. This results in short staffing, long lines, and plenty of other problems. If you think the housing cost doesn’t affect tourists, it does.
If people can’t afford to live there and work at places like Target or Starbucks, it affects tourism. As of the writing of this blog post (December 2019), there have been huge issues with this affecting the Kona area, but the problem has been around for a while.
What does this have to do with Airbnb?
You might be wondering, what does Airbnb in Hawaii have to do with this problem? The short answer is that there is more money in short-term rentals than long-term rentals. So much of the housing that was, or could be used for locals is being used for short-term rentals (Airbnb, etc.) which are causing a shortage of rentals. I always tell my clients that there are plenty of options beyond Airbnb, there are even resorts that condo-style if you prefer to be somewhere that is more like home.
But the prices…
One reason that people choose Airbnb is price, but the pricing is deceptive. $150 per night sounds like a good deal until you add on all the taxes, cleaning fees, etc. and then it ends up being the same price as anywhere else. There are plenty of hotels, resorts, and condos that having similar pricing to Airbnb, without the risk.
The second (big) problem with Airbnb in Hawaii
Yes, risk. Let’s talk about that now. The second reason why Airbnb in Hawaii is a terrible idea. Airbnb was recently ordered to share its top 1000 rentals with the state of Hawaii. Why? Because a lot of Airbnb owners do not pay taxes in Hawaii. They were able to get away with this for a long time as the laws were pretty lax. However, the requirements are getting stricter every year. This means that more and more Airbnb rentals are closing down without any reason or warning. Either to be sold or to be converted to a different type of rental.
The ISO in Kauai is an affordable, oceanfront option in Kauai that is a great alternative to Airbnb! Click here to read my full review.
Having an Airbnb rented and then having it disappear happens. It will continue to happen as the laws get stricter and as Airbnb releases for information to the state of Hawaii. Even if you don’t care about affordable housing in Hawaii, you should care that your rental could disappear! Sure, you should be able to get your money back (eventually), but you’ll be left without a rental.
The real problem is…
That isn’t even the biggest problem. Airbnb isn’t regulated in any way. If you have a problem, you have to deal with it through Airbnb, and they aren’t necessarily on your side. Alternatively, booking through a Travel Agent with a trusted supplier, there are plenty of things you can do if you have a problem. Travel Agents aren’t allowed to book through Airbnb, that should be a huge red flag. Why do they not want you to have someone on your side? If you book through Airbnb, you have to deal with Airbnb. If you think your Travel Insurance covers Airbnb, you better check because not all of them do.
Just to be clear, I don’t hate Airbnb. Years ago, we used Airbnb in Hawaii, too, because we didn’t know better. Now that we know better, we don’t. The problem with Airbnb in Hawaii is that it isn’t regulated very well. However, it looks like it will be more regulated, which means that those who are not following the rules could disappear. There are a lot of Airbnb rentals that aren’t following the rules, so proceed with caution if you do plan to use Airbnb in Hawaii.
You might also enjoy:
- The 7 best resorts on Kauai
- The best honeymoon resorts in Hawaii
- Where to stay on the Big Island of Hawaii
- 10 incredible Maui resorts
Airbnb alternatives in Hawaii
If you like Airbnb because you like staying in a condo, I get it! I feel the same way. Luckily, there are plenty of resorts and hotels that are regulated with condo-style accommodations. In my humble opinion, the best way to plan a Hawaii vacation is to go through a Hawaii Travel Agent.
If you want to DIY your vacation, I understand that! I recommend checking prices on Expedia or Apple Vacations to find the best deals if you don’t want to use a Hawaii Travel Agent. Even if you plan your own vacation, I have plenty of Hawaii Travel Tips that will help you along the way:
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
- 7-day Kauai Itinerary
- My best Hawaii travel tips
- Why to consider a Hawaiian island cruise
- How to fight jet lag in Hawaii
Book your Hawaii vacation with a Hawaii Travel Specialist
If you’re looking for a Hawaii honeymoon or vacation personalized just for you, give me a call! I specialize in working with clients to create the perfect vacation for you. That means no packages; everything is personalized. If you’re looking for a condo, great! We’ll find one.
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