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Airbnb Vacation Rental Option in Hawaii

Have you heard about Airbnb? I’ve been following them the last few months and am impressed. So is actor Ashton Kutcher who just invested heavily.

Overview: Hosts can list a room or their entire home to rent by the night. It’s a new way to connect with locals while traveling. Airbnb has links to Facebook and Twitter plus an on-line community.

What I like best

1. Reviews can only be written by guests who have stayed at a particular property.

Since Airbnb handles the financial transaction, they only post reviews of paid guests who have completed their stay. (Friend reviews are listed separately).

2. Sense of community.

Both the guest and host have a profile and can communicate in the Airbnb portal.

3. Advocate if something goes wrong.

Airbnb doesn’t release the money to the host until the day after check-in. If you find the listing not as promised, you can call Airbnb for help.


1. Booking fee is 6-12% of the total reservation.

This is how Airbnb makes its money. They also charge a fee to the host.

2. Groups are not easy to sort through.

I still haven’t figured an easy way to search this. Hosts for example can list their property by interest (yoga, vegetarian, etc). Once you’re in a group I haven’t found a way to sort by location.

Bottom Line

Airbnb may offer a way to save money on your next Hawaii vacation.

If you decide to try them, or already have, please share your experience.

9 thoughts on “Airbnb Vacation Rental Option in Hawaii”

  1. I just came back from a one week house rental on Oahu at the North Shore in Haleiwa. While it is obvious that the area where we had our beach front rental was a neighborhood, as long as you are courteous and observe the fact that your neighbors live there all the time, there was no issues with the locals.
    We rented through a Realestate company and enjoyed a hawaiian vacation unlike any of the previous Hawaiian vacations we had previously. I would highly recommend renting a house rather than a Hotel. The difference is that in a hotel, it is obvious that you are a guest and that fact is reinforced every day when you walk from your room through the lobby to get anywhere. In a house, you feel more like you belong…more like you actually live there. You have your own parking, a front door, a livingroom and bedrooms…and all for less than what it costs to stay in a 3 star hotel in Waikiki. Now, don’t get me wrong…I love staying at the Princess Kaiulani in Waikiki. But, Haleiwa is a whole different experience. We are going to definately do this again. and besides, the drive into Honolulu isn’t bad at all! Heck, here at home, driving 45 minutes to go to a restaurant is common!

    1. Hi Ed,

      Thanks for the valuable comment. It’s always good to hear from you and I’m glad that your trip went well.



  2. Thank you Cathy for the mention,

    Soozzie, Airbnb like HometoGo.info cannot force a host to have licensing or permits but is recommended like you stated to ask the host this question.

    Out of the thousands of bookings I am sure the disturbance is a very very small percentage. This is the reason we like the social community part to let the traveler get a personal feel for the host.

    All and all this is a great way to travel and become a host that I am sure you will have more of a positive experience then negative.

    And keep up the good work BOH, love your blog


  3. I read about airbnb in the travel section of the newspaper and it sounded like a great idea- so I used it to book a room in Seattle in a former hotel, now apartments. The entire process was flawless and we paid per night about what people were paying for parking at the hotel next door. I went back a second time, and hope to again. This past Spring we spent 5 weeks on the Big Island and we stayed as often as we could at places arranged through airbnb- they were all exactly as described and we had a much richer experience dealing with hosts rather than a hotel- I’m now looking at places in India. I highly recommend airbnb- however, I have never had a problem- if you cruise their site you’ll find people who have.

  4. Coincidentially I just booked through this source for a stay in San Francisco for 7/15, 7/16, it’s hard to find any place in the City on short notice in the summertime, but I’m really looking forward to our stay in the Mission, a new area to explore.

    We’re going to an art gallery auction near Gihridelli and we can take Bart to the Ferry Bldg, then the streeet car to the wharf…looks very convenient. The arrangements have gone smoothly thus far and I’ve had a chance to email back and forth to the owner and feel good about the arrangements.

    So far, so good.

  5. I just saw hometogo.info which is similar but they are owned and operated out of Hawaii so you might look at them also because they don’t charge the host other than credit card fees

  6. Airbnb has been a great source for the real budget travelers – students, and older folks on limited incomes. We are involved with airbnb and have met some really wonderful folks, and had some interesting times!

  7. Some Airbnb listings violate local zoning. Hostile neighbors who have been disturbed by previous rowdy guests could have you removed by the local county. Owners/operators often don’t regard themselves as landlords or hotels, so they may have little if any knowledge of the laws pertaining to renting rooms, security deposits or even health and safety requirements. To avoid problems and disappointment, ask for proof of a permit to operate, and contact the local county government to see if the premises has a valid, current permit.

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