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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.
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vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

Is It Safe To Use Airbnb WiFi? (Complete Guide Updated 2024)

Hendrik Human Updated on 19th January 2024 Fact-checked by Eric Raue Cybersecurity Researcher

While using Airbnb WiFi is convenient, using it could expose your saved passwords and other data. Anyone with access to the same network could hack into your device or watch what you do online. Worse yet, Airbnb policies don’t require hosts to do anything to secure their WiFi.

The good news is that there are many ways you can make Airbnb WiFi safer to use. As a guest, you can use certain tools and techniques to control the information you share. As a host, there are also some steps you can take to prevent unauthorized access and tampering from potentially dishonest guests.

Quick Guide: How to Use Airbnb WiFi Safely in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Clear your browsing data. Hackers often target your browser cookies, cache, and stored passwords. Clear these before you connect to the Airbnb’s WiFi.
  2. Change your IP. An IP is like a unique address for your device, allowing others to see information about you and possibly manipulate your connection. By using a new IP address, you make it harder for anyone to compromise your devices on Airbnb WiFi.
  3. Log out of your accounts. If you log into any online account, the host or next guest could see your payment details, login credentials, and more. Log out of everything and clear data on all devices before you leave, and don’t use the same password for multiple accounts.

Easy Fix: Use a VPN to Make Airbnb WiFi Safe

A VPN is the easiest way to secure your connection and hide your data on Airbnb WiFi. By rerouting your traffic through secure remote servers, it masks your real IP and encrypts your connection. This makes it nearly impossible for other users or network administrators to monitor you or steal your sensitive information.

It’s easy to install VPNs on common devices like PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android. I recommend ExpressVPN because it has easy-to-use apps for a variety of platforms and obfuscated servers that disguise your VPN traffic. This gives you an extra privacy layer on shared WiFi networks, like at Airbnbs.

Vendor Logo of ExpressVPN
Military-Grade Security Features
DEAL: Save 49% + 30-day money-back guarantee
Editor's Choice for Security
Our Score: 10.0
High-level encryption keeps you safe online
Verified to not collect or share data

Editors' Note: ExpressVPN and this site are in the same ownership group.

Best Ways to Stay Safe on Airbnb WiFi

1. Use a VPN

A VPN prevents your sensitive information from being exposed over Airbnb WiFi. This hides your connection completely through a private server in another location, making it much harder for anyone to steal your passwords. Not even the Airbnb host will be able to see your activity on their network.

If you’re staying in an Airbnb abroad, a VPN can also help you access sites from home, like your online banking. It does this by changing your IP location to your home country. If you stay at Airbnbs in countries that restrict or monitor the internet, VPNs with obfuscation disguise the traffic. This allows safe, unrestricted access to accounts from home.

Most VPNs are easy to use without any technical know-how. They typically offer one-click install apps for all popular devices, including Windows, Mac, iOS, or Android. You can also connect multiple devices simultaneously with a single account, so you can protect all your gadgets that you bring with you to your Airbnb.

2. Use a Mobile Hotspot Instead

Another strategy is to avoid connecting to Airbnb WiFi altogether by tethering through your mobile device. If you’re traveling domestically, you can just use your phone’s data plan to deliver a WiFi signal to your laptop or iPad. In many countries, you can also buy a cheap temporary mobile SIM or rent a pocket WiFi with enough data for your daily needs.

Of course, you’ll need to keep any potential data caps or the possibility of poor signal in mind. Your mobile plan won’t be as fast as a typical WiFi network used at most Airbnbs, and even lots of “infinite data” plans start throttling speeds after a certain usage threshold. This also isn’t as secure as a VPN, since your provider can still see your traffic.

3. Keep Your Devices and Software Updated

Hackers often use vulnerabilities in old software versions. Updating your operating systems and apps is an easy way to avoid many known exploits. Most software companies try to patch these issues as soon as they become aware of them. That’s why it’s important to always keep your devices updated, especially when you’re about to use Airbnb WiFi.

4. Don’t Access Sensitive Sites Using Airbnb WiFi

Avoid visiting sites like your online banking account or work email with Airbnb WiFi. A compromised router or network could allow others to monitor your activity and steal sensitive information, like login or payment details. If possible, you should hold off using these sites or making online purchases until you’re back home.

Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid these sites for your entire stay. For example, you might be a remote worker and need to look at sensitive company documents at your Airbnb. In those situations when you’re using Airbnb WiFi for work, it’s even more important that you take precautions like using a mobile hotspot or VPN.

5. Clear Data

Regularly clearing your browsing history, cookies, and cache, can help you stay safe while using Airbnb WiFi. Deleting it will get rid of a lot of sensitive data, like what sites you visited, personal details, and passwords. You should consider clearing your browsing data, before, during, and after your Airbnb stay.

6. Delete Passwords

Hackers could use malware installed on the Airbnb router to steal your passwords from browser storage. Some browsers, like Chrome, let you delete passwords separately or offer it as an additional option when clearing data. You should at least delete your most important passwords, like for your online banks, before using Airbnb WiFi.

7. Log Out of Accounts

Always log out of Airbnb devices that aren’t yours to avoid compromising your accounts. Many Airbnbs provide smart TVs with Netflix and other streaming services. Some even offer tablets or PCs as an added amenity, to play games or work. If you don’t log out, the owner or next guest will be able to freely log in and use your accounts.

If available, use the default Netflix or other accounts provided by your Airbnb host. If not, make sure that you log out of your accounts, delete login details, and clear the cache and cookies on any device you use.

How to Safely Offer WiFi as an Airbnb Host

Set up a Separate WiFi Network for Guests

Separating WiFi networks for yourself and your guests makes them more secure for both parties. Just as hackers can snoop on or attack other guests using compromised WiFi, they can also target your devices as a host. Setting up distinct networks for yourself and guests makes it easier to manage their security.

The most secure solution is to install a second router with its own internet plan. You and your guests will use completely separate physical networks and internet connections. The downside is that this costs a lot more than having just one network.

Another option is to set up a sub-network, called “cascading,” to split your WiFi network. You don’t need a second internet plan, but you’ll still need a secondary router. This is a more technical solution, and you’ll need to be comfortable accessing and changing your router IPs. However, you can find step-by-step guides online.

Physically Lock Away the WiFi Router

It’s easiest for a guest to compromise your Airbnb’s WiFi router if they have access to it. Anyone can potentially reset the router to default settings just by pressing the button on the back. From here, it’s very easy to access the admin dashboard and do things like alter the DNS settings, install malware, or monitor other users’ activities.

You can limit physical access by placing the router in a lockable box. This still allows you to position the router anywhere for the best WiFi signal throughout the Airbnb. Another option is to put it in a locked cabinet or even outside the property. You can use signal boosters to make sure the WiFi connection is strong throughout the property.

Make sure to clearly communicate these security measures to your guests. This will help ease any suspicions they might have. In the unlikely event that guests have bad intentions, it will also signal to them that you take WiFi security seriously in case they’re considering tampering with your network.

Change the Router’s Administrator Rights

Aside from physical protection, you should also change your router's access settings to make it harder for someone to get administrative control. Routers often come configured with similar factory settings. If you don’t update these, it’s easy for someone to access the admin dashboard remotely using the default IP and login details.

The steps to do this will vary slightly from router to router, but this is a rough guide:

  • Find your router manual: Get specific instructions for your router model from the physical or online manual.
  • Reset to factory defaults: Erase all existing settings to remove unauthorized access.
  • Set new admin details: Create a unique and secure administrator username and password.
  • Create a remote management filter: This ensures that only your devices can log in and manage the router remotely.

Use a Strong Password and Frequently Change It

Using a weak WiFi password, or the same one for too long, increases the chance of hacking. You should either update your password on a regular basis (preferably weekly or monthly) or between guest bookings.

Also, opt for secure WPA2 encryption rather than the outdated WEP. You can make sure WPA2 is enabled by logging into your router’s administrative dashboard, navigating to the security settings, and making sure that the WPA2 box is checked.

Frequently Clear Your Router Logs and Data

Routers log data that could be used in attacks on you or your past guests. This includes devices connected, sites visited, timestamps, and more. Clearing this data should be part of your routine router maintenance to avoid it being compromised. You can do this on a consistent schedule or whenever a guest checks out.

Clearing router logs and data is usually very simple:

  1. Log into the router to access the dashboard.
  2. Navigate to the log or status section.
  3. Find the option to clear or delete the logs.

Why Using Airbnb WiFi is Unsafe

Using any public or shared WiFi, including at an Airbnb, has risks. Whether you’re an Airbnb host or guest, you’re at risk of getting hacked if you haven’t taken steps to secure your connected devices or router. Plus, as a guest, you never know if a host might use the WiFi to monitor your activity or access personal information.

It’s surprisingly easy to compromise an unsecured router. They have default configurations and settings that make them simple to hack if someone has physical access. Hackers could also use network spoofing techniques to trick you into connecting to a similar-looking compromised network.

Vendor Logo of ExpressVPN
Military-Grade Security Features
DEAL: Save 49% + 30-day money-back guarantee
Editor's Choice for Security
Our Score: 10.0
High-level encryption keeps you safe online
Verified to not collect or share data

Best VPNs to Protect Yourself on Airbnb WiFi in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — Military-grade encryption and obfuscation make it almost impossible for hackers to get their hands on your data while you use the WiFi at an Airbnb.
  2. CyberGhost — Set the VPN to connect automatically for any new network, so that you never use Airbnb WiFi unprotected.
  3. Private Internet Access — The built-in Block Content feature prevents malicious links from compromising the security of your WiFi connection.

Editors' Note: Intego, Private Internet Access, CyberGhost and ExpressVPN are owned by Kape Technologies, our parent company.

FAQs on Safely Using Airbnb WiFi

What other security threats are there when renting an Airbnb?

Hidden cameras, compromised smart devices, and physical security are some of the risks of using Airbnbs. You should always physically inspect the property for any concerning signs, as well as take steps to secure your WiFi connection. Reviews and ratings from other guests are also a valuable source of unbiased feedback.

Also, only communicate with hosts through the official Airbnb platform. This ensures that everything is properly documented in case of any disputes or misunderstandings. Airbnb also has a built-in payment protection system, which prevents hosts from taking advantage of guests by withholding payment until 24 hours after check-in.

Is it legal for Airbnbs to have cameras?

Yes, but not in private spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms. Hosts are allowed to have cameras on the property, but they have to be reported. However, there’s no requirement that they provide private web access. It’s totally up to hosts to secure their WiFi networks.

Unlike their bedrooms, hosts are allowed to monitor their WiFi networks for illegal activities. However, if you find undisclosed cameras in your Airbnb, you should report it immediately. Hosts with unreported cameras can be removed from the platform.

Can an Airbnb host see my internet activity?

Yes, hosts can monitor you while you use the WiFi in their Airbnb. This may include what websites you visit, personal data like login details, and information about your devices One way to avoid this is to use a VPN to encrypt your data and disguise your traffic. The other options are to avoid sensitive sites or connect using your mobile phone as a hotspot.

Is the WiFi at hotels safer than at Airbnbs?

Hotel WiFi is not necessarily safer than an Airbnb or VRBO. That’s why you should take the necessary steps to secure your activity whether you’re using the web at an Airbnb, airport, restaurant, or anywhere outside your own home.

Hotels may have more robust security in place compared to a typical Airbnb, but it’s not guaranteed. The level of security varies from hotel to hotel. Plus, with more people connecting at once, large hotel networks can be even more dangerous than at an Airbnb where there are fewer simultaneous users.

Conclusion

You’re always taking a certain amount of risk whenever you use Airbnb WiFi. Hosts have an ethical responsibility to provide safe WiFi facilities to their guests, but it’s not mandatory. It’s up to hosts and guests themselves to understand the risks and take precautions to safeguard your privacy and sensitive information.

As a guest, you can try to avoid using Airbnb WiFi altogether, but it’s not always possible. You may need to do important work or want to maybe just binge-watch your favorite Netflix series. However, by using a combination of the solutions above, you can get more control over what you reveal online and make Airbnb WiFi much safer.

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

Visit ExpressVPN

We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 to review VPN services and cover privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Hendrik is a writer at vpnMentor, specializing in VPN comparisons and user guides. With 5+ years of experience as a tech and cybersecurity writer, plus a background in corporate IT, he brings a variety of perspectives to test VPN services and analyze how they address the needs of different users.

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