One of the fun parts of travelling is staying in a new place. But finding quality accomodation within your budget can be a hassle, and even stressful. Where once we would default to hotels, Airbnb has changed the world of travel accomodation.
But… Is Airbnb always the best option? And when is a hotel best against an apartment?
It can be hard to weigh up which is best for your travel needs, so we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of hotels vs Airbnb.
The benefits of hotels
When it comes to choosing a hotel, you usually know what you’re going to get.
At the very least you’ll get a room with a bed, and usually an ensuite bathroom. Most hotel rooms also have a TV as standard, and heating or air conditioning should be expected in all but the most budget accomodation.
If you’re paying above a certain price, you might also expect to have a safe in your room, a fridge, drinks making facilities, room service availability and wifi.
The benefits of hotels are that you can usually check out their website, or at least reviews on booking sites, to get an idea of what you’re going to get.
Hotels are also usually in a sort of ‘hotel zone’ in most cities. This may be a particular area, usually near transport hubs, or close to tourist attractions.
And, of course, with hotels you have all the benefits of full time staff. From the reception to the cleaners, catering to porters. So if you need assistance, have a problem or just need to check something then you can speak to the staff 24/7 (in theory).
The benefits of Airbnb
If you’re looking for a genuine home from home when you’re travelling, you’ll probably be looking at an Airbnb. Being able to do your own cooking, having a private living space and not being confined to the box of a hotel room is one of the major benefits of an Airbnb vs hotels.
In fact, with Airbnb, you can find all kinds of lodgings. From houseboats or tree houses, to shared rooms in local properties or high end apartments in the nice part of town.
So perhaps one of the major benefits of Airbnb vs hotels is the different types of premises available.
An Airbnb is also much more useful if you’re looking for more long term living arrangements. Long term travellers, digital nomads or people who just need a place to stay for more than a few days are more likely to turn to Airbnb vs a hotel.
The reason being that Airbnb usually offers some kind of discount for long term stays, and you can also stay for longer than 30 days. Some hotel booking sites won’t let you reserve a room for longer than 30 days without contacting the hotel directly.
So there are lots of benefits to both Airbnbs and hotels. Is Airbnb better than hotel? Which is best?
Common travel scenarios
To work out which is best between hotels and Airbnbs, we’ll look at some common travel scenarios and explain which is best for each.
Long weekend/city break
Taking a romantic weekend away? Or taking the time to explore a new city or area? This is exactly when a hotel is the perfect choice.
On a long weekend or city break, we’re unlikely to spend much time in the accommodation and more likely to eat out. So a good hotel deal can simply be a great place to put your feet up at the end of the day (and it will have been cleaned too).
Heading away for a week with family? This can be a tricky situation as some hotels will feature lots of benefits such as swimming pools, meals included and that all important house keeping.
But, an apartment can also feel more like a home from home. With catering, different bedrooms and possibly access to a garden, balcony or other features, kids love to feel like they’re somewhere they can let their hair down.
Winner? Airbnb/apartment rentals
The world of digital nomads has just become easier for more people, thanks to the rise of remote working. And if you’re planning to stay somewhere for a few weeks or months, you’ll definitely want somewhere that feels more like home.
This one is an easy decision…
Winner? Airbnb/apartment rentals
Ski trip or beach trip
Regular readers of Global Playboy will know we love to head to the mountains when we can. Package deals from the likes of Sunweb mean that you get a great deal with lift passes included, and usually self catering or meals too.
This also applies to beach holidays too. If you’re going away for a week or more, you’ll often find a good package deal with sites such as On The Beach.
So this one is a bit of a wild card but we think the package deals win here.
Winner? Apartment rental
Backpacking or long term travelling
If you’ve ever done a long trip around the world or a specific region, you’ve probably enjoyed looking for budget accommodation. In general, this usually means hotels or hostels as these tend to be the bargain options for budget travellers. Airbnbs tend to be more expensive, although you can find a cheaper option such as a room in a home.
Which is cheaper? Airbnb or hotels?
When sizing up the prices of an Airbnb compared to hotels, it’s not always obvious which is the best price. It depends, also, what kind of accommodation you’re looking for.
Price wise, you usually get the same kind of deal. For example, an apartment of a certain standard will likely be the same price range as a hotel in the same quality.
The differences come down to things like location, that ‘home from home’ quality and even availability on your chosen dates.
If you’re not a fan of Airbnb for whatever reason, and there are many reasons to dislike it, then there are alternatives.
One of the best is Vrbo, which offers a similar deal on home from home style rentals. Think holiday homes, city apartments and boutiqe stays. As an Airbnb alternative, we highly rate Vrbo – and in terms of price it is often similar. Take a look next time you’re considering an Airbnb.
The bottom line?
So there you have it… It’s not always an easy choice.
But as a general rule, we’d suggest using Airbnb if you’re planning a longer stay (more than a few days) or if you’re looking for a more relaxed and homely feel.
The problem sometimes is finding the best deal for your destination. Having just done an extended trip around Portugal, and using a mixture of Airbnbs and hotels, I can suggest Trivago as a great tool.
As the search engine for accommodation, Trivago lets you search popular hotel booking sites and apartment sites such as Vrbo. This means you can see at a glance how much the hotels and apartments are in the location you’re heading to.
So if you wanna match up apartments or Airbnbs vs hotels, run a search on Trivago.