If you’re planning a vacation and looking for ways to save money, accommodations can be a good place to start. Sure, you can look for cheaper airfare or cut your travel itinerary to save money. However, one of the easiest ways to control traveling costs is finding cheaper accommodation. This way, you can save money and splurge on the fun part of your vacation.
The common perception is that Airbnbs are cheaper than hotels and, as such, best for those who want to save money on accommodations. But does this still hold true? Read on to discover the pros and cons of both accommodation options.
Airbnb vs. Hotel: An Overview
Airbnb has witnessed rapid growth since its inception in 2008. This vacation rental platform connects hosts and guests who then exchange short-term rentals for some cash. For several years now, people have turned to Airbnb to book a place to stay during their vacations.
Airbnb marketed itself as a cheaper alternative to the traditional hotel experience, but now, it has gotten a lot more expensive. In some cities, booking a place on Airbnb is almost the same price or even higher than staying in a hotel.
Which is Cheaper: Airbnb or Hotel?
Airbnb can be cheaper than hotels, but in some cases, they can even be more expensive. Also, different analyzes of accommodation pricing show that Airbnb may not really be a cheaper alternative to hotels anymore.
Entire Room vs. Private Room
When booking with Airbnb, you have the option to rent the entire place or rent a private room. Renting a private room through Airbnb is cheaper than renting a hotel room in almost all cities, including Las Vegas, Chicago, Boston, New York, and Detroit.
However, the story changes when renting an ‘entire place’ through Airbnb. According to several resources, booking a hotel room becomes cheaper in many cities, compared to booking an ‘entire place’ on Airbnb.
In some cities, the difference is a matter of pocket change, like in Atlanta, where the cost difference between a hotel and Airbnb is $2.30. However, the cost difference is quite drastic in other areas. In cities like Los Angeles and Miami, the cost difference between renting a hotel room and going for an ‘entire place’ on Airbnb can be $300+.
The table below shows the average cost difference between hotels and Airbnb in some selected cities:
|City||Cheaper Option||Cost Difference|
Hotel vs. Airbnb: Which One Is Better?
You could spend more on a hotel or an Airbnb, depending on the location, property type, and time you’re traveling. Generally, there are pros and cons to both accommodations; however, the ultimate choice depends on your needs and preferences.
Let’s have a look at some of the factors you should consider when deciding between a hotel and Airbnb:
1: DIY and Cooking
If you love your privacy, enjoy making your breakfast, or living as you would at your home, go for Airbnb. Most Airbnb rentals have a kitchen which makes it easy to prepare yourself a meal instead of dining out every time. But, if you like being served breakfast and prefer housekeeping service, a hotel may be a better option.
2: Group or Family Travel
Are you traveling in groups or with your family? Well, you may need to book more than one hotel room. Instead, you can go for an Airbnb where you can share the space and then split the cost. For the cost of a single hotel room, you might find a two or 3-bedroom flat on Airbnb. Also, Airbnb rentals have areas like common rooms and living rooms where you can gather together instead of crowding up the hotel room.
Different analyzes by travel experts show that the prices of hotels and Airbnb varies according to location. There are locations where Airbnbs are cheaper than hotels, like Las Vegas and New Orleans. However, hotels are cheaper than Airbnbs in some other locations like Miami and LA. Also, hotels are usually located on the highways, making it easy to find them when you arrive at your travel destination.
4: Privacy and Space
Hotel rooms usually give one room, while Airbnb usually offers the entire place, giving you space to spread out. Also, Airbnb gives room for privacy while hotels have one room after another, so a lot of the time you can hear your neighbor and vice versa. If you love your privacy, Airbnb is often cheaper.
5: Duration of Stay
If you’re staying in a location for more than a week, you may find Airbnb more cost-effective compared to hotels. However, if you are in town for, say, one night, booking a hotel room may be a more affordable option. Also, if you are on an impulsive or impromptu traveling trip and need a last-minute stay, a hotel is your best option.
Many high-end hotels have amenities like a pool, gym, and 24-hour concierge. However, you may have to extend your search to find an Airbnb with the same amenities without costing you much more than a hotel room.
7: Reliability and Hospitality
Hotel is a brand managed by people who care about their reputation. If something goes wrong during your stay, there is a team of staff who will be present to answer you. However, Airbnb is a vacation platform where you might or might not meet the host. And, in some cases, the host will not be available which makes complaining or making requests a little difficult.
8: Reward Programs
If you travel often and are loyal to a particular hotel brand, you can participate in hotel reward programs. Depending on how many points you accumulate, you can redeem your points for a discounted hotel fee, a free hotel stay, or free meals. Also, if you are traveling with a travel agency, you may be able to get a cheap hotel deal as part of your vacation package. Airbnb, on the other hand, doesn’t have loyalty programs.
9: Rate Flexibility
Hotels usually have a fixed price, while with Airbnb, you have the option to negotiate prices with the host.
Whether you’re making travel plans alone or planning a vacation with your friends or family, it’s a good idea to look around for the best accommodation deals. Depending on your needs and location, you may be able to find a bargain on Airbnb. However, in some cases, hotels may be the perfect place for your vacation.