Hotels vs Airbnb

Hotels vs Airbnb

[outside our Airbnb apartment in Paris]

It’s no secret that we love to travel. We are constantly dreaming up new destinations, and have a running list of things we want to do and see. We love the idea of being able to tailor our lodging decisions to the type of trip we’re planning, who we’re traveling with, and what type of experience we’re looking to have. Below we’ve weighed the pros and cons of staying in hotels and Airbnbs to help guide you through the decision-making process on your next vacation.  

Hotels vs Airbnb

[Magic Hotel lobby in Bergen, Norway]

Hotel:

  • Consistent quality
    • You generally know what to expect when you walk into a hotel room. Especially if you stick to similar hotel chains. Obviously the experience at a Four Seasons is different than a Holiday Inn, but you know that going in.
  • Amenities
    • The amenities offered will vary from hotel to hotel, but they generally include housekeeping, wifi, fitness centers, and toiletries
  • Service
    • Need some extra pillows? Can’t figure out how to work the TV? Accidently lock yourself out? All of these things are easily accommodated and fixed in a hotel.
  • Expertise 
    • Hotel staff and concierges act as your go to experts regarding your destination. They can offer restaurant recommendations as well as fun activities nearby and even go as far as booking these for you.
  • Meals/Room Service
    • Most hotels have restaurants onsite and offer room service. Even lower priced chain hotels generally offer complimentary breakfast.
  • Location
    • Hotels are generally located in city centers within walking distance of your destination. Depending on what city you are in, Airbnb’s can be a little further out.
  • Luggage storage 
    • This is a big one for us, especially when traveling internationally. Flight times don’t always line up with checkout times. Hotels will generally store your luggage for free or at most a very small fee.
  • Hotel Loyalty Programs
    • Most hotel chains offer loyalty rewards programs. If you are a frequent traveler, and stick to the same chains, you can rack up reward points towards free nights and other amenities.

Con of hotels: You don’t get a unique experience.

Hotels vs Airbnb

[Airbnb apartment in Paris, France]

Airbnb:

  • Unique experience
    • Airbnb’s can literally be anywhere. From a castle, to a house in the suburbs, to a boat, these owner owned rental properties can provide you with
  • Photos are representative of that place
    • We’ve generally found that photos of properties on Airbnb are very indicative of what the property looks like in real life. How many times have you booked a hotel room based on the photos of the staged “sample” room to only find that the room you were given hasn’t been updated in 50 years and looks nothing like the photos.
  • All reservations through one platform 
    • This is particularly helpful if you’re doing a trip with multiple destinations. You can easily see all of your bookings in one place. Plus you can message your hosts directly through Airbnb’s messaging system, so all your questions and answers remain in one place.
  • Privacy 
    • At an Airbnb you are the only occupant. You are not constantly surrounded by other hotel guests and staff. If you get lucky and book a property with a pool, guess what? You get it all to yourself.
  • Live like a local
    • This is our favorite thing about staying in an Airbnb. You truly feel like a local. This is especially great if you are in another country as it’s one of the easiest ways to feel immersed in the culture.
  • Full kitchen
    • Airbnb properties generally come with a full kitchen stocked with pots and pans and everything you would need to cook meals. Some even keep a pantry stocked with staples. Our Airbnb in Paris even left us a bottle of wine for us to enjoy!
  • More space
    • You definitely get more space at an Airbnb than you do at a hotel. Multiple bedrooms/bathrooms, full kitchens, and potentially even outdoor space are all options available to you.
  • Locals guide
    • All of the Airbnb hosts we’ve encountered have been great at providing recommendations in the neighborhood. This is particularly great if you are staying a little outside of city center or away from the main activity hub of a city, as you may not be able to find as many recommendations online in that particular area. Having a local recommend their favorite coffee shop, or give you directions to the grocery store around the corner
  • Generally cheaper
    • This isn’t always the case, but we find Airbnb properties to generally be cheaper than hotels. Especially if you are traveling with a large family. Instead of getting multiple hotel rooms, you can easily reserve a multi bedroom property that not only gives you more space, but allows the adults to enjoy some time in the common spaces after the kids go to bed instead of all sharing the same space.

Con of Airbnbs: Airbnb hosts can cancel at the last minute, leaving you scrambling for a new place to stay. Hotels will find a way to accommodate every reservation, even if it means a free upgrade to the Presidential Suite.

*Airbnb comments are based on you renting out the whole property. Please note they also have options where you only rent out a room and if the owner stays onsite with you or not.

Hotels vs Airbnb

[Hotel San Regis in Paris, France]

When traveling, do you prefer staying in hotels or in Airbnb’s? Have any fabulous recommendations for either around the world? Leave us links in the comments below. 

-Ash xx

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  • Chelsea

    What a great list! There are some many wonderful aspects of both hotels and air bnb’s.

    We have always stayed in hotels (La Quinta) to get points and our doggies get to stay for free with us!
    But recently, when we have sadly left our 4 legged children behind, we have stayed in a few air bnb’s and it has been wonderful and even saved us money!