Reasons to Book an Airbnb vs Hotel

posted by Sharon July 22, 2018 37 Comments
New York Airbnb

Sometimes booking an Airbnb or similar home rental makes sense. For most of my travels, I line up hotels, but sometimes the benefits of an Airbnb shine. I recently spent a delightful week at an Airbnb at Lake Tahoe, and I’ve been thinking about why that was a good choice compared to a hotel for that particular trip. What makes the difference in choosing the best kind of lodging? Often, especially for city trips, you can find an abundance of both. Prices vary on both kinds of accommodations, so that’s not the top deciding factor. Obviously, it’s often a money saver and convenience to have a kitchen. But there are other reasons, too.

So what should you consider when making the choice between Airbnb types of places and hotels? Here are a few reasons I’ve booked an Airbnb even though hotels were available.

You can become part of a community during your stay.

This is one of my favorite reasons to choose a local apartment or condo. This worked out so well in New York City. I bypassed millions of hotels (at least it seems there are that many!) and selected an apartment a half block from Central Park in a quiet neighborhood. The building had at one time been a stately, large home. It’s been subdivided and we were in one small corner upstairs. New York Airbnb

I simply loved being in this community. People walked their children to school. They walked their dogs.  New York Airbnb

Best of all, in the morning I walked to Central Park and blended in with the locals. They rushed to work, they pushed baby buggies, and chatted with their neighbors. New York Airbnb

New York AirbnbNew York AirbnbI also opted for an Airbnb rental in Washington, DC. I actually booked first at a large, modern hotel, but then I read more about the areas of the city. I decided it would be more fun to stay in a residential neighborhood. I found an ideal small place in the Dupont Circle area. It’s a walk-up built in the 1880s. We were on the top floor with no elevator, so we got our exercise. Washington DC Airbnb

Washington DC AirbnbI loved walking through these streets while spring flowers bloomed, bicycle commuters zipped by, and, always, people were out walking their pups. A large park was a couple of blocks away, and quaint restaurants and shops lined the street. Washington DC Airbnb

Washington DC AirbnbHere, as in New York, we found a local coffee house and walked there every morning. The proprietor, Sammy, became fast friends with us. He gave us recommendations for dinner in the area and touring tips. We laughed and loved our coffee times in Dupont Circle. Washington DC Airbnb

You can (and want to) stay near a transportation hub.

This is one of my main considerations, whether booking an Airbnb or a hotel. In New York, we were near two subway stations. One was just around the corner. So we could easily get wherever we wanted to go. In Washington, DC, we were close to two Metro stations. This was trickier to figure out here because the stations are farther apart than in New York. A study of the metro or subway maps will show you options. We most often ended up at the Dupont station, which is right near Georgetown University. I loved walking along streets packed with lively students. Washington DC Airbnb

Washington DC AirbnbThe transportation issue can get more complicated if you are traveling to country areas. I’ve decided against Airbnbs in places where I’m using trains, for example, and I don’t want to rely on a taxi to take me several miles to and from my lodging. In large cities, the choices will be more along the lines of close to or far from the nearest public transportation.

You can choose a place with character.

To me, this means an interesting history. The apartment in New York City was part of “mansion” in the 1800s, and it was rather makeshift as far as the kitchen and bathroom were concerned. But the second I walked in, I was enthralled with the original fireplace and mirror and the original wood floors. New York Airbnb

New York AirbnbIn Washington, DC, the owner had decorated the apartment with antiques, like this old chest, and I immediately felt a sense of this place that’s more than 100 years old. Washington DC Airbnb

Washington DC AirbnbWashington DC AirbnbIt was fun to read the many little notes taped to shelves and cabinets that told us how to take care of or work different things. In the bathroom, a note told us that we should be careful with the water pipes because “they are older than you are.” You may not be thrilled with historical places, but this makes me happy and staying here enriched my trip!

You can choose all the modern amenities.

On the other hand, you can select a place that has been newly updated with the latest decor and appliances. At our Lake Tahoe Airbnb, everything but the third bathroom had been remodeled in the last year or so. The large kitchen had granite counters, stainless steel appliances, and a Keurig. I do love modern conveniences as well as antiques. Lake Tahoe Airbnb

The two decks above the rushing creek provided an ideal place to relax and reading after an active day. Lake Tahoe Airbnb

Everything in this condo was chosen to enhance the Lake Tahoe experience. Even the bedspread and the shower curtain were Lake Tahoe themed.  This made our whole experience delightful. Lake Tahoe Airbnb

Lake Tahoe AirbnbYou can find pet-friendly accommodations.

We have stayed in hotels with our dog, Bailey, but for a week, we knew that a condo would be more comfortable for him. We took a couple of his favorite blankets, and within a minute he was right at home. A bonus here is that the owner leaves a variety of dog treats in the unit, and there are two dog park areas on the grounds. Lake Tahoe Airbnb

Every morning before the day’s hiking activities, I walked Bailey around the area, which borders a golf course, and this was the view that greeted us. Lake Tahoe Airbnb

Lake Tahoe AirbnbThese are a few reasons that Airbnbs may be a good choice when you travel. How about you? Have you had a good (or bad) experience renting an apartment during your travels?Washington DC Airbnb

 

 

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37 Comments

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Tamar Strauss-Benjamin July 22, 2018 at 2:39 pm

What amazing places you’ve booked! I love the DuPont Circle neighborhood.

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Su-sieee! Mac July 22, 2018 at 6:41 pm

I do prefer bed and breakfasts to hotels, but I haven’t tried an Airbnb yet. I have heard good stuff from friends who have.

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Jesh StG July 22, 2018 at 9:03 pm

Great points for All Seasons in staying in places where you feel comfortable! Am not particular when it’s a work vacation, meaning hubby works, and I have a vacation – as long as I have a kitchenette and a good bathroom I’m fine. Being abroad, we have gone over staying in American owned hotels – important to me is quietness, cleanliness, and how food is cooked, because I heard too many stories about food-poisonings. Have a great week, Sharon!

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Molly July 23, 2018 at 4:10 am

We have used air bnb a lot over the years and only had one terrible experience which was this year in London. Once I started digging it became obvious the man had multiple accounts and was advertising the same properties on all of them. I did report him to airbnb and they eventually gave us half our money back but I notice he is still renting on airbnb which is terrible

Mollyx

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Carol July 23, 2018 at 7:10 am

Great tips for travelers. I’m a big believer in Airbnb. Pinned and shared!

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Suzy Godfrey July 23, 2018 at 7:41 am

Beautiful find!Love all the shots!

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Eileen Wise July 23, 2018 at 10:53 am

Hello, neat post. I have used AirBnb twice in Washington state. They were nice places. Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

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Alexandra Marie Mahoney July 23, 2018 at 8:33 pm

I totally agree with choosing Air bnbs over hotels…it’s just so much more of a personable experience. Great article!

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Betty Crow July 24, 2018 at 4:34 am

I have never used an AirBnb, but think I might give it a try next trip. Wonderful photos!

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Lady Fi July 24, 2018 at 5:17 am

Such elegance!

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Photo Cache July 24, 2018 at 6:23 am

I have stayed in airbnb before and it really works when there’s more than the hubs and I because we can definitely avail of its value.

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Fun60 July 24, 2018 at 9:34 am

I have not used airbnb but maybe it’s time to branch out a little.

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Sarah July 25, 2018 at 6:40 am

I can totally get behind all these reasons! I also loved seeing photos of all the various Airbnbs you’ve stayed in 🙂 I actually have an Airbnb referral credit right now that I need to use up so you’ve inspired me to go ahead and book one!

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California Globetrotter July 25, 2018 at 7:21 am

I’ll be staying in my first Air B&B this weekend in Nashville and am super excited! My friend booked it and I’m willing to try it out! She found the most adorable place and I may just convert! #WanderfulWednesday

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Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid July 25, 2018 at 8:46 am

We’re huge fans of Airbnb and it’s always our first choice for accommodation. We’ve stayed in some amazing places here in Australia and in the UK, US and Canada too. My favourite thing is being able to live like a local and really get a feel for the neighbourhood. Also I appreciate the extra space that having your own accommodation affords and having the option to do laundry and cook your own meals! The right Airbnb can really be a highlight of the trip! Side note – your dog is the cutest!

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Sara July 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm

These are beautiful. I like the idea of being able to use a kitchen and cook your own meals, but I also have trouble with how it pushes locals out of the market because investors buy up property. I know it’s a free-market and all, but I’m always sad when I talk to older generations who talk about how their neighborhoods have transitions from communities to short-term rentals. All that being said, you’ve found some lovely accommodations and I think there’s a lot of value to finding pet friendly accommodations. I know that can be hard to do!

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Camila @ Adventitious Violet July 25, 2018 at 11:38 pm

I’m definitely a big fan of Airbnb! Most of our travels in the past 3-4 years have been with airbnb and I love it for all the reasons you said! I love being able to be a part of a more residential and local neighbourhood and it gives me the impression of how it would be to live there 🙂

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Deborah Regen July 26, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I stayed at a lovely townhome AirBnB just outside of Charlottesville in Virginia last fall because it was very close to Jefferson’s Monticello and also several wineries in the area. The hosts could not have been more friendly and helpful in driving directions. This was my first experience with an AirBnB property and it was a good one. #FarawayFiles

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Emese July 26, 2018 at 6:42 pm

I agree with you. We just recently discovered AirBnB and we prefer it to hotels most of the time. You are right, it usually helps make the experience better, plus you get to interact with a local host.

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Angie FeetDoTravel July 27, 2018 at 12:24 am

You have raised some very valid points here Sharon, I like it! We have only done one Air BnB but do need to consider it more. I think when we go to LA and Sand Diego it may be an option! Pinned #feetdotravel

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Michael - The Boys Abroad July 27, 2018 at 4:28 am

We totally agree about getting to a local neighborhood and the amenities! Although recently feel as though AirBnB has become more expensive and less about renting out your own space and more of a platform for managing holiday rentals? We’ve actually got more of our apartments via booking.com because the costs are more realistic on the search as it includes all the fees… AirBnB always shocks us!

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Linnea July 27, 2018 at 11:13 am

I love this perspective! I haven’t done AirBnb in a while, but my friend and I recently booked a trip for Nashville that’s a “glamping” location. The company also has great Customer Service!

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Clare (suitcases and sandcastles) July 28, 2018 at 9:04 am

You’ve certainly stayed in some beautiful airbnbs, Sharon! I like both hotels and airbnbs. We’ve had good and bad experiences in both. I do love a good boutique hotels but airbnbs can be really characterful and you certainly get more space in an airbnb for your money. We’ve found that particularly useful when travelling to cities with children. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

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Erin | The Epicurean Traveler July 28, 2018 at 10:59 am

I’m actually sitting in an Airbnb rental as I type this comment. Like you, I often prefer a hotel, but sometimes staying at an Airbnb or similar vacation rental is the way to go. This weekend my boyfriend and I wanted to get away for our anniversary. In the Michigan lake towns even the motels are very pricey in summer. We realized we could find a nicer place to stay within our budget by using Airbnb. The space we are staying in was once an art gallery, and the artist has made a lot of the art and furniture in this gallery-turned-apartment. This place definitely has that character you mentioned. I’ve also used Airbnb to rent a cottage in Northern Michigan, an apartment in a cool Boston neighborhood, and a Laguna Beach place only a block walk to the beach! Sometimes it takes some searching, but you can find great spaces to rent on Airbnb with character that allow you to experience a destination much more like a local. Loved your post! #WeekendWanderlust

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Jill July 29, 2018 at 2:46 am

I agree with all your tips. I’ve stayed in a few air bnb’s – though I usually tend towards hotels – but as you’ve stated there are many reasons why to book an apartment, condo or house instead. In fact, right now I’m staying in an air bnb in Florida and it’s fantastic!

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Elaine Masters July 29, 2018 at 2:11 pm

I love staying in Airbnb places for all the reasons you mention and recently became a host myself. Being able to dip into local life is a perk you don’t get in a hotel and I could never afford a hotel equal to some of the places I’ve booked. I love the spots you’ve found and thing with Airbnb – new ones pop up weekly. Great post.

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Anda July 29, 2018 at 3:56 pm

I love staying in Airbnb or VRBO apartments. I had overall good experiences, although sometimes it happens to find a place that it’s not quite as pictured. Great tips! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Cynthia July 29, 2018 at 11:24 pm

Glad you have loved Airbnb so much! I agree with you – they are fantastic for so many reasons! Where I stay typically depends on what kind of trip I want, but to have a lower-cost holiday with excellent quality (often better than a hotel!) I usually choose Airbnb. The one thing to be aware of is the hosts (you can usually spot them) that rent out loads of apartments as they run a business from this. I believe this takes away the character of a neighborhood and doesn’t contribute positively to the area, although it can be avoided by knowing what kind of property it is – usually if it’s the only property a host has, they’re not participating in this kind of thing so it should be good to go.

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Urska | sliva July 30, 2018 at 12:55 am

Wow, what an amazing apartmant, really like it! You’re right sometimes it does have a sense to rent an apartment rather than book a hotel, especially for a bit longer stayings. I do the same thing, basically calculating the pros and cons of each staying.

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goblinette July 30, 2018 at 5:13 am

We were Airbnb hosts for a few years and we also love to use Airbnb when we travel. You found some amazing places to stay. We prefer Airbnb to hotels, since they usually cheaper and more personal. Since we started traveling with children, we have to think before booking a bit more, since some places are not as child friendly as they say they are …or we have an extra curious and adventurous toddler 🙂 I love the view from the Lake Tahoe place.

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Heather July 30, 2018 at 8:16 am

I can see why ARIBNB is so appealing to many people–I did it a few times in Lake Tahoe before moving there and it was super fun to stay in a cabin. Since I don’t go on vacation that often, I’m still partial to a hotel. I like the luxury of having my bed made and not having a kitchen makes me explore the surrounding area more often.

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Kat July 31, 2018 at 1:42 am

I like Airbnb rentals too – have stayed at a few places these last couple of years – but lately I’ve noticed that the prices have increased, almost the same as hotel rates. I guess it depends on the location, how many of you in a group, the surrounding neighbourhood and how unique the home is. Love the photos of your Airbnb rental and the neighbourhood 🙂 #TheWeeklyPostcard

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Beth July 31, 2018 at 10:53 am

Hi Sharon! You’ve touched on some of my top considerations when choosing an Airbnb. We have had mostly very positive experiences with the service, especially traveling in Europe with four kids. It definitely makes travel more affordable for us and with more room and with more dining options (kids will often choose to eat in while me and the hubs dine out!). I loved reading about your stays in two popular US destinations. I agree, character and neighborhood locations can really enhance a trip!

#FarawayFiles

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Nicole Hunter July 31, 2018 at 3:51 pm

You raise a lot of interesting points beyond the obvious “you get a kitchen”. At the moment, I prefer hotels. I think I have been permanently scarred by travelling with four kids and having to stay in some pretty grotty condos back when they were little before airbnbs! But, I do agree with your point about being able to get into some unique neighbourhoods. Where I live, hotels are all clustered downtown. There is barely any anywhere else. So, an airbnb would be the only way to really enjoy a different area like a local.

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Stephanie (1AdventureTraveler) August 2, 2018 at 6:39 am

Great points on the differences between Airbnb vs hotel. I finally tried Airbnb in Washington DC and loved it. Great experience and would try it again. Thanks for sharing. #feetdotravel

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Rob+Ann @TravelLatte(.net) August 3, 2018 at 8:19 am

So far, we’ve only stayed in one AirBnB that some friends booked in Nice, France. Must say, it was fantastic – very convenient and in the best location we could have hoped for! Though we enjoyed it, we are still partial to hotels for the amenities and reliable accommodations. It is an option we still explore, though. Thanks for linking up again with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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NurseBackpacker October 29, 2018 at 9:58 am

Great post and photos! I’ve never booked an Air BnB, but I’ve always been curious about them. Maybe for my next trip, I will look into this option! 🙂

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