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.
I 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.
I 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.
Here, 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.
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.
The 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.
It 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.
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.
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