Planning a vacation or just a weekend getaway can be a stressful task—from travel agents, booking reservations, and many more small and large details. One question soon-to-be-vacationers have is “where are we going to stay?” This question is often accompanied by a larger set of questions of which is the cheapest option, where is the best location for the trip, is this place pet-friendly, and many more. Two of the most popular options for vacation housing is Airbnb, a service where people lease or rent their homes for a short period of time, and of course hotels, a classic choice. With the rise of Airbnb popularity, people have begun to wonder what the deal is and why people often choose them over hotels.
The Battle of Amenities:
Hotels are known to be a part of the service industry. Staying at a hotel generally includes a room, television, in room temperature control, a full bathroom, a mini fridge, access to the hotel’s pool and hot tub, and sometimes even an exercise room. Complimentary breakfast is often serviced as well—and if staying at a higher end hotel, room service is available at the press of a button. For these reasons, hotels are known as a stress-free choice for travelers. The downfall of these amenities is they tend to be pretty pricey.
Airbnbs are a rather new and revolutionary option for those needing a place to stay during their trip. Opposite from hotels, an Airbnb is independently owned and each one is different than the next—making staying at an Airbnb in Texas and then New York, completely different than staying in a Marriot in Texas and then New York. Amenities vary from Airbnb to Airbnb, but they do have some general similarities. Wi-Fi availability, beds, towels, showers, and more often than not, a kitchenette, if not a full kitchen. Airbnb offers a more “homey” vibe, as guests are usually staying in the downstairs of somebody’s two story house, or someone’s main floor of a house while they are also out of town. While not all Airbnb’s are the same, https://www.airbnb.com/ allows guests to view amenities of certain homes and properties before they book their stay to assure their needs get taken care of. No, there is no room service, but if you’re lucky, Airbnb owners will sometimes share baked goods and food with guests staying in their house (this also gives guests an incentive to give their hosts a higher rating on the Airbnb website). Another plus of Airbnbs is the furnishing. Rather than sleeping on paper thin sheets with cardboard pillows, guest receive more comfortable and homey beds. Dressers, couches, desks, and other furniture is higher quality than that of a hotels– which is nice for those wanting an extended stay.
What your Wallet Wants:
The price difference between Airbnbs and hotels is often what makes globetrotters choose one over the other. While, yes, hotels offer expected complementary services (room cleaning, temperature control, etc.), they come with a way higher cost than that of an Airbnb establishment. When looking at the U.S. News and World Report ranking, the top hotel chains median prices range from about $145/night to $350/night. If travelers have money to blow, then a hotel could be an easy, consistent option for them.
For tourists who are pinching pennies, an Airbnb rental may be more up their alley. Although it depends on the destination and the amenities they want, Airbnb prices will generally be drastically lower than a hotels—assuming the traveler won’t be staying at the Breathtaking Estate with Garden and Pool in Beverly Hills, which has a rate of $900/night. The Airbnb website, www.airbnb.com , offers advanced search settings that allow users to easily find a place to stay within their price range, dates of travel, amount of guests, and more. Prices range from as low as $10/night to the median cost of about $78/night. There are plentiful options less than $78/night as well, still making Airbnb an even cheaper option than a hotel.
As mentioned before, hotels are a bit more consistent and regulated than Airbnbs, making their safety measures and precautions exceed that of the general Airbnb. When staying in a hotel, guests are handed a room key which accesses only their room, and sometimes a spa or workout room if the hotel has one. This ensures that no one, except hotel housekeeping services, will have access to your room during your stay. While there have been some instances of cleaning crews taking guests items when they are not in the room, this is still a fairly safe choice of housing—especially if you put up the “do not disturb” door knob hanger, telling housekeeping to skip your room when making their rounds.
Airbnbs are quite different than hotels in the realm of safety. Because their standards are less regulated than hotels, they are not always as safe. Not to say that guests will get mugged, but they may want to put their belongings in a small locker (if provided), and carry important belongings with them when leaving their Airbnb. When an Airbnb is booked, the guest will always receive a key to the front of the building/house/etc. This often works out well, but when there are multiple guests from different parties staying in one Airbnb, the chance of belongings being stolen increases. Some Airbnbs are run like hotels (i.e. an apartment building), so guests will be given keypad codes to enter the main door of the building, but then have individual keys for their own room—so if this is your course of action, be sure to lock your room! Keypad codes are generally changed every month or so to ensure guest safety (also giving the establishment a higher rating on the Airbnb website).
Before heading off on your next adventure, weigh your price point, wanted amenities, and safety check before booking your future reservations.