Tips for Holiday Travel: Short-term Rentals versus Hotel Stays
It seems that the travel bug has bitten everyone. Both perennial favorites and hidden gems of destinations are seeing an all-time high number of visitors. And thanks to better technology, fulfilling your wanderlust has never been easier, including finding the best place to stay.
After all, it’s not all fun and games; sometimes you need to lay your head down and recharge for the next day’s adventure.
Today, tourists aren’t limited to just hotels when it comes to lodging. Short-term rental homes, more popularly known as Airbnb and named after the relevant website/app, are also growing in popularity among tourists, and for good reasons.
Why Stay in a Short-term Rental Home
In this section, Airbnb refers to a home, room, or any unused space or accommodation that is rented out by its owner (also called the host) to other people, most notably travelers. The website/app has a massive database of these spaces in different locations.
Short-term rentals are usually cheaper compared to hotels mainly because the same convenience and luxury that hotels offer aren’t always present here. Hosts don’t regularly provide other amenities and services similar to hotels, though they are required to disclose additional costs like cleaning fees if they do offer it.
Also, since hosts choose how much to charge per night, prices aren’t always a good deal; it can get ridiculously high sometimes. Another downside is you’re not assured of the safety of the home and its location. Airbnb does not have the same strict health and safety regulations that hotels do.
However, if you can find an excellent rental home for your next adventure, here are some of the benefits you can enjoy.
- Rentals often have more intimate and authentic touches that give it a “home away from home” feel.
- Since payment is usually determined by the number of nights stayed and not by the number of people, an entire home can be rented out by a family or big group, but this is also favorable to solo travelers.
- Some short-term rentals come with a kitchen, so you can save money by eating in instead of going out. Shopping for your ingredients can give you a peek at the local scene.
- Some hosts may serve as your local guide and suggest where to go in town to better experience culture.
- Airbnb is a secured website. It will first hold payments for reservations for 24 hours and will only grant it to the host if nothing goes wrong. According to the site, “accommodations should meet minimum quality standards regarding safety, access, and cleanliness, and should be consistent with the description provided by the host,” otherwise the payment can be refunded.
Why Stay in a Hotel
When it comes to luxury and familiarity, though, nothing beats hotels. You know exactly what you’re getting when you stay at a hotel, and that’s quality service and comfort, like 24/7 check-in and bellhop services, airport transfer, housekeeping, and toiletries, to name a few.
These comforts come with a price, though. A business running 24/7 means incurring overhead costs and additional staff wages. So, if you need something cheaper or are traveling with a large group, this option may not be the best, budget-wise.
If funds aren’t an issue for you, here are some of the things you can enjoy with your hotel stay.
- It can better cater to your needs, as amenities are either at hand already or a simple phone call away. This makes it a better alternative when traveling with children.
- Hotels are usually near landmarks, commercial strips, and other locations perfect for sightseeing.
- Best for people who only need a place for a night and are on a tight schedule
- Can be an alternative if there are no available cheap rentals on the preferred location, and if you don’t need a kitchen on the duration of stay
- 24/7 check-in can come in handy if your flight or arrival is very late at night; you don’t need to look for the hotel unlike with rentals, as public transportation or Uber rides are usually more familiar with hotel addresses.
Hotels are legally required to adhere to strict safety protocols for the safety of its guests.
Hopefully, by now, you’ve already decided on your preferred lodging for your next trip. If not, you can always research before coming to a decision. Take your time to read reviews and look at photos of your potential rental home or hotel to learn if their quality and security are up to your standards. Don’t let horrible lodging ruin your travels.
Christina is a Content Strategist from Hoppler. She’s also a part-time lifestyle writer. She likes anything related to arts, interior designs, and real estate.
Do you travel during the holidays or at other times of the year? What is your preferred lodging style? Let us know in a comment below.
I love hotels myself, but I can see the benefit of a rental. Often we stay in condos for longer stays which is nice for the kitchen aspect.
I like hotels too Pam. Somehow, they just seem easier most of the time.
Our preferred lodging style is to rent a home. It allows us to cook our meals that are very specific. A home also is quiet and we are able to sleep. At a hotel we hear people walking down the halls to their room or moving furniture.
Noise in the hallways, or from the rooms next door, is a definite distraction. I would love to try renting a home but since I generally travel by myself, it doesn’t always make sence. Maybe if the family comes with me next time, I can rent a home instead.
Only had one AirBnB experience so far and it was mediocre. Good points in the article and I will definitely try again.
I have reserved several AirBnB places but something has come up each time and I had to cancel. I’m hoping to give that option a try soon myself.
Great article, food for thought when planning our next trip!
Thanks Kristin! I hope you found some useful information for planning your next trip.
Both have great benefits. When I am looking to be pampered it is a hotel all the way. When I want to feel like i live there I get a rental. I love them both!
Good point! Both options have benefits.
We’ve never stayed in a home, only hotels and resorts. I would really like to do the home rental someday, just to experience the difference.
I’ve stayed in condo rentals several time when visiting the coast. Fun times and all the ameniites we needed for beach living were included.
I just stayed in my first Airbnb last week. It ended up being a great experience. Your point about the quiet is a good one. My room at the Airbnb was very quiet and I slept amazingly well. No loud talkers in the hallways, no dinging of the elevator, no slamming doors.
That’s great to hear Sheila. I’m glad you had a wonderful first AirBnB experience.
I love hotels, it’s just easier for us. But we have stayed at airBnBs. I always do my research when we do because of the location and safety.
I agree, safety and location are important considerations, Phyllis.
We just stayed in our first airbnb and loved it. the convenience of a kitchen and space was awesome. Great post comparing.
Thanks Alison. I’m glad you had a good first AirBnB experience.
We’ve considered rentals in the past, but just haven’t crossed that line yet. I do see the benefits, though.
Hotels are easier for me but the space and home-like feel of a rental would sway me over if all else was equal.
I’ve never stayed at an Airbnb but my sister has just come back from 3 months in Europe & loved Airbnb’s over there cause it worked out so much cheaper!
That’s good to know Jaimi!
As the mother of a larger family this is always a consideration for us, I prefer hotels mostly due to better locations but we are now mostly required to book 2 rooms as we have 3 kids. That also means double the cost for accommodation. We will soon be moving towards more Airbnb stays in the future I think because it just makes travel unaffordable when having to pay for 2 rooms.
Agreed, Sally. Paying for two rooms would be out of the question for me.