Hotels vs. Airbnb: Which is Better?
It is three in the morning in Miami Beach and we are wide awake. (And no, we are not coming back from the club.) If you know us well, you know this is not normal. We are both
wise old souls. We are that couple that goes to bed at 8:30pm on a Friday night. So why are we awake? We are wide awake because everyone else in the city is coming back from the club and apparently the only way they can walk home is on the sidewalk right outside our window.
It was at this moment that we wished we had just sucked it up and paid a few extra dollars to stay in a hotel in a less residential neighborhood! Why do we have to be so cheap!?
When traveling, there a lot of factors at play as to what make constitutes the best location to stay. Proximity to things to do, price, comfort, and safety are all just a few things worth considering before choosing accommodations. So which is better, hotels or airbnbs?
Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each.
Benefits of staying in a hotel:
- You know what you are going to get (usually)
- Increased availability
- Reward points
- There are health and cleanliness regulations (whether they abide by them or not may be a different story)
- Flexible check in and check out processes
- Amenities such as shuttles, breakfast, pools, etc.
Cons of Hotels
- Price/additional fees
- Are usually located in really touristy areas or with a bunch of other hotels
- immersed with tourists-no local vibe
Benefits of staying in an airbnb:
- Lower prices
- Really great prices for long term stays
- You can usually find locations closer to attractions and residential areas
- You are helping real people make money, not just huge hotel chains
Cons of Airbnb
- There are no health standards/cleanliness requirements
- Sometimes pictures can be misleading
- Residential areas can be noisy
- Can you really trust reviewers?!
- It is a little strange to sleep in somebody else’s house…
- In general, you just really are not sure what you are going to get
Okay, so looking at that list, we have a lot more cons for Airbnb than we do benefits… However, some of the benefits of Airbnb, such as lower long term prices, are pretty huge. We are willing to risk several cons just for that one benefit.
Which do we prefer?
Through extensive use of each service, we have come up with an answer.
We believe that hotels are better for short stays of 1-3 nights and that Airbnbs are better for long term stays.
Let us elaborate.
In our experience, it takes a few nights to feel completely comfortable in an Airbnb. This is usually because we are literally sleeping in a stranger’s house. That just feels strange to us. Second, every Airbnb we have ever stayed at usually has a lot of outside noises (remember Miami?) that we are not used to. We had partiers in Miami, homeless people in Denver, and fireworks in Puerto Vallarta. If plans include only staying at the apartment for a night or two, there is really no time to acclimate to the noises.
Hotels are typically located outside of residential areas and are sometimes several floors off the ground. Thus, we hardly experience weird noises waking us up in the middle of the night when we stay in a hotel. Also, nice to know there are regulations as to cleanliness and sanitary rules that must be followed in hotels.
Since Airbnbs are all so vastly different, so are the beds! There is really no way to know what the Airbnb bed will be like until arriving. (Yes-it seems we have had everything from a concrete mattress to water beds.) We can sleep on pretty much anything, but it takes some time to get used to a new bed. Hotel beds seem to be most similar to our bed at home, so we can fall right asleep!
Getting a good night of sleep is paramount to having a enjoyable vacation/trip. When staying in a hotel, knowing what bed and room will be like is fairly certain. It feels normal and routine. This helps adjust to the new environment and fall asleep much faster.
With that said, we prefer Airbnb locations if we are staying in a location for 4+ nights. Although there is usually more noise pollution, we can get used to it after a few days. That noise pollution is caused because we are staying in more residential areas. We have found that when we are visiting a city for a longer period of time, staying in a more walkable area of town is much more preferable. We are really able to feel the pulse of the city when staying in a neighborhood with many other locals.
Though the beds can be uncomfortable, and the overall accommodations can be questionable, we have never experienced anything that we could not get used to after a few nights sleep (knock on wood).
For instance, if traveling to Puerto Vallarta for just a few days, finding a hotel is probably the best option. It is convenient, you know what you are going to get, and it will probably be much more relaxing and stress free. However, if traveling for a week or more, staying in an Airbnb is by far your best option! Getting to meet some great people and most likely be located much closer to restaurants, coffee shops, and other great amenities for a long term stay-sounds like a perfect trip to me!
Hotels for short term stays
Airbnb for longer visits
Comment below and let us know which one you prefer!
Keep it Kinetic,
Greg and Hillary