Should you choose a hotel or an Airbnb for your next trip?

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One of the many decisions you have to make when traveling is: Airbnb or hotel? Although you are likely to consider the obvious, such as location, availability and price, there are many other factors that can affect your experience.

Of course, if the final bill is the only thing that matters to you, you can simply choose the accommodation that is cheapest per night – although you should still consider related expenses such as eating every meal out or paying to park in a hotel versus extras like Airbnb cleaning fees and taxes.

Ultimately, the choice comes down to what you value when you travel, so here are some things to consider when weighing your options.

When should you stay in a hotel instead of Airbnb?

After all, there are many benefits to staying in a hotel over an Airbnb or other property, from quality to flexibility. Here is when a hotel may be the better option for you.

You live for a short time or just need a place to sleep

Hotels can be cheaper (and less effortful) than Airbnbs for one or two nights. In addition, travelers often choose one Airbnb for the feel of the place and a desire to hang out during downtime. If all you need is a bed and you otherwise do not plan to spend time there, a hotel may be preferable to rent.

You will not have any extra responsibility

When you stay in a hotel, just show up, stay and go. With an Airbnb or other rental, there are usually minor cleaning tasks, such as running the dishwasher and taking out the trash, to do before checkout. There are complaints longer to-do lists required by hosts despite cleaning fees — and Failure to follow a host’s strict rules can result in a bad review.

You will appreciate the hotel facilities and quality control

If you enjoy access to the pool, fitness center, on-site dining and concierge services, as well as daily housekeeping, a hotel may be the best option. In addition, you will probably have a more consistent and predictable experience with a well-known chain hotel.

While many Airbnb hosts are very responsive to guest needs, you may be less likely to encounter maintenance issues that cannot be resolved in a hotel.

You have hotel reward points

Hotel loyalty programs and travel rewards credit cards offer benefits like free nights, room upgrades and free meals, which can save you money and add value to your stay.

You need a flexible cancellation policy

Hotels often charge for late cancellations (for example, within 24 hours of check-in), but many Airbnb hosts have much more restrictive policies. The strictest requires cancellation within 48 hours of booking, no matter how far the stay is planned – otherwise you are on the hook for anything from 50% to 100% of the cost.

In addition, hotels do not cancel you at the last minute.

When should you stay on Airbnb instead of hotels

The main arguments for Airbnb, on the other hand, come down to comfort and value.

You travel with a large group

In terms of both cost and comfort, Airbnb is often a better option for larger groups. For example, it can be more expensive to pay for a handful of hotel rooms than to rent a home that sleeps a dozen people. In addition, you are more likely to have open and shared space to hang out, cook and spend time together.

Note that Airbnb and individual hosts have rules about parties and guest numbers, so this is not an entertaining free one for everyone.

You stay longer

Not only will a home be more comfortable if you stay for days or weeks, but Airbnb hosts sometimes offer lower rates for long-term guests. Airbnbs often have washers and dryers also for washing clothes during long stays. Actual stays lasting a week or longer make up about half of all booked Airbnb nights.

You prefer a home environment and amenities, including kitchen access

Again, Airbnb will probably feel more like home, especially if you rent the entire space instead of a private room. If you want to cook, have a separate living room or enjoy outdoor access, an Airbnb is probably a better option.