Over the past few months, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve been going on lots of shorter breaks, rather than week-long getaways. This not just because of my lack of holiday days, but also because I will always go for the cheaper option if it means I get the opportunity to explore a new country.
When looking for cheaper breaks, I usually find that Air BnB rentals and hotels are the best option price wise, so this is what the majority of my breaks have been this year.
When it comes to which is best though, I really don’t know if I can pick.
There is no right answer for ‘which is best’ as everyone’s priorities are different whether it’s location, safety, comfort or even cost – everyone has their own preferences when it comes to travel.
They definitely both have their good and bad points, so I thought I’d break it down to help you decide which is best for you…
In the majority of the places I’ve been this year, Airbnb has always been the cheaper option (the exceptions being Amsterdam and Paris, which was a package deal). Although you don’t get the option to go all inclusive or even have a cheeky continental breakfast in the morning, the cost doesn’t seem comparable.
Put it this way, the most I’ve spent on an Airbnb this year is around £30 a night. The least, £14 a night. That’s incredible when you’re trying to book a weekend getaway on a budget.
When it comes to solo travel, Airbnb can also be a great way to avoid an ‘extra person charges’. Schofields Insurance carried out a survey with 1000 solo travellers that showed 74% of the people that booked an Airbnb, booked it to avoid charges for not having and extra person staying with them.
Where hotels have been the cheapest option I have still managed to get some absolute bargains. Our hotel in Amsterdam was beautiful and a steal considering it was close to central and such a quirky fun hotel. Our Paris hotel, which was part of a package deal, was also pretty well priced for four nights as I think after shopping around for quite a while we managed to get a four-star hotel for around £20 a night each. Not bad considering we were in the city of love.
I think when it comes to cost it really does boil down to what is most important to you at the time and for me, it’s always the cheapest option. Since booking shorter breaks I haven’t stayed anywhere I wouldn’t stay again, so it’s definitely all about shopping around and looking at all your options.
The locations I’ve had with my Airbnb’s have always been incredibly close to the main centre, even when paying less than what you would for a hotel a little further out. I think the whole ‘staying in somebody else’s property’ aspect dramatically decreases the price of accommodation, even when in the city centre.
I have to admit though, both apartments I stayed at in Wroclaw were seconds away from the main town and it was a godsend being able to go back to the room to refresh and head straight back out again. We even popped back once to go to the loo when we couldn’t find any public toilets in the main square…
Whenever hotels have been the cheaper option it has never been one that is in the city centre, for me anyway. Although the hotels have always been stunning, they’ve had the added hassle of having to catch a train every time we wanted to go somewhere.
I particularly struggled in Paris where if I wanted to take a break I had to sit down somewhere for something to eat because it was far too wet to sit outside. Paris is expensive as it is, without all the added stops.
If this is your kinda thing then I say go for it. You can even send pictures of your photoshopped Eiffel Tower view to your friends. (May or may not have happened IRL).
If you’re comparing location with cost, then Airbnb will 100% win this round. However, if cost isn’t an issue I would hands-down say I would have been staying in some of the most beautiful central hotels, believe me.
If you’re willing to pay a little more you can get some pretty incredible Airbnb rentals. This includes renting out awesome properties such as boats, castles and treehouses. Uhm, yes, please?
However if like most people, you’re sticking to a budget, then Airbnb’s are pretty standard when it comes to quality.
Admittedly you can get much more room in a rental apartment than a hotel, you don’t always get that ‘staying away from home’ feeling that is oh so sweet when travelling.
I love the quality of a nice hotel and as my boyfriend has a ‘nothing less than four-star’ rule, I usually end up staying somewhere that’s pretty decent. Similar to Airbnb, you do have hotels that are budget, so depending on your priorities when it comes to booking a break, hotels may be your go to for accommodation!
I’m starting to notice a pattern here – everything boils down to your personal preference. If you want cheap and cosy, Airbnb is a clear winner. For luxury and a little extra, book a swanky hotel.
Safety wise an Airbnb is as safe as your own home would be, particularly if you’re staying in a ‘whole house’ apartment. As long as you lock up and pack away your valuables you’re pretty safe.
You host is always pretty close by if you experience any difficulties when it comes to safety, so if worse comes to worse and do have an issue you can always give them a call.
Personally, I think a hotel is a little bit safer than an Airbnb as you have the option to use a safe to look up your valuables, as well as the added security on reception. If anything terrible were to happen, it would be caught on one of the hotels many security cameras.
I’ve yet to feel unsafe in a hotel, but I can’t say the same for Airbnb as some of the buildings I’ve stayed in haven’t given off the best impressions from the outside.
When it comes to customer service I have dealt with some pretty incredible Airbnb hosts. I love that they’re just a text or phone call away and always make sure you’re having the best possible stay.
They’ll do as much as they can to make you feel at home and ensure you have the best possible time, including giving you tips on the best places to visit, where to eat out and any local events. It’s like having your own personal tour guide!
I’ve also found that Airbnb hosts are so accommodating when it comes to ‘checking in and out’ and I’ve always been allowed to enter the property earlier than planned, and leave a little later than scheduled. Super helpful for those times you don’t want to lug your suitcase around with you.
Hotel desks are incredibly welcoming and helpful, 80% of the time. I have had experiences with rude hotel staff and sometimes I think it can ruin a whole experience. I don’t think they’re as willing to help or as friendly as sometimes the impression they give off doesn’t directly affect them, as instead, it’s the hotel rating, not their personal one.
For the ultimate customer service experience, Airbnbs are the way forward as I don’t think I’ve ever heard any stories of a bad host. You don’t get as much of a welcoming feeling from staff at a standard hotel, so if that’s what you’re after it might be worth giving an Airbnb a try.
I think overall, Airbnb are great for people that want something cheap, cosy and close to the centre. They’re a great option for larger groups of people as you can book whole apartments with multiple rooms, with the added bonus of having a kitchen and dining area for group meals.
With hotels, I think it all comes down to value for money for me. I do like to stay in them for the luxury and comfort, but if it’s cheaper and closer to stay in an Airbnb, I 100% will. If there are added perks (like a spa or all inclusive) then I may be persuaded to book a hotel instead.
Plus, you can get some pretty swanky Airbnb rentals for incredible prices too.
What do you prefer? Airbnb or hotels?