There's some mixed opinion about which one is better for accommodation: hotel vs Airbnb. I know some of my friends who would strongly recommend Airbnb for many reasons. Some even make their side income as the landlord to rent their property through the platform.
I also know some other people who would still go for the conventional way to book a hotel room. Their reasons could vary, from being blatantly skeptical about staying at some random stranger's property to just taking the easy way to choose an accommodation.
In this post, I'm going to share the pros and cons of choosing one over the other. After traveling for both short-term and long-term trips in the past few years, I think it's time for me to update my experiences both ways.
Whether you choose to book a hotel or accommodation through Airbnb, I think each has its own advantage depending on your preferred way to travel. Here are some intakes from me regarding hotel vs Airbnb!
Hotel vs Airbnb
The first thing I heard about Airbnb was when my friend recommended me to the platform, he said it was super affordable compared to hotels. I think it was a few years ago when I didn't really get a chance to try the platform to see if what he said was right.
It was only during my birthday trip to Bangkok when I finally gave Airbnb a chance. But at the time, my booking was canceled by the host as the landlord informed me that the apartment had already been booked for the date of my arrival in Bangkok.
I finally got a chance to successfully book a room through Airbnb during my Borneo trip. After that, I stayed at an Airbnb a few times. One time in JB with my then boyfriend, and the other time in Bogor when I was visiting my late dear friend of mine, Taufan. For my last trip to Turkiye and Serbia, I booked accommodation to stay there for a month through Airbnb as well.
When I don't book accommodation through Airbnb, I usually rely on some hotel booking platforms like Agoda and Traveloka. And here are some pros and cons regarding whether you better book a hotel or an Airbnb when you travel!
You better book a hotel over Airbnb if…
You may wonder whether a hotel room is better for you when traveling. Well, I have to say that staying at a hotel over Airbnb has its own perks in some conditions. Here are a few reasons why a hotel room is probably a better choice for your travel accommodation!
1. You travel solo for a short term.
The downside of traveling solo is that even though you travel on a budget, there are times when you realize that you could get a lot of things for a lower price when you travel with a partner. And one of them would be for accommodation.
I'm quite price-sensitive when it comes to the thing I do or the place that I visit when I travel. I'd rather skip it if I find it too expensive.
And when it comes to accommodation, there's a bigger chance that you could find cheaper accommodation on a hotel booking platform than on Airbnb if you travel for only a few days. Not to mention that hotels usually offer various types of rooms that you could opt, based on your preference.
From a bunk bed in a hostel to a 5-star hotel room, you could choose almost any type of accommodation there. From a solo traveler's point of view, the flexibility to choose suitable accommodation when you travel alone is relatively high on the hotel booking platform.
2. You travel to a place where Airbnb is illegal.
This is why it's important to do your research first before your choose your accommodation these days. Everything is so easy, but you could get into an illegal activity without knowing it for a nick of time, like booking a room through Airbnb in countries like Japan or Singapore.
Now there's a joke about how Singapore is a fine country. It is where everything you do can cause you to pay fine, and you could get fined for a small thing like chewing gum. And hey, in addition to this… You could also get fined by booking a room through Airbnb.
Due to the tax issues in some countries, sometimes it's better to just book a hotel room than risk yourself getting into a legal issue overseas for cheaper accommodation. Now, I know hotels in countries like Singapore or Japan are super expensive, but trust me… Getting fined for it could be much higher than just a few nights' stay in a hotel. Or worse, if you get in prison for it because the last thing you want is to have a criminal record during your holiday!
3. You're looking for all-in-one facilities for your stay.
Hotels or even hostels usually provide complimentary breakfast that could help you save some bucks when you travel.
The advantage is that at least you don't have to spend extra to find a local breakfast elsewhere since you can have it for free in your hotel. Even if you feel adventurous and you're in the mood to enjoy the local delicacy for breakfast, you can easily skip it for a day without losing any money.
If you have the budget to stay at a 5-star hotel, most likely, you can also take advantage of their breakfast buffet to give you the energy to explore the city for the day. It's a win-win, and you don't even have to prepare anything on your own for it!
Not to mention that some hotels also have gyms and swimming pools in their public facilities, which makes it a convenient place to stay if you don't want to skip exercise during your holiday. On top of that, their housekeeping service is also another advantage if you don't want to do your own errands during your entire stay.
You better book an Airbnb over a hotel if…
I have to admit that I'm not exactly a fan of Airbnb. From a user's point of view, I don't really find it user-friendly compared to other booking platforms. In addition to that, their currency options are limited so as an Indonesian, unless I book an Airbnb in Indonesia, I will not be able to use Indonesian rupiahs for the currency of my payment.
However, choosing Airbnb for your accommodation can be a good option in a few conditions. Here we go!
1. You're a digital nomad looking for a place for your long-term stay.
If you're a digital hobo who keeps on the move around the world, Airbnb can be a good choice to pick accommodation for your stay. With their weekly and monthly rent discount, booking a place to stay through Airbnb can save you a few bucks compared to other booking platforms like Booking.com or Agoda. This is most suitable for digital nomads or those of you who have the flexibility to travel long-term as remote worker.
Nowadays, some accommodations on Airbnb give you a cancelation guarantee which makes it more secure to confirm your booking, even if it's for a long-term stay. However, one of the downsides of booking an Airbnb for a long-term stay is sometimes properties also require you to pay the electrical and utility fees separately.
Make sure to contact your Airbnb host first before confirming the booking through Airbnb. Some of them sometimes let you book outside the platform, which can be more beneficial since the hosts don't have to pay a commission to Airbnb.
2. You're looking for a temporary home where you can experience the local life at its finest.
Hotels with their all-in-one facilities sure do have their own perks, but you can always turn your accommodation into a temporary home when you book an apartment through Airbnb.
Depending on the type of Airbnb that you book for your accommodation, but most Airbnb properties come with a kitchen that enables you to make your own food sometimes. There are many reasons to learn how to cook, and sometimes having a proper kitchen in your apartment motivates you to do so.
Even better if you book a property with other facilities like a washing machine or dryer, which could save you a lot of bucks instead of going to the nearest laundromat. With these “homey” facilities, Airbnb is a great choice for you if you're looking for somewhere steady to stay at a much more affordable price compared to the hotels.
Some Airbnb properties are also located in areas that are a bit farther from the major touristic spots. While it can be seen as cons for some people, it also gives you some perks for staying at such Airbnb property.
First of all, the properties that are not located in the city center tend to be much cheaper than those with a good location. On top of that, it is also an excellent opportunity if you're keen to experience life as a local to the fullest.
By staying a little bit farther from the city center, you'll get to find access to popular spots by taking public transportation from where you stay. And you can even experience the local life by exploring the hidden gems around your place, where they go for groceries, and even try to practice the local language to communicate with them.
3. You travel in a group.
One of the good things about booking an Airbnb is that there are many properties suitable for group travelers. From a regular house that could fit up to 4 guests to a luxury villa that could be occupied by up to 10 guests, you can find various types of Airbnb in different price ranges.
When you're a travel organizer that arranges a trip with a group, Airbnb allows you to offer cheaper accommodation if you bring a big group on the trip. Even better if you set the trip with the purpose of a group-bonding because sharing accommodation can give you a chance to reach that goal!
So, those are some pros and cons of staying in a hotel and Airbnb. Which one do you prefer for your travel? Any good or bad experiences when you stay at a hotel vs Airbnb? Share in the comment below, and cheerio!
Marya The BeauTraveler
I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.
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