Hotel or Airbnb? The decision can make or break a vacation. So is it better to stay on the safe side and pay up for a well-reviewed hotel or do you roll the dice and opt for the apartment that looks good in pictures, but lacks solid reviews? The answer hinges on two factors: One, what do you want from your accommodations? And two, where are you going?
The hotel vs. Airbnb comparison should begin with what each option offers. Hotels generally offer more services and cater to the not so “do it yourself” crowd. The sacrifices? Service comes with a price and the hotel atmosphere usually doesn’t provide much opportunity to share communal spaces with other guests. Airbnbs fill the communal space void, that is if you choose to share an apartment with other guests or with the host. Airbnbs are also tend to be less expensive. However, forget about folded towels. Plus, previous stay reviews may not be extensive, leaving you a little more in the dark as to what you might find upon arrival.
Choosing a hotel or an apartment for a travel stay should also involve some neighborhood research, especially when it comes to Airbnb searches. Hotels tend to be more centrally located and neighborhood research is pretty easy. Airbnbs may require a little more work. Plug the address into Google Maps and see if you can get a street view. Google the neighborhood name. If you’re concerned about safety and you’re searching in the U.S., sites like neighborhoodscout.com can give you a full breakdown of the neighborhood’s crime stats. The bottom line: knowing a neighborhood can tell you a lot about what you might find in an apartment.
Another factor to consider is that Airbnbs are often a great fall back plan when hotels fill up. For example, at SXSW, Austin hotel rooms quickly run out and Airbnbs become the best option. Not to mention, Airbnbs can provide a more authentic experience, depending on the neighborhood you choose.
So, before you choose between an Airbnb and hotel, ask yourself what you want and then get to know your neighborhood.