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So you’re heading on vacation and you’re stuck on whether to choose a short-term rental or a hotel. Both options offer a very different experience that can enhance your trip, with hotels providing a greater sense of luxury and better locations, and vacation rentals providing more privacy, better value, and a chance to ‘live like a local’. We’re here to help with the lowdown on short term rentals vs hotels.

By Nik Lanus


Be Pampered

If you want to kick back and feel pampered on holiday, a hotel is the best choice for you. Hotels offer a service that you can’t get in vacation rentals, where you can speak to a concierge, find out about the best nearby restaurants and landmarks, request a cab booking service, and arrange shuttle transportation to the airport. It means you can relax and be more ‘hands-off’ on your vacation. For many travelers, this feels a lot more like a vacation than being in a home rental planning daily activities and transport by yourself. 

By Dmitriy Alaev

Hotel Chains

The good thing about a hotel chain is that you know what you’re getting. Many chains are known for their clean, simple rooms, attentive service, and speedy WiFi. You’ll often be provided with a simple, yet delicious breakfast in the morning and can add additional services onto your booking, such as dry cleaning and room service. Hotel chains are usually a safe option.

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Good Service

The hotel industry thrives on good reviews and so most places strive for a high level of service. The good thing about staying in a hotel is that if you have a complaint — for example if your room is located on a loud street and it’s hard for you to sleep — you can often ask to be moved to another room. Sometimes you might even be upgraded. This is something that a short-term rental cannot offer.

By Random Institute


When booking a hotel, the location is one of the most important things for many travelers. You can often find a much wider selection of hotels that are right in the heart of the city center or the most popular areas than compared to the location of vacation rentals.

Business Travel

Staying in a hotel makes a lot more sense for a business traveler. You can check-in to a hotel with no fuss, while with a home rental, you’ll have to do things like meet with the owner, get the keys, take a mini-tour of the rental, and figure out how the stove works. Staying in a hotel offers a much more streamlined experience, meaning you have more time to fit in work.

By Runnyrem

Short-Term Rentals


One of the best things about vacation rentals is the privacy you’ll have when on vacation. Sometimes greeting staff in a hotel can be a bit tiring, and in a vacation rental, you can just come and go as you please, without rules about entry times or having to make small talk. If you’re not feeling in a social mood, you don’t have to speak to anyone at all.

Vacation rentals have private common areas, which means you can spread out and feel like you’re much more at home than when in a hotel. You’ll have total privacy without having to interact with other guests or abide by hotel rules. If you want to stay up drinking and chatting with friends in the living room area, you can do so until the sun comes up. 

Home From Home

Vacation Rental sites such as Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway give you the chance to feel like you’re staying in a ’home from home.’ While hotels, apart-studios, and hostels look great in photos, they can often feel “clinical” and lack that something special you get in a cozy, private home rental. In a vacation rental, you can lounge around as you want, walk from room to room as you please, and fully unwind in the property. 

By Brian Babb

Feel Like a Local

Staying in a vacation rental lets you see your destination through the eyes of a local. It gives you the opportunity to stay in local areas, and get a true sense of what it would really be like to live there. Staying in residential neighborhoods means you can really get to know a neighborhood that’s more off the beaten track, find hidden gems in the city, and maybe even find inspiration to live there in the future.

Enjoy the Whole Space of a Rental

Vacation rentals offer much more space than a hotel, which is ideal for people traveling together. There are often common areas, kitchens, and outside areas. They are a much better option for a family or group of friends.

By Kelsey Chance

Save Money

It usually works out a lot cheaper to rent a vacation home than it is to stay in a hotel. You can sometimes rent a whole house for half the price it would be to stay in a hotel room — which means a lot of extra cash for fun activities on your vacation! When staying in a rental you can stock up on food supplies and cook for yourself, so you don’t have to rely on eating out and spending more. Doing a mixture of cooking at the rental and eating out can save you money, without impacting on the vacation experience. If you’re really counting every last dollar, you can also stay in a room in a vacation rental.

Cities Where Short-Term Rentals are Illegal

It’s worth bearing in mind that many cities in the world are clamping down on the vacation rental industry. Since the arrival of short-term vacation rental platforms, cities have found it increasingly difficult to control rent prices. This is because property owners or property managers can make a lot more money by renting their home short-term than by renting to residents looking for long-term housing. Some of the cities with the strictest policies in the world include Singapore, where it’s illegal to list properties for a rental period of fewer than three months and New York where it’s illegal to rent an apartment or condo there for less than 30 days, with very few exceptions to this rule.

By John T
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