The Great Debate: Airbnb vs Hotel

The Great Debate: Airbnb vs Hotel

When booking a trip one of the main questions to answer is where to stay.  With a multitude of options this can be a difficult one to decide.  I’ve been asked the question as to whether I prefer hotels or Airbnb.  Entirely from my own perspective, here are the pros and cons of each!


We tend to favor the familiar, right?  The first hotel was opened in 1792.  That’s a pretty solid track record for a working system.  So where do they succeed? Where do they fall short?


  • Predictable: It doesn’t matter if you’re checking into a Motel 8 or The Ritz, there is a consistency factor throughout your stay in a hotel.  From the check in at the front desk, to the towels folded neatly in your bathroom, it is a fairly straightforward process wherever you go. If you’re a person who likes routine, you’ll bode well with a hotel stay over an Airbnb stay.
  • Instant booking: In a pinch for a place to stay last-minute?  9/10 times there will always be a hotel room available somewhere.  Airbnb often requires pre-approval and dates can book up quickly.
  • House Keeping/Room Service: Convenience, people.  Let’s face it, we can be slobs and maybe a bit high maintenance on vacation.  It helps to have someone tidy things up for us while we’re out exploring.   There is also something to be said for ‘breakfast in bed’ and that is literally a feasible reality in a hotel. I just can’t argue that.


  • (Generally) More Expensive: For all those pros listed above, you tend to pay for it.  Luxury and convenience come with a price tag.
  • Neighbors:  Unfortunately hotels have not mastered sound proof walls or halls.  Someone’s child working on becoming the next track star running laps up and down the hall? Annoying.  Bachelor group took the party out to the pool right outside your door at 4AM?  Too bad.
  • Basic: While boutique hotels are stepping up their game to provide a more unique experience for you, I think there is still a lot left to be desired.  More often than not the brochures provided by the hotel concierge are out dated and generic.  Today, the modern traveler isn’t looking for a one-size fits all approach; they want unique, personally-driven results.


In case you don’t already know, Airbnb is an online service that rents entire homes or private rooms to travelers.  Their concept is “a community built on trust.”  In a world lacking this concept, I have to say it’s refreshing.


  • Local guides:  90% of the time when asked why I book Airbnb more often than a hotel it’s because of the personalized services.   I’m giddy over the fact that many hosts provide me with a detailed map laying out the best local spots to grab dinner.  Beats a Yelp search every day of the week!  And when in a new city, nothing says welcome like a gift of local brews or delicious native wine to get the party started.  These small, but significant touches really leave an impact on a traveler. Your host is also available 24/7 in the event anything should occur during your stay!
  • Perfect for Large Groups: Traveling in a group of more than 4?  You’re going to need a few hotel rooms (unless you can afford the penthouse, sigh).  Bummer, right?  Not anymore.  With Airbnb, you can book entire homes allowing every one to be together and enjoy each other’s company.
  • More Reasonably Priced: Be sure to fully read a listing before booking as there can be hidden fees when the final price is tallied (cleaning fee, person fee, etc).  However, there is generally not a fluctuation in prices throughout the year which is an added benefit.  In addition, with the private room options you can really get some serious bang for your buck if you’re on a budget!


  • Cancellation policy:  Be sure to read the cancellation policies as they differ from host to host.  Often you’ll lose out on money if you have booked a strict cancellation and something happens last minute.  Also, I have read stories of last minute cancellations on the host side, but I think this is rare!
  • No loyalty program:  Points are like gold.  Room upgrade?  Free water and warm cookie upon arrival (yes, I’m a HiltonHonors member).  There really isn’t a loyalty program like this.  You can, however, get money for referring a friend to Airbnb.  Better than nothing.  So, about that…  Sign up for Airbnb and get a $40 credit (hey, a girl’s gotta travel):
  • Security/Safety:  I add this as a con only because so many people bring it up as an issue.  It’s a strange concept, I know.  We are communicating with complete strangers, sometimes half a world away.  We have no idea who we will see on the other side of that door until the moment it opens. But how great that we can still have faith in humanity?  Yes, it’s a risk.  But what is life without it?

I’m curious, are you team Airbnb or team Hotel?  Why?  I want to hear your thoughts on the subject! Until next time, friends.





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Haley Milan

Consumed by wanderlust, fueled by coffee, determined to live a minimalist lifestyle and collect moments, not things. Join me on my travels and an every day life of simplicity!

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