I’m quite surprised at myself for the case I made for hostels in Part 1 of this post here to be honest but it is what it is. Now, let’s move on to Airbnbs (which I use most often) and hotels in this post.
Airbnbs (or vacation home rentals of any kind)
Back to my Philippines trip, after leaving Coron Island, I headed for Boracay. Boracay is the most popular island in the Philippines and it has the reputation of being tourist central and party central, while boasting of some of the most beautiful sunsets you’ll ever see. In Boracay, I wanted to relax and do my own thing, and just have some peace and quiet. I wanted to see two sides of the island (Station 1 and Station 3), but I also wanted a bit of pampering after ‘roughing’ it in Coron. So what did I do? I stayed at an Airbnb for three nights on one side of the Island and a hotel for the last two nights on the other side. Just like that, mission accomplished!
Pros for Airbnb
- Airbnbs are generally more spacious than hotels so they’re especially great for families and groups. My Airbnb in the Philippines was MASSIVE and would have easily fit four people. I also had a large terrace, which I wouldn’t have gotten at a hotel in my price range
- With groups, and often for solo travelers, Airbnb ends up being significantly cheaper than hotels (per person)
- If you have a family, are staying long term, or would like to save money you often have the option of cooking and doing laundry in the comfort of your accommodation.
- You might befriend your host (I’ve befriended a host or two in the past and it’s pretty great). I’m still in touch with my host from Saigon, Vietnam
- In many cases, you get a little of local flavor due to your location or personal recommendations of your host
The Case Against Airbnb (or vacation home rentals)
- You will not get waited on like you would at a hotel so do not explain daily cleaning and such
- Some hosts (few and far between) might be nit picky unnecessarily
- Some travelers are just not comfortable at the thought of staying in someone else’s home
The Airbnb in Boracay was EXACTLY what I needed. It was a five minute walk from the beach yet felt secluded. It was cleaned daily and the housekeeper was the sweetest lady (she wants me to come back with my husband). I had a beautiful massive terrace with ocean views and the hugest bathroom with a fully equipped kitchen that I did not use. Clearly, I dig Airbnbs.
I’ve stayed in Airbnbs in Puerto Rico, Mexico (Amazing), Madrid, Vietnam (best host), Lisbon (Chic apartment), Porto, Lagos Portugal (nice with private pool), Bermuda, Barcelona, Paris, Belfast, Iceland, Copenhagen, London, Prague, Vienna (amazing hostess with free portable wifi), and Philippines.
Last but definitely not least, hotels! After three nights at the Airbnb, I went to a hotel for the last two nights. I also got the hotel on the cheapest days (price was reduced from Saturday to Monday) so I ended up paying about the same for Airbnb and hotel at about $55 per night. I’m not going to list all the hotels I’ve stayed in all over the world, but I’ve had a range of hotel experiences from Motels to 5 star luxury (haha, I’m quite adaptable to different conditions).
The Case for Hotels
- This is the most luxurious option so you get to live your best life and someone cleans up after you daily. The level of comfort and service will depend on your specific hotels. The level of comfort and service is the main factor here, need I say more?
- You know exactly what you’re getting based on your own selection process
- If you’re one to look up reviews, hotels tend to have lot and lots of reviews to help you make a decision
- Most hotels have parking (even if you have to pay in big cities)
The Case Against Hotels
- This is generally the most expensive option
- Less opportunities to interact with other travelers or locals
- Less space compared to Airbnb when traveling with a group
To be honest, I enjoy the luxury of having my room cleaned, and room service being available when I want. I stayed at a newer Boutique hotel which I loved and the service was excellent. Boutique hotels are often cheaper and offer personal touch that big chains sometimes lack. They welcomed me with a hot towel and a smoothie and we were off to a great start. However, I can skip that to save some money sometimes. I do not like hotels for girlfriend trips as the group ends up being somewhat divided up. What’s the fun in that? I guess adjoining rooms could work.
My Final Verdict
So which is best of all three? Currently I’m team Airbnb but I use all three options depending on the trip. There are some dreamy villas in Thailand on airbnb that look straight out of a magazine that I’ve saved. For business trips, I book hotels 100% of the time because I’m not paying (haha!) but I rack up points and then save them for personal trips. My sister on the other hand is an ajebo (aka high maintenance – although I don’t know where she got it from) and is team hotels all day any day! The best is what works for YOU, and your budget in the city you’re traveling to. Consider the pros and cons of each, your specific trip, and don’t dismiss any without looking into it.
What team are you on? Share in comments below!