Hotels Versus Airbnb

Often when you go away on holiday, one of the most important questions is where you’re going to stay. For us, we want somewhere that’s central, not too pricey, and comfortable and clean. We feel like it’s important to check out all your options before you visit somewhere, and find the option that’s best for you for whichever trip you’re going on. So, we always think it’s a good idea to check out both hotels and Airbnbs. There are many reasons to choose either one, and today we’d like to talk about them. This isn’t a post pitting one against the other – both accommodations have their pros and cons. We’ve stayed in some beautiful hotels and Airbnbs, and we’ve staying in some rather dire hotels and Airbnbs.  It’s just about finding what’s right for you, and bear in mind that can change from trip to trip.

First up, hotels. For most of us they’re the more familiar of the two, and many people would automatically gravitate towards them. The idea of a hotel is well established in our minds, when you book one you generally know what you’re getting. They’re generally easier to find when you arrive in a new location, especially if you get a taxi and don’t speak the language. They’re perfect for those of us who love to book an early flight so we can kick off exploring a new destination right away, because even if you’re room isn’t ready, there’s normally a storage room to drop your bag off in. Hotels are also great as there tends to always be someone there if you have an issue, or need something for your room. They also tend to feel more secure, although this isn’t saying that they are. We also think they’re great as they often have a bar and restaurant on sight. This makes them perfect if you can’t be bothered venturing out, or if you want somewhere to go back to for a nightcap before bed.

Hotels are great, and can be perfect, especially for a shorter stay. However, they’re not without their negative points. Often they are part of a chain, and can begin to feel generic and duplicated in style. While we know this isn’t a massive issue, it is something we think it worth pointing out. Also, depending on the style of hotel, they can attract loud and disruptive crowds of people, such as stag or hen parties. This means they’re not great if you like to get an early night, or wake up early. They’re also not ideal if you can’t afford to eat out for all three meals, as they don’t allow for self-catering. It’s always handy having small kitchen facilities to whip up something for breakfast and lunch, even if it’s just a small fridge and some cutlery and crockery for cereal and sandwiches.

Next up is the relatively new Airbnb. We had never stayed in one until we went on our honeymoon to Italy, and then we stayed in three back to back. Because it was our first time, and our honeymoon, we were a little bit apprehensive. However we’ve found them to be a pleasant experience for the most part. Unlike hotels, they’re great for those of us that love a self-catering element to their holidays. This is great for two reasons – it allows you to save some money on eating out, and it can lead to a home from home feeling, which is perfect if you’re planning on staying for a few days. Speaking of a homely feeling, Airbnbs often tend to feel more personalised. They can be bare and basic, but they can also be beautiful, unique, and reflect the style of the person renting it out, which we find to be pretty cool. The personalised feeling also extends to a local knowledge that tends to mean you find out about places off the beaten track.  

Our Airbnb in Florence

This was our favourite Airbnb we stayed in, it was based near the centre of Florence and the host Chiara was amazing. It can be booked here – please note this is an affiliate link and we will earn a small amount of money if you book through it.

They aren’t without their disadvantages though. We found them to be problematic on three fronts. Firstly, they can be difficult to find, especially if they’re in a less touristy areas. Because they’re just an apartment or house, there’s no signage outside to indicate you’re at the right building. Which is fine if you have a way of contacting the owner for directions. But we’ve been in situations when we’re wandering around with our bags, unable to find an apartment or get an answer from the person renting out the Airbnb. And that leads us to the third negative point – what to do with your bags. Many Airbnbs won’t be ready for check-in until the afternoon, which means if you have an early flight you’ll be stuck pulling suitcases around, and having to keep an eye on them. There’s obviously the option to book a later flight, but this doesn’t suit some people.

So, hotel or Airbnb? Honestly, there’s no one answer. We think the best thing to do is plan what kind of trip you want to go on, and then choose the option best suited for your needs at that time. Like anything, it’s just about weighing up the pros and cons, and then going with what feels right. Either way, you’re still going to be on holiday!

Until then, stay safe and keep planning the next adventure!

Brianna and Iain