7 Reasons I Prefer Airbnbs Over Hotels
When I recently explained to my dad how Airbnb worked, by the end of our conversation, he wondered why he had never tried the home-sharing platform before. If you've never stayed at an Airbnb, I can understand any reservations you might have about staying at a stranger's home. But I can assure you that it's a safe, reliable, and often affordable option that I've come to prefer over hotels.
I have to admit, though, I do love the luxuries of a hotel. But as someone who's all about budget travel, I can appreciate a good deal when I see one — and you can find plenty on Airbnb. I have an upcoming New York trip that I've reserved an adorable Brooklyn studio for for $100 a night, and another in Queens for $50.
If you're unfamiliar with how the service works, certain listings allow you to book instantly while others require you to request your dates and wait for the hosts to approve your stay. At the end of your trip, you provide a rating and review of your host, explaining their excellent or terrible hospitality, and your host will do the same for you as a guest. You're both held accountable for your actions and behavior, so you don't really have to be concerned about cleanliness or safety.
So far, I've had the most amazing experiences staying at Airbnbs, and they continue to be my accommodation of choice. See seven more reasons I think they're even better than hotels.
You can typically find better rates than hotel prices.
For one, you can book an entire home or apartment for the price of a hotel room, and oftentimes even cheaper. Airbnb also offers the option of renting a single room in a shared living space for less than $100. I've made the mistake before of reserving a cute apartment to myself and not even being able to enjoy it because I was out sightseeing all day. If you have a packed itinerary and just need a place to sleep at night, consider filtering Room Type by "private room" and "shared room." Whatever your budget is, you can filter by price range — some listings are advertised as low as $40 depending on the city.
You can experience some of the most unique accommodations.
I've had the pleasure of staying at a Japanese-inspired retreat in Stinson Beach, CA, which was truly an incredible experience. Even though it felt like we were out of the country, this hidden gem was only an hour outside of San Francisco. You typically can't get something like this with hotels unless you pay big bucks. The fun part about Airbnb is seeing various home designs, from airstream trailers to mountainside tree houses.
You have your own personal concierge.
Chances are that you'll be staying at a host's vacation rental or guest house and they won't be present when you arrive. Some will give you total privacy, while others will let you know to expect them popping in once in a while to make sure you're comfortable. Most of them are usually happy to answer any and all questions via text, and even encourage you to reach out if you need anything, from the WiFi password to dishwasher instructions. If they live on the property, you have even easier access.
It feels like home.
As luxurious as hotels can be, they still feel like hotels at the end of the day. But staying in someone's home automatically makes you feel a little more comfortable and cozy. Plus, if you're sharing the space with the hosts, some are even nice enough to have you join them for dinner, and it doesn't get more homey than that.
You have a tour guide on hand.
My Airbnb Superhost created a welcome binder for her guests that greeted you on the bed next to goodies. ("Superhost" doesn't even begin to describe her hospitality.) It included a map of the area, nearby attractions and restaurants, and even hiking trails. Even if your host isn't as prepared as this one, most of them are happy to send over a list of recommendations. I've even seen listings that mention that they'd love to sit down and help you plan out your day. If you're new to the area, don't be afraid to ask for transportation and sightseeing tips!
Many hosts love adding personal touches.
Hate to bring up my Superhost again, but I'm going to. She brought us breakfast to our door each morning and provided everything from bath salts to kimonos. Sure, you can call the hotel front desk for toiletries or order room service, but I promise it won't be anything near as thoughtful as this. Many hosts want great ratings, so they'll do everything they can to provide the best experience. You might find a bottle of wine waiting for you and your significant other, or a local map with loaded bus fare.
Location, location, location.
One of the best parts about staying at an Airbnb is that you can stay in the heart of the city without having to pay the crazy rates that usually come with prime location. Airbnb also opens up the number of options, since residents are spread throughout the city instead of one concentrated tourist area. Overall, you can vacation like a native without having to dish out hotel prices.