Traditional Hotel or Airbnb? Traveling on a Budget


Conventional wisdom once warned that staying at a hotel was far more expensive than using a lodging app like Airbnb. After all, having to pay hefty hotel prices just to stay in a corporate-controlled building has to be pricier than just staying with a person who’s decided to open up a room in their house to travelers, right?

Well, things have changed in the past few years. These days, it feels like Airbnb accommodations are far more expensive than just booking a hotel room. Here are a few tips for getting lodging on a budget the next time you travel.

Airbnb Has Changed

At one point in time, Airbnb was angled as a way for people in popular tourist destinations to make a bit of money on the side by allowing visitors to stay in their spare rooms. However, that’s not the primary use case for the app now. 

The way it tends to work now is a property developer purchases a residential spot and then uses it like a timeshare, offering up slots to use the house on Airbnb and similar apps. This has dramatically increased property costs in some regions while simultaneously making things a bit harder for travelers.

Hidden Costs

Once you factor in the hidden costs of an Airbnb stay, things start to add up. First, you pay a nightly rate, then you pay a fee to the app, and next, you might even owe money for a cleaning fee or convenience fee. 

The cleaning fees are a particular sticking point for many who use Airbnb accommodations, as many properties both charge you for cleaning and require you to clean the sheets and dishes in the property before you go. It doesn’t really feel like a vacation if you’re both doing chores and paying someone else for the experience.

Hotels are Pricey, too

It’s not a cut-and-dry situation, either, as hotels are still pretty pricey. However, there are some often underrated upsides to staying at a traditional hotel–namely, you’re not expected to wash the sheets and do the dishes when you leave.

When the cost of a hotel room is comparable to the cost of an Airbnb listing, it becomes somewhat obvious that you should opt for the hotel. The added benefits of room service, central locations, and clear-cut expectations for guests make a hotel stay a much simpler vacation experience.