Hotels vs AirBnB

 We love to travel.  Who doesn't, right?  I am a big believer in liking where you stay.   I want to get the absolute best deal for my money.  If there is a fair to average lodging option and then a really nice one for $10 to $20 more, I will always go for the nicer one.  When we get "home" from a day of site seeing, I don't want to be grossed out by the shower or bed.  The second thing that is really important to me in my travel lodging is the ability to walk (or drive a very short distance) to get food and drinks.  I want to be able to have a beer or wine with dinner and start to unwind...I don't want to have a 14 mile ride on dark, winding road to back to retire for the night.

When determining where to stay, I typically let price tag be my guide.  Generally I use (part of Expedia) first to see what type of rate I can get where we are going and how close the hotel is located to the location and activities we want to do.  After getting a general sense of the average hotel cost, I start looking on AirBnB for the same: rates + proximity.   Once, I zero in on my price point, if both the hotels and AirBnBs are about the same, I start looking at reviews on both sites.  The more reviews the better.  A hotel or AirBnB rental could have a 5 star review but if there are only 2 reviews, that is not really a good indicator that your experience will be positive.

When using AirBnB, I always filter by Entire Home. It's actually pretty exciting to look at all of the different types of homes and neighborhoods available.  There some really cool to rent! Our first AirBnB experience was in Los Angeles. We stayed in a guest house in the neighborhood that we used to live in, so it was pretty low risk in terms of area.  We already knew where everything was.  What we didn't know was how much interaction we would have with this host.  It turns out, we had no face to face interaction at all...all texting. That has been our experience most of the time.  We only met our host in person in Portland, OR. Many AirBnB hosts have a key code door lock on their units.  This makes it easy to provide access to guests with coordinating the whole key hand off.

In Nashville, we stayed in a hotel the first time we visited and an AirBnB in East Nashville, the second.  We had fun both times but the experiences were completely different.  Staying at an AirBnB, we were right in the middle of a cool neighborhood with great shops and restaurants. It sounds cliche, but we really did get to experience Nashville more like a local by staying at the AirBnB.

So, AirBnB sounds great, right?  What's the downside you ask? While we have had all positive experiences so far, there is always a risk you show up somewhere, can't get into the unit and can't get touch with the host. Or the host cancels on you at the last minute.  Or the place is not clean,  has no sheets, no hot water,  etc. If you are the type of person who does not deal well with this type of risk, a hotel may be a better choice.  At a hotel, you have a front desk and a lobby to hang out in while the staff sorts out any issues with your room. You have someone to hold accountable if the sheets are not clean or there are no towels.  Both lodging options are great, it's just a matter of which one is better for you.

Happy travels!


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