Why Should You Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb?

Why You Should Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

When Airbnb first entered the market, I was ecstatic to have a new accommodation option when I traveled. It provided a new, affordable alternative to budget hotels and youth hostels. And for many years, it became my go-to booking site. However, things have changed in recent years as more people have joined and taken advantage of the platform. Nowadays, it is no longer the cheapest or most convenient choice. Here are a few reasons why you should book a hotel over an Airbnb.

5 Reasons to Book a Hotel Over an Airbnb

Let me start by saying that I still use the site to book certain types of accommodations. Renting a private residence comes with many benefits, especially if you are traveling in a large group. But in most cases, I still prefer the convenience and amenities of staying at a hotel. If you are deciding where to stay during your next vacation, here are 5 reasons people choose to book a hotel over an Airbnb.

1. No Chores

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but the last thing I want to do on vacation is housework. While I strive to be a clean guest and always pick up after myself, I’m less than thrilled when I get a long list of chores that have to be done before checkout. And what’s worse, is that there is usually a cleaning fee on top of the to-do list. I am often left wondering what I’m paying for since I am usually the one doing the dishes, stripping the beds, throwing in a load of laundry, and taking out the trash.

However, you won’t get this when you stay at a hotel since all of these services are included in the nightly rate. It goes without saying that the property will provide clean towels and linens, spotless facilities, and cleaning services during your stay. Making a reservation at a hotel lifts the burden of chores and allows you to enjoy a break from daily responsibilities.

2. All the Amenities

Speaking of amenities, you will have access to many more of them at a hotel than in an Airbnb rental. Although I have stayed at many wonderful Airbnb properties that had toiletries, a kitchen, a fitness area, and a pool on-site, they hardly compare with what you find at a hotel. Of course, the amenities will vary between properties. But, you will be hard-pressed to find many rentals that also offer a concierge desk, spa treatments, room service, or restaurants on the premises.

You can certainly find accommodations with all these amenities through Airbnb Luxe. But, they usually come with a much higher price tag as well.

3. Easier Check-in Process

Even before you book a hotel, you know exactly where you will be staying and when you can check in. Unfortunately, Airbnb hosts usually don’t disclose these details until a few days before your arrival. There have been times people have straight-up lied about the location to get bookings. Furthermore, I have had several Airbnb stays where the hosts had very limited windows of time to meet and turn over the keys. This added unnecessary stress and a sense of urgency, especially when there were travel delays.

While some people have made it simpler with keyless entry codes, hotels usually offer a much easier check-in experience. Communication is more direct since you can find someone available at the front desk at any time of the day. And you can get a room on short notice, even if it’s the middle of the night.

Although hotels have standard check-in and check-out times, they can usually offer greater flexibility since they have more rooms in their inventory. Even if they are at capacity, they can at least hold your bags until your room is ready. This saves you the time and trouble of having to lug them around with you if you have to wait for someone to let you into your accommodations.

4. Less Chance of Mistakes or Cancellations

Airbnb has given regular people the opportunity to earn income from their private properties while also allowing travelers to experience their vacation destinations as one of the locals. However, mistakes can happen and plans can change. There have been several times when a property was double-booked or personal emergencies forced the host to cancel our reservations.

While we always got a full refund, it put us in the unfortunate situation of having to find new accommodations at the last minute. When this happens during a holiday, it leaves you with very few options, most of which are more expensive than what you had originally booked. In some instances, there were no other options available.

This is less likely to happen when you are staying at a well-known and established hotel. And even if it does happen during busy travel periods, the hotel will usually offer some type of compensation for your trouble.

5. Comparable Prices

When Airbnb first came onto the scene, travelers like myself were excited to have a more affordable option for accommodations. Many experts even thought it would disrupt the hospitality industry and cause hotels to adjust their rates. However, this has not been the case.

When you compare the final cost including taxes, guest services, and cleaning fees, the totals are about the same. And in some cities, Airbnb rentals are even more expensive than staying at a hotel.

If you are a frequent traveler, it is probably more cost-effective for you to stay at a hotel and join their loyalty program. They usually offer better discounts. And, you can earn points during your stay which can be used for free nights and upgrades to help you save even more.

To Airbnb or Not Airbnb…

With current conditions and inflation rates, it is more important than ever to save money where you can. While Airbnb does offer many benefits and more unique options for travelers, it isn’t always the most economic choice. Although there was a time when it was this budgeter’s best-kept secret, the industry has changed. More often than not, I have several good reasons to book a hotel over an Airbnb. So if your bottom line is the most important factor when booking your next vacation, do your research and explore all your money-saving options.

Read More

5 Financial Reasons to Research Locations Before a Vacation

Doing research before your vacation is a smart financial move. Research about your destination can help you better plan your trip and manage your money. In-depth vacation planning can reveal ways to save money on your vacation. Here are five financial reasons why you should research your next vacation location.

1. Planning Your Vacation Budget

Vacations are necessary. Vacations help you unwind, relax and rejuvenate. However, it is always important to stay on budget while you are enjoying yourself. Researching the location you will visit is essential for planning your vacation budget. All you have to do is read online reviews for restaurants and top attractions to learn how much money you should plan on spending if these sites are on your list of things to do. Most third-party review travel sites will tell you whether the attraction or restaurant is affordable or pricey.

Staying on budget during your vacation and not overspending starts with gathering as much information as possible and coming up with an itinerary. You want your vacation to be relaxing and not stressful because of how much you spend.

2. Research Can Reveal the Deals

The hospitality industry is very competitive. Researching your vacation location can reveal where the best deals on lodging and more are located. Moving just a little outside the beaten path can save you a lot of money. Becoming familiar with the location you are visiting, and the surrounding areas can open up the possibility of vacationing for less.

Keep in mind the center of the action will be more expensive than staying on the outskirts. Getting to know the location can reveal some low-cost hidden gems in the area.

3. Take Steps to Protect Your Health

HealthNet says every one of twenty searches on google is health-related. Traveling is a great opportunity for many reasons, but there are health risks you should be aware of. Losing time and money when you return from vacation because you got sick while traveling can put a big dent in your budget and fun. It is not just diseases that you need to research, you should also research the crime rate.

You don’t have to travel internationally to find high crime rates. For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a trip to Philadelphia will put you in state number 27 on the list of gun violence. Protect yourself and your money by researching health and violence threats.

4. Currency Exchange Rates

How much is the U.S. dollar worth in Rome? What about the Bahamas? What about the exchange rate for the U.K.? All of these places have different currency rates. You will be on the winning end of currency rates in some areas. In other areas, the U.S. dollar is on the losing end. Proper vacation planning too far away locations require you fully understand how much your money is worth wherever you travel. Currency rates are published daily. You can find currency rates online.

5. Duty Costs, Tariffs, And Other Fees

Did you know that some countries charge a fee to enter the country at the airport? Usually, the fee is nominal, but it is still money you will have to spend. You must research customs charges, airport fees, duty costs, and other fees to ensure you are prepared to cover all your vacation costs.

There is one final tip for protecting your travel money. Ensure you become familiar with local laws. Fines and penalties for breaking local laws in other countries can be very costly. For example, according to Golf News Net, in some jurisdictions where golf carts are allowed on the roadways, the top speed is 35mph. If you break that rule, you will face a fine.

Doing your research with an eye on finances will make your vacation more affordable. Stress less about spending money on vacation by being thoroughly prepared. Learn more money-saving tips today.

Finding the Top Travel Deals this Summer

How to Find the Best Travel Deals

After a very difficult year and my father’s passing, my mom decided that we needed some time away. So, this summer my mom, nieces, and I are going to finally take the family vacation that he always wanted to have with his grandkids. It may also be the last opportunity we have to do a longer trip since the girls are growing up and will be going off to college soon. Unfortunately, we only had a couple of weeks to figure out dates, flights, hotels, car rentals, and ticket reservations. Thankfully, I have years of experience in the travel industry and was able to secure some fantastic last-minute travel deals. This is one family vacation we are all looking forward to.

Sites with the Top Travel Deals

With only three weeks to plan, the first task was to pick the destination and figure out transportation. After some debate, we settled on flying to San Diego and spending the week driving back. With that in mind, I went online to compare rates and deals.

Full-Service Sites

I usually begin my search with travel sites like Travelocity, Expedia, or Kayak to estimate the total costs. They have the most competitive rates for hotels, flights, and car rentals. And, they offer package deals to local attractions to save you even more. Another benefit is that they check service providers and locations around the world. If you are looking to find last-minute deals, it’s the perfect option for one-stop shopping.

Google Flights

Rather than pigeonhole our trip with non-refundable tickets, I wanted to book directly through the airline. So, I bypassed the first offers and looked at individual flights. Google Flights gives you a great overview and compares rates across the greatest number of domestic and international airlines. And, you can browse their pop-up calendar to search for the lowest rates by day. I was quickly able to locate the cheapest flights and best routes.

Booking.com

For hotel reservations, I rely on booking.com since it checks all accommodation types. And, it doesn’t require a deposit for the reservation unless you choose a non-refundable rate. Furthermore, you can typically cancel within 24 hours of arrival if necessary. Since I have used them so much in the past, I have also received “genius” status from my reviews and get an additional 10% off. We were able to find dirt cheap deals on express hotels along our route home.

Airbnb

For the longest stay of the trip, we used Airbnb to look at vacation rentals. I find it to be the better option when traveling in bigger groups since you get more space without a huge price tag. We found an entire house for nearly half the price of two hotel rooms for the same stay. It’s also nice to have additional amenities like a full kitchen and laundry to reduce other costs for the trip. And since it’s in a prime location, we have easy access to all the places we want to see.

Hoteltonight.com

Although I haven’t used this site much in recent years, it’s a great option for last-minute reservations. You can find some unbelievable discounts if the conditions are right. However, there are no guarantees that you will get more than a standard room or discounts at a specific hotel. But if you’re looking for the best price, you can’t beat their rates.

When to Look for Travel Deals

Another thing to keep in mind is when to look for travel deals. During my time working in the hotel industry, several travel agents informed me that airlines evaluate their prices approximately 45-54 days before departure. If the flight is filling up, rates go up. However, if there are many open seats, you can find some huge discounts. When I find a potential flight, I set price alerts to notify me of rate changes to help me score the best deal.

You should also be aware of travel seasons and when certain locations hit their peak. If you are willing to wait until the low season, hotel and airline rates drastically drop.

I also try to avoid heavy travel days such as holidays and weekends. During the busiest travel times, rates can double or even triple. From my experience, the cheapest days to travel are usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays. However, you should also check their calendar travel dates for the lowest prices.

The Best Travel Deals

So, how much did all this save me? Let’s take a look…

Transportation

We decided to fly one way to San Diego, then rent a car to drive back to see the Grand Canyon and a few other attractions along the way. I booked tickets for about $200 per person when most other airlines are charging $500+. I also found a great deal on a weekly car rental through Budget that was $400 less than the initial offers. In total, this saved about $1,600.

Accommodations

For the longest portion of the trip, we booked a vacation rental through Airbnb for only $225 a night. Not only will it give us more space, but it was also much cheaper than comparable hotel rooms which started at $150 per room, per night. And, the cheap hotels didn’t offer proximity, laundry facilities, or free breakfast. Not counting all the extras, this alone saved $375.

The remainder of the hotel nights were either booked using points or will be chosen along the way. We are also planning to stay with family for a few nights as well which will also cut down on costs.

Tickets to Attractions

You can also find ways to save money when you buy tickets to local attractions. We will have free admission to the San Diego zoo since we already bought a national zoo pass. And, we can also use our National Park Pass from last year since it is still valid. Having these passes saved us an additional $300+ on tickets.

However, you can also get discounted tickets if you buy a package, book through an online retailer, or qualify with any memberships.

Tips to Find the Right Deal for You

On a final note, here are a few tips to help you find the best travel deals.

  • Know which things you can be flexible with and which you cannot. Flexibility with dates, desired location, and staying near public transportation can net you huge savings.
  • Book directly with the service provider. Not only is it simpler to cancel and change reservations, many offer price matching with third-party sites.
  • Check for discounts. It never hurts to ask and you may qualify for one of these discounts:
    • 10% discounts with car clubs and discount buying club memberships
    • senior citizen discounts
    • employee or contractor rates
    • friends and family discount

You don’t need to be a super sleuth to find the best travel deals. But knowing where to start will give you a headstart.

Read More