AirBnB Vs. Hotels – How to Choose the Perfect Stay and Avoid a Nightmare

AirBnB Vs Hotels- Which Do I Choose 

A question that plagues the modern traveler- do I book an AirBnB or a Hotel? Both have their unique pros and cons. Today we share some of our dream AirBnB stays like our tropical paradise in the Everglades and Florida keys, but also our nightmare experiences, like midnight cockroaches in North Carolina. Keep listening to hear our stories and advice on how to find the perfect accommodation for your next adventure. 


#1 Explaining the different services 

Price – Style – Credit Cards and Loyalty – Dependability – Group Size 


  • Price – AirBnB rose to popularity in part due to its competitive pricing in locations where hotels are typically high
    • BUT – because AirBnB disrupted the housing market, laws have made pricing less of a draw. Our frustration —- prices advertised don’t include cleaning fees or other service fees, sometimes we’ve seen these add on $100+ a night
  • Style – one big feature is how AirBnB’s can offer a totally different vibe from hotels. Want a homey feel? Go AirBnB – many people have created unique, boutique feels in their properties – often these go hand in hand with the culture or regional aspects of the location. Depends on the property – anywhere from a rented room in someone’s house – to a handcrafted bungalow in a unique part of the city – add in a pool, sauna, fancy kitchen, bicycles or kayaks for guest use – you get the idea
    • This is unlike hotels – which, unless boutique or specialty (often come with higher pricetags) have generic rooms and predictable features (not always bad! Sometimes this feels familiar and neutral, where AirBnBs feel less predictable and less trustworthy)
  • Dependability –
    • Hotels – trusted brands – consistent expectations – sometimes it is nice to know what you’re getting – it isn’t personal, run by a family or one person. 
    • AirBnB – despite reviews and vetting, there’s always a bigger risk of the unknown
      • In some ways, hotel’s can have a touch of this – take Holiday Inns – like other chains, not all are created equal – this could be a bad experience with staff or a poor manager – despite the same brand
  • Groups 
    • AirBnB can offer some awesome options for bigger parties – for a much better cost and with interesting perks – big rooms, whole house, pool, game room, etc.
    • Hotels – unless you’re ready to shell out a lot of cash (thinking resorts, suites, etc.) big groups need multiple rooms – rooms are typically double occupancy

Don’t forget credit card points and loyalty! Hotels offer a number of benefits when you consider travel hacking

#2 Our Experiences

Some awesome AirBnB experiences

  • New Orleans – We’ve stayed at two here. First, a quirky place north of the Warehouse district which was where a movie prop collector kept his collection. Then a Bywater shotgun house where we truly stayed like a local.

  • Everglades- We stayed in an airstream farm, breakfast was included and dinner/drinks was pay what you want. It had an amazing, communal living type feel but with the privacy of your own Airstream!
  • Florida Keys – We got to stay on a Sailboat! The property was amazing and the host was very nice to us- she left us stay at her more expensive room when a storm blew through. 
  • Charlotte, NC- this was both great, and not so great
    • Pros: Affordable place – cool outside area
    • Cons: Awkward bedroom door …sliding door that felt like owners could definitely see into our room.

Some not so awesome AirBnB experiences

  • North Carolina- The house had Cockroaches, dust, an unfinished bathroom and was generally an awful old house. We almost left at midnight. 
  • Disney World Orlando- This apartment had very weird owners. The place was poorly furnished with warning signs all around the house. The crazy owner actually attacked me over a 4 star review on and off the platform. 
  • Group trip in Vermont- The house was cool but the cleaning instructions were a little crazy and the place wasn’t that clean to begin with.


  • Yet another option that is a little closer to hotels is hostels. These are great for solo and young travelers because they have dorm like rooms (many beds in one room) but they also have private rooms. Make sure to see if it has a private bathroom if that’s important to you- but these can have very fun and social vibes. Lots of them have restaurants and/or bars as well as common areas


#3 Our Recommendations 


It depends! Look at both!

How to read reviews

  • How to read an AirBnB reviews to determine it’s worth – also watch for hidden fees (service and cleaning fees!)
  • I trust google reviews the most- we don’t worry about Yelp reviews.

What kind of experience are you looking for? Priorities?

  • Depends on location/country and laws- worth looking at both



  • Can be cheaper – or way more expensive, unless splitting with group
    • Check the hidden fees!
  • Could have local community location – feel like you’re staying how locals live
  • Unique features compared to hotels


  • Can be sketchy based on owner – more risky than hotels 
  • Hidden fees
  • No concierge or other hotel type services – typically
  • They are actually illegal in some places and some people have been kicked out of them because of this- make sure you know the laws of the area



  • Great if you are building points/loyalty or redeeming
  • Nice for certain trips –
    • Stay at airport before a flight
    • Need consistency – a presence there for later check-ins – feeling of security
      • Traveling for quick stays, just need a place, want to trust it will be an easy transaction
  • Can still be fun and quirky- just have to read reviews and make sure they are truly quirky and not just dingy 
  • Consistency can be really nice when traveling
  • Transparent fees 
  • My favorite brands are Marriott and Hyatts- IBIS for cheap stays in Europe and Holiday Inn for Cheap Stays in US if not Marriott/Hyatts


  • Can be more expensive 
  • Can lack that personality you can find in some AirBnBs

So that’s all for us! Have you found AirBnBs or Hotels better on your travels?

Meet the Bargers

Bruce and Shelly are a 30-something couple always on the lookout for cheap eats, wildlife sightings and a good brewery. They started traveling together ten years ago and haven't looked back. They travel internationally at least three times a year and have been to 42 states, all while holding those pesky 9-5 jobs. They hope you can take these travel tips and live the life you've only dreamed about!

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