This is a question we ask ourselves while planning every single vacation. Honestly, there are benefits to both, but depending on location, timing, and needs one will always be better than the other. Let’s talk about how we make our decision! First we’ll run through the pros and cons of each.
- You can drop your bags off at the hotel at anytime and they will store them whether you can check in or not
- Everyday housekeeping
- Concierge services
- Easy access to transportation
- Reputable reviews and online pictures – lots of people have stayed there
- Inability to cook/warm/store food
- Increase in pricing
- Limited space for larger groups of peop
- Kitchenette = ability to cook/warm food
- Possibility of washer/dryer
- Decrease in cost
- Bigger space to host more people = lowering the cost
- Location, usually not in a central area
- No regular housekeeping
- Slightly less reputable depending on what sites you use/what you choose – don’t know what you’re gonna get until you get there
Now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty gritty. We’re going to talk a little about how we choose between the two and what we are looking for in particular. Here is what we base our decision on.
Location is almost as important as cost. Depending on location, you may end up spending unnecessary money on transportation. Which if you aren’t careful can really add up. We like to check the locations of possible Airbnb’s relative to where we want to spend our time in a city and add up an estimate for what we think we might spend on transportation. Sometimes affordable apartments tend to be outside the city… when you think about staying in the outskirts in cities like Paris (which are very walkable), you’ll spend both time and money on getting into and out of the city center. We would prefer to increase our budget for our stay so that this is not the case.
This point encompasses a lot of things: amenities offered by both the hotel and/or apartment as well as check in and check out times. This is one thing that people don’t tend to think about. Check in time can mean the difference between being able to drop your bags off and explore or toting your bags around the city. If you are arriving close to available check in time, this point won’t matter. But if you are arriving in a city at 8am and want somewhere to drop your bags while you wait for a room… a hotel will be your best option. Now I know that a lot of cities in Europe do have lockers you can store your bags in around the city, that seems a little sketchy to me and I wouldn’t want to chance it. Just don’t like the idea of our bags being somewhere like that.
But also you have to take in to consideration the duration of your stay and what you want to get out of it. If you’re on vacation for more than a week, you’ll probably want a place with a kitchenette (to save money on breakfast or lunch) and maybe even a washing machine to keep you from having to pack 14 outfits. In this case, and Airbnb is the best option.
It can be hard to make a decision, but if you use these guidelines, it’ll make the choose a little easier. And just for a reference, if you are looking for a cheaper, cute, European based boutique hotel with XL king beds and a window view to die for… check out CitizenM.
Comment if you have any questions regarding our decision process!