AirBnB vs. Hotels, Which Should I Use?

So, you're planning a trip. Good! Everyone needs to get away from home every now and then. You've figured out how you're going to get there. Now the real question comes, where are you going to stay? Obviously you don't want to stay anywhere, you want a place that will live up to your standards and provide you with the amenities that you would expect. It used to be you would simply search online for hotels in the area that you want, find your price range, then read through reviews. Simple right? No, no it is not. But ever since the creation of Airbnb, the decision of where to stay has been made that much more difficult. Which one do you use then? Do you go with the traditional hotel? Or do you stay in someone else's home? Or a hostel? Long answer short, it depends.

Allow me to break it down for you. It all depends on why your traveling, where your traveling, where you want to be, who with, and how much you'd be willing to spend. Not only will I go through and break down each of these, but I'll also provide my personal recommendations based from my past experiences.

Where do you want to go? and Where do you want to be?
This should be the first question you answer yourself. Nobody else should answer this for you, because it's what YOU want! I mean after all your the one going on the excursion to (hopefully) an alien place. And while there, you still want to feel comfortable. Travel should be a time of relaxation, not stress inducing. So where do you want to go? If it is a big city, it can get a wee complicated so we'll break that down later. If you're out in the countryside, well I would lean more towards the hotels. Why? Well hotels tend to be built around restaurants, gas stations, places to shop, etc., basically small pockets of civilization. You're also almost never too far away from attractions. Even if you're one of those people who hate going to the "touristy" areas, you can always find somewhere off the beaten path near by. The thing that Airbnb lacks in the country side, is well people. I mean it's considered the country for a reason. For Airbnb to work there has to be someone willing to host you. Now, let's say you want to go to the city for a trip. Here's were it gets complicated: where do you want to be in the city. Do you want to be in the hubbub of downtown 24/7? Or would you not mind having a taste of the backside? If your answer is the first, well you should go with a hotel. Not may people live in the center of downtown to begin with. Renting space there would be INSANELY expensive, no matter where you are. And most town centers are business centers. You'll have bars, shops, restaurants, attractions, etc. It's where the locals work at. Now, I'm not saying you can't find a place on Airbnb here. You probably can. However, it will likely be at the same price as a hotel so why not pay for someone to clean the place on the daily and get a free breakfast possibly? Now if you want to have a taste of what the backside of the city tastes like, go for Airbnb. You will get to experience how the locals live, you'll be able to visit some of the less touristy places, and all in all it won't be as constricted and will feel, at least from my own experience, more natural. And the upside, if it is a city with good public transit, then you can get just about anywhere.

Who with?
This is another important question: are you traveling alone or with people? I don't knock the idea of traveling alone, I actually think everyone should do it at least once. But hotels can get very costly if you traveling alone. And when you're with other people...well the jack the prices. They know you want to split the cost with them, they're not stupid. After all, they are a business that is obviously staying afloat. But with Airbnb, most places hold two people at the baseline, and can possibly include up to four without being charged more. So I would say if your traveling alone: hostel, with people: Airbnb.

How much are you willing to spend?
This ultimately is the determiner between the two. Airbnb is, in general,a lot cheaper than traditional hotels. Granted you don't get the amenities like free breakfast, or the room being cleaned everyday, or possibly even a spa, but what you lack in those you make up in price. Hotels on the other end are, obviously, more expensive. But if you want the security of a safe place, liability coverage, and those amenities listed above, shell out that cash. I have always been of the mindset that you shouldn't go cheap on travel, because who knows when you'll be back there again. So do what you want, and what you are willing to do. Sometimes you can find striking deals with both. It just is what it is.

My Story
So I told you I would give you some of my personal examples. First being I have always stayed in a hotel in the U.S., I have never used Airbnb domestically. Crazy right? But often times when I'm here I either stay only one night or it's not on my own budget or well I simply have no choice. I find for one night stays it's often better to use a hotel, because after you pay the Airbnb per-night fee then the clean up fee it's often about the same. However, when I was in Shanghai and Japan I've used a mixture. The first time when I was in Nagoya, I used a hotel. This is simply due me doing an inexperienced search and coming across a FANTASTIC deal. Like I'm talking $60 a night at a 4-star hotel type deal. If you are ever in Nagoya, I would well advise staying at the Mielpark Nagoya. I also was only staying there for about 2 nights before heading to my host-family's house in Toyohashi. This was during a study-abroad trip. When I was in Shanghai, I used a hotel as well. This was do to the fact that my and the friend I was traveling with had a fourteen-hour layover and needed to stay close to the airport. And trust me unless you know Chinese, you want to stay close to the airport. When we arrived in Tokyo, we stayed in an apartment in Meguro, a neighborhood on the Yamanote line. The apartment was nice, cheap, and easily accessible to the rest of the city. We stayed there for about a week before heading back to the states, but if you are going to Japan for more than 2 nights, I would recommend using Airbnb. Japan's train system is the best in the world, so you'll be able to get from anywhere in the city, to anywhere else.

Safe travels.

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