Family Vacations: Airbnb Versus Hotels?

October 26, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

How do you feel about staying in someone else’s home during family vacations? I don’t mean visiting family during your holiday break (which is no picnic, let me tell you). I mean renting someone else’s house for a night, a week, or even a few weeks?

If you’re traveling somewhere for a few days on one of your family vacations, would you rather rent a hotel room with a brand you can trust so you can get an experience you can expect? Or would you rather be adventurous, stay in a place that lets you experience the real part of a city, and have a lot more space than you would in a cramped hotel room?

I’ve had a chance to stay in both Airbnbs and hotels over the years, and I’m actually having a hard time deciding which I prefer. Not my wife though. She’s insistent: no staying in other people’s houses. She’s only done it once, and then only because it was way cheaper than a hotel room. Otherwise, she doesn’t like it.

She just doesn’t like the idea of sleeping in a stranger’s bed, using their sheets, occupying their space. I’m less worried about it. For one thing, they always put clean sheets on the bed. For another, they’re never around (I always get the “whole house” rentals, never an “own room”).

Airbnb is a great way to find an inexpensive place to stay during family vacations

I like the fact that I can see a part of the city you don’t normally see on vacation or business. I visited Nashville a couple years ago with my oldest daughter, and we rented the upstairs of a house just a couple miles east of downtown in a mid-century modern neighborhood. The owners had their own space in the basement apartment and never came upstairs. It wasn’t a big house, but it was cozy and warm.

But the really cool thing is we ended up staying less than a mile from one of Nashville’s hidden gem restaurants, a place that only the locals knew about. It wasn’t anywhere near the downtown tourist area, it wasn’t in any of the trendy neighborhoods, but when I checked it out on Yelp, it was one of the best-rated restaurants in the city. And we never would have found it if we had stayed in a hotel near the airport or in one of the touristy areas.

On the other hand, I love the feeling of having my own hotel room. I’ve got a tiny desk, a (fairly) comfortable bed, and my own TV. Given how simply I like to travel and live, I’m in my perfect element. I’ll turn on a ball game, do some work on my laptop, and then turn in around 12:00 or 1:00. Since I’m only in that room to sleep, I don’t need an entire house or different rooms and spaces to relax in.

I like knowing the room will be clean, that the shower head will be powerful (I always stay in Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express), and that I can earn points toward my loyalty program to redeem later. (You can now earn Delta Skymiles if you stay at an Airbnb.)

We’re going to be traveling to Pensacola in a few weeks, where I’ll be giving a humor reading during their annual Foo Foo Arts Festival, and my wife and I are still trying to decide whether to go with an Airbnb or a hotel. Right now, the hotel option seems to be winning, but I’m hoping to find a pet-friendly house along the beach instead.

Where would you stay during family vacations? Which do you prefer? Do you have a go-to lodging choice, or do you pick it based on your own travel plans? Share your recommendations in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.

Photo credit: Valeriesophie (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 4.0)


Erik Deckers is a travel writer, as well as a content marketer and book author. He is the co-author of Branding Yourself, No Bullshit Social Media, and The Owned Media Doctrine. Erik has been blogging since 1997, and has been a newspaper humor columnist for over 20 years

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