Airbnb vs. Hotel

It wasn’t until I started to really travel that I learned some people feel strongly against Airbnb’s or unwilling to at least give it a try. I have heard reasons like “I'll never feel at home like I do in a hotel room” or “hotels fit me more”. I know my face sometimes must be quickly adjusted to not let people know what I am thinking about. It is one thing if you have tried it and really don’t like the idea of staying in someone else home, but to not even try it yet...


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I don’t remember my first Airbnb stay, to be honest, but can say I have formed some beautiful relationships with Airbnb host. Let me share with those who have never stayed in an Airbnb the kind of experience you receive from some of the hosts:


Met a host while staying in Sarasota and connected right away. She offered everything you could imagine being near the 2nd best beach in the world like beach towels, chairs, umbrellas, etc. After our short visit, she told me she would go "offline” with me if I wanted to stay again. Airbnb tacks on their own cost, so she wanted to eliminate all those "hidden" fees from me. Of course, I took her up on the offer and on the next trip, she provided my daughter fresh-cut watermelon every morning which was served with the local daily newspaper for me. She even learned Tequila was my go-to alcohol choice and gave me a whole bottle for my birthday during another visit. This is a bond I know for a fact I'll never get from a hotel company.


Now, let's focus on what I look for when needing to book an Airbnb:


One of my favorite Airbnb's in Sarasota, Florida

I can, in fact, feel like I am at home while staying in certain Airbnb’s and never get this feeling with hotels. Think about it, hotels often do not come with a stove, full fridge, actual rooms, entire home with no neighbors and don’t even have to check in with an actual person! Those added features make the difference with me vs. staying somewhere where all the rooms look the same and the staff has memorized their elevator speech when informing the guest of where their room is located.


When looking at staying at an Airbnb vs. a

the hotel looks at the differences in prices. I typically can find better prices on Airbnb’s than a hotel because the host can control the Airbnb cost and often varies depending on the day and area. For example, staying in Paris is cheaper Monday through Thursday and only spikes near holidays like Christmas. Weekend prices are typically higher but still less than a hotel nightly price. And you will even see that the hotel's nightly price is the entire total for your Airbnb stay.


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The first thing to look for when you find a potential spot is to pay close attention to the photos. One of the most important things to look for is cameras inside the home. How to determine this is by looking at the photos and seeing if the photos clearly show any cameras inside the home. If not, look at the angle of the pictures. Is the angle of the photo from the ceiling in a corner? Remember people usually place the inside home cameras in certain areas of the home like in corners and hallways. If so, I jump off this listing and move on.


(Side note: I am not against people protecting their homes at all costs and understand why they have cameras. However, I do not feel safe or comfortable staying in a place that can videotape my every move. Who knows, even post something private to the web. To me, this is like Target having cameras in their restrooms, an invasion of my privacy.)


Airbnb offers an array of options of housing! Cape Coral, Florida

When scrolling through the photos, do you see clothes in the closets and the dirty clothes bin full of laundry in the background? This is another no go for me! I don’t want to be reminded that I am staying in someone’s home and I like the feeling of walking inside a home with a blank canvas. I can create my own memories and not be part of someone else. It can be strange, but I don’t even like to see photos on the walls of the host or their families.


Next, I read the reviews. Y’all, READ THE REVIEWS! This one pains me to hear of a poor experience with an Airbnb from someone and when I ask if they checked the reviews, I hear “I forgot”. No people!!! Check those reviews. People are brutally honest nowadays and will let you know the sheet corner was turned down by ¼ inch and it just threw the whole room vibe off. (No lie, seen some reviews be on another level.) People will share their experiences and sometimes that comes with the bad like there is no parking nearby or the steps leading to the rooftop balcony overlooking the Hollywood sign being so dirty that you had to wear shoes going up the steps. Things happen. (Yup, those last two are from my personal experiences.)


I am also a BIG believer in the reviews I leave for my host and value sharing my experience with them even if that has some downfalls. Airbnb allows you to send a private message to the host letting them know any concerns you had during your stay and this is the time to write the more personal items. Write to them what you didn’t like which can be telling the host of the dirty steps that they were not cleaned and only wore shoes going up those steps. I do not believe in “blasting” someone on their public reviews as this is someone’s source of income. It could be the only source for all I know. And the host can also leave a review on you which I think is so important to show the level of respect I will give to my future host. I literally treat it like my own which makes the vacation just that much more special.

Airbnb in Anaheim, California

When traveling to a new destination, look at the area you are staying in and make sure it offers all the amenities you are looking for. When looking for a place in LA, I knew I needed to do research before just picking a place. (It can take months before deciding where to stay for me.) I found a place that was out of this world with such modern art with bright lights and just looked like the perfect place to stay. I wanted to capture the “LA life” and if that meant staying somewhere out of my ordinary, then so be it! However, looking into the area of this place showed the crime rates were incredibly high in too many categories. Then some reviews called out how they felt safer with the fence being around them which was made from material like metal. Too many red flags for me.


After all of that, I start to look for minor features like FREE PARKING! This is starting to become an important one for me because of previous experiences. I have had to park miles away and/or paid for parking that cost way too much. Another feature I look for is self-check-in. After a long day of traveling, I want to walk in like I own the place and get settled in without any grand tours or small talk. Everyone is different with the small things, so I recommend moving on if you start to question the place you are reviewing.


So, there you have it y'all! My reasons behind loving to stay at an Airbnb vs. a hotel. And please don't think I will never stay at a hotel again because I use Hotels.com when unable to find an Airbnb or looking for airport transportation services. I have just learned over the years that part of a vacation is feeling like you have no cares in the world and just going with the flow. This means feeling comfortable in your own space and making something your home even if you don't pay the mortgage.


Hope this helps all my friends out there reading this!


Airbnb from Loiza, Puerto Rico