We have more accessibility to lodging than we have ever before. With phone applications you can easily search and reserve the ideal place to stay while on our vacation. The question has come up for me, Hotel or Rental through AirBnB/Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)?
I have stayed at both a hotel and rented an apartment. However, there are always pros and cons to staying at either type of lodging. To help decide where to stay on your next adventure, I have added what I like and dislike about hotels and rentals.
- Front desk to help coordinate daily excursions
- They can help order a cab should you want to go somewhere
- If you lost a hotel key, they usually don’t charge and will deactivate the old card key to replace it with a new one
- You can hold your luggage if you arrive before check in or leaving after check out time
- The bed is made daily and fresh towels
- Your room cleaned
- Extra toiletries can easily be replenished
- Pricey laundry services
- In touristy areas
- Continental breakfast… I am not a fan of these
- If you have your room cleaned then you have unknown strangers in your room rummaging around and could steal something of value
- Home away from home
- Can cook meals
- Ability to select a rental with a washer/dryer
- Can get off the beaten path to explore the area and learn more about the culture
- Tons of options if travelling with a group
- A lot of budget friendly choices
- Really on your own for coordinating excursions and transportation
- Limited toiletries, if you run out on your own
- If you lose the key, you will have to contact the host to get back into the rental and most likely cover the cost of changing the locks
Other things to think about when you are choosing to stay at a hotel or rental the area’s accessibility to the attractions you want to visit. If you’re not renting a car and plan on walking or taking public transportation, you will want to research if the city/place has good public transportation, the size to know if everything is walking distance, or is there Uber to help get you from point A to point B. Identifying how you want to get around and if the place you’re visiting has public transit will also help you to decide. If your vacation spot is more remote, you may want to opt for a hotel to help with a cab services and excursion coordination. I have two examples of to help you think through your final decision.
Phuket, Thailand – Away from the Party Scene
While visiting Phuket, Thailand, my husband and I stay at Palm Garden Resort, a diving resort hotel, in Chalong. Chalong is on the southeast part of the island but about a 45 minute drive from the more popular spot, Patong Beach. There was also no public transportation in our area (unless if you consider tuks tuks public transit). We also did not rent a car during our time in Phuket.
We also had a long list of things we wanted to do while in Thailand. So, we asked the front desk for a little help. They arranged all of our cabs to not only pick us up from the hotel but to also drive us around all day. The cab driver would drop us off but we would agree on a pick up time after we were done with our activity. Every time the cab driver was there waiting for us right on time and in the exact spot we agree upon. The hotel also handled all of the payments! I am not sure how we were charged or how we paid for the cabs but it must have been cheap because our final hotel bill was not that more than our reservations. If we rented an apartment, we would have had to try to coordinate all of our activities on our own and without knowing how to speak Thai.
Vienna, Austria – In the Heart of Opulence
My husband and I just visited Vienna, Austria for my 30th birthday and we decided to stay at an AirBnB flat in district 6. The flat was about a 40 minute walk from all of Ringstrasse, where the old city center is located and several of the tourist attractions. We walked to the old city center the first day we were there but used the public transportation the rest of the time we were there because it was so easy and there were so many options. You could take the subway, trains, trams, or bus. Once you stepped off a subway there was another mode of transportation you could jump on to get to where you’re going. In other words, the city was extremely accessible so staying at an apartment was not an issue with getting around the city.
Since we were staying a little more off the beaten path, we were able to experience more of the culture by going to the grocery store and buying breakfast foods, snacks, beer, and hopefully still water. We love being able to go to a small restaurant and trying the local cuisine.
What to do?
To decide where you want to stay on your next vacation, identify what is important to you when staying somewhere. Do you want to pack light and do laundry more often? Or do you always overpack so laundry isn’t a problem. Do you like your bed made everyday and fresh towels? Do you like to be able to call the front desk and ask for help? How are you getting around and what are your options? All these questions will help to narrow down where you want to stay while traveling.
Use the above pros and cons list to help you identify what you like about hotels and rental (or don’t like). You may not agree with me but hopefully what I have will help you decide where to stay on your next adventure.