Weighing the pros and cons of Airbnb vs Hotel and why we (almost) never stay in hotels when we travel as a family.
We rarely rent hotel rooms anymore, but it’s not that we don’t travel. We do. It’s just that traveling with two kids who can’t seem to sleep if they’re in the same room with each other is a nightmare.
It started when our daughter became a 12-hour a night sleeper. My presence in her room kept her awake, no matter how much I did to get her to relax or ignore her. So, we began upgrading to a suite when we traveled.
Then, the second was born and the problem was exacerbated. I now how two babies who would sleep through the night, unless they were bed or room sharing.
Upgrading to an even larger hotel room was either impossible or far too expensive to even consider. So, travel was limited when it came to the family, because who wants to be up all night with kids who can’t settle down?
So, instead, we opted to use Airbnb for the majority of our travel needs. Aside from sleep, renting homes on Airbnb offers more benefits to our family.
Pros and Cons of Airbnb vs Hotel
As I’ve already stated, sleep doesn’t come easily for my two kids if they have to share a bed or room with anyone. When we put them in their own rooms, they go to sleep more easily and everyone can sleep more soundly.
Renting a home on Airbnb allows me to find a place where each child can have their own room, making Airbnb a superior option.
+1 for Airbnb
Generally speaking, we’re able to find 3 and 4 bedroom homes on Airbnb for about the same as you’d pay for a single room at a hotel. Once you start factoring in upgrading to a suite of some sort, it’s easy to go over budget.
A hotel room with extra rooms may be cost-prohibitive for families, but homes with the extra rooms can cost about as much as (maybe a little more) than a single hotel room.
+1 for Airbnb
Unless you’re renting a suite at a hotel establishment, space is an issue in most hotel rooms. Even some of the suites can be relatively small.
And, we’ve been duped into upgrading to a “suite” at some hotels that were really just a small section of a room with an incomplete divider. So, the section for the parents was extra cramped while the kid’s section was still open to seeing light, which just kept them awake anyway.
The space available in an Airbnb is typically going to be more family friendly than most hotel rooms, given these are generally homes and condos being rented out.
On a recent trip to visit Discovery Cove Orlando and SeaWorld with friends, my kids, and my dad, we rented a humongous 3 bedroom condo for about the same price as a single room in a hotel. We all had space to spread out and enjoy the condo without being cramped in a room or have to rent multiple rooms.
+1 for Airbnb
Your selection is limited by budget, location, and availability. Still, you can view pictures of each home, inside and out to determine whether or not you feel it will be suitable for your family.
I love being able to narrow my selection based on the price I want to spend, how many rooms and beds I need, and the amenities I’d prefer.
Most times, I seek out 3 bedrooms at a minimum, select the whole house options, and include Wifi in my options. Generally, I also narrow down the area in which I want to say, so I’ll normally look for a rental by typing “Disney Springs” into the search bar to really narrow down the choices in a large city.
Given enough time and depending on the time of year, there’s always tons of options available to me. Smaller towns may be more difficult to find much, but I think that depends on whether or not anyone rents out there … like the one time we tried to rent near Legoland and there weren’t very many choices. But, I didn’t feel there were many hotel choices either.
+1 for Airbnb
If you’re on a budget, having a kitchen may be a great option for families who would rather make their own food instead of being forced to dine out for every meal. When the youngest was a baby, having breakfast in our Airbnb rental was way easier and quicker, so we could move on to our activities sooner. Even still, having breakfast in our rental saves us money for the rest of the vacation and we can eat what we like, without resorting to a hotel breakfast, which isn’t always fantastic, especially if one has food allergies.
+1 for Airbnb
Here’s where I’m on the fence when discussing the pros and cons of Airbnb vs Hotel. While most homes offer Wifi free with your rental, some don’t. Sometimes the house you want doesn’t have a king sized bed. Few rentals have a pool. And, if you’d rather NOT make your own food, you don’t have an on-site restaurant or dining area, like most hotels do.
If there’s an incident and you need towels, you’ll get them from a hotel. However, if the host of an Airbnb rental was a little more reserved, either you’ll have to look for towels or wash some. And that’s the same with paper towels, toilet paper, and other everyday living essentials.
In most cases, we take a box of supplies with us, which you wouldn’t have to worry about with a hotel room. But, we typically also always get a home with washer and dryer, which makes it easier for us to pack lighter. In the event we need fresh clothes, we don’t have to leave the room to find a shared laundry room, we can just do laundry in the comfort of our own rental!
On the fence.
While there are obviously some very nice hotels that aren’t obnoxiously loud, you’re bound to hear people a lot.
I can’t think of a time when we’ve rented a condo or home through Airbnb that we’ve had to deal with much noise or commotion. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about a hotel stay. More often than not I’ve experienced some kind of noise or disturbance, even during late hours as I worried about whether or not one of my kids would be awoken.
I love that every one of our Airbnb stays has been quiet, just like home.
If, after weighing the pros and cons of Airbnb vs Hotel for your own family, you’ve decided to give Airbnb a try, you can get $40 in travel credit through my referral link!
Your turn! Weigh in on the pros and cons of Airbnb vs Hotel renting for traveling families in the comments below