Airbnb Is Not Always The Best Deal When Traveling

Last Updated: Nov 7, 2020 @ 10:27 AM

ayre hotel not airbnb
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The rooftop of the Ayre Hotel. Proof that AirBnB is not always the best deal. Not by a long shot.

Lately in my years of travel, it is becoming more of a fact that AirBnB is not always the best deal when traveling. I love Airbnb and have been using the platform for over ten years. Everyone who reads this blog knows that. I have stayed at many places, in different countries at Airbnb rentals, and l have had only 1 bad experience so far.

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I can’t say enough good things about it. It is nice to be on vacation, and be able to come back after a long day of sightseeing to a homey place, usually with a kitchen so you can cook to cut down on the costs. Most of the homes have wifi,  sometimes even suggestions on things to do in the area by the nice hosts or hostesses. Some you interact with, some you don’t. Here’s why you might need to choose a hotel over AirBnB.

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AirBnB is not always the best deal – Not by a long shot

the un airbnb view
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Night view from the terrace of Ayre hotel. Make sure to check websites similar to AirBnB before making a final decision.

The one thing l have noticed lately is that as more people use Airbnb, the rental prices have crept up. I know some people have turned this into a side hustle, and l can appreciate that, but it seems more and more people are pricing their units according to “how much money they need” as opposed to what the market dictates. I have become complacent in some ways and hadn’t really paid attention.

That is,  until our trip to Barcelona. I can’t remember what it was exactly that made me check hotel prices. My conclusion is that AirBnB has gotten too expensive for real. Is there a cheaper alternative to AirBnB? Surprise..it might be a hotel!

Click here to find the best Barcelona hotel rates

AirBnB vs Hotel: Quest for Barcelona Lodging:

I had narrowed down the area we wanted to stay  called L’example, close to the Sagrada Familia, one of the places on our itinerary. The cheapest price l could find in the area on  the Airbnb  site was €107 per night for our dates. I thought that was a little steep. It was also on the 5th floor, with no elevator. That might have been what did it for me. I didn’t fancy hiking up the stairs,  especially not after walking for hours sightseeing.

I  checked out last minute.com which used to be my go to, as l have gotten really good deals in the past. I came up with a winner pretty close to La Sagrada with fabulous views. Another thing that pisses me off about AirBnB is that lately, a lot of the flats have a 10am checkout time! That is insane and hotels let you checkout from 11am to noon. That can make a big difference.

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no thanks airbnb. Are hotel barcelona
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Ayre Hotel Rosellon. This is the rear entrance.

 

Hotel Lobby of Ayre hotel in barcelona close to the Sagrada
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Hotel Lobby

Hotel Barcelona deal: Ayre Rosellon Hotel

AirBnB vs Hotels: A price comparison

I settled on the Ayre Hotel Rosellon, which is practically next to the Sagrada. I liked the modern look of the hotel and was even happier to see that the price  was €109 for the first night which was a Saturday, but then dropped down to €89 for the following nights!

Quite a difference! Since the frugal part of me loves a good deal, that’s  where we stayed because by the time you added the €48 cleaning fee from the host and the €73 Airbnb “service fee”, The clear winner was the hotel which priced out at €183 less overall. Yeah!!!! I know it doesn’t seem like a lot to loads of people, but to me, it is. We could have some fancy meals with that money 🙂 . Why pick a hotel over AirBnB? It was a no-brainer money saving move.

While l love the convenience of staying at a home, it was nice to stay at a hotel for a change.

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Advantage of Hotel vs AirBnB: Barcelona

  • Freshly made up room after roaming the city.
  • Nice to sit on the rooftop terrace, sipping Cava and eating tapas.
  • Nice to have them hold our bags the last day after checkout as our flight wasn’t till later
  • WiFi in the very comfortable and spacious lounge area free to use for several hours after checkout .
  • Generous check out time at the hotel as opposed to the AirBnB
  • 24 hour reception which makes you feel safer
The lounge area
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The lounge area

 

room at ayre hotel barcelona
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Our spacious room at the Ayre hotel with amazing views of the La Sagrada Familia church.

CHECK FOR ROOM AVAILABILITY AT AYRE ROSELLON BARCELONA

Is AirBnB cheaper than hotel?

The answer is “sometimes”. The takeaway from all this is that it’s always a good idea to double check hotel rates nowadays. You just might be able to get a better deal. I plan on being more vigilant in the future. I know a lot of hotels even include free breakfast (this one did not. It was an extra €12 which we passed on).

Over our way, there are no “reward” credit cards or travel hacking to be done. You have to pay. Let’s hope also that the hosts start realizing that they need to be more realistic with their rates, especially the cleaning fee, which tend too be pretty high. I once saw one that was equal to the price of one night stay. Really people??? 🙂 .

 

airbnb is not always the best deal
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Rooftop terrace of the Ayre hotel Rosellon in Barcelona

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AirBnB vs Hotel Tips:

  • Make sure to check for what your total cost will be. Often, it’s not just the cost of the room, it’s also the AirBnB fees and cleaning fees and sometimes city tax fees. When it’s all added up, decide if it’s still a good deal after comparing hotels to AirBnB.
  • Check prices on other AirBnB type sites such as homeaway or BRVO to see if you can get a better deal.
  • Check hotel prices. Don’t just assume that AirBnB has the best price.
  • Check if the hotel has complimentary airport pickup which itself might make the hotel cheaper than AirBnB.
  • Try to find a hotel that offers free breakfast. It might be cheaper in the end once you calculate meal costs at an AirBnB.
  • Make sure you carefully read the reviews on your AirBnB host. There are too many horror stories of images online that look nothing like the accommodation. For me, l look for hidden messages. If all the reviews constantly praise the host, but not the place itself, it sends up red flags that the host is a nice person and therefore people are hesitant to write negatively about the AirBnB rental.
  • AirBnB prices per night, but if you have a longer stay, prior to booking, send a message to the host and see if they can offer a discounted price if you find someplace you really want to stay at. If they say yes, it might swing your decision one way or the other.
  • Remember to change the currency setting if needed so that you compare apples to apples. If you need to change currency, go to your profile on AirBnB page and then settings. You are also able to change it on some pages that have a currency selector button when you reserve. Make sure you are comparing AirBnB versus hotel prices in the same currency.
  • Make note of the check-in time. More and more, I am finding that AirBnB hosts are having later check-in times. It’s not unusual to see 4PM, sometimes 6PM which is ridiculous. Nothing worse than dragging luggage all over town while you wait to check in. Hotels usually offer free, secure storage. Some hosts do too, but a lot of them don’t.
  • Check on the amenities offered. For instance,  If you like to watch TV to relax after a long day of tourist activities, make sure to see if the AirBnB has a TV set. Do you need a pool? a massage? or things that are readily available in a hotel but not in an AirBnB?
  • Hotel Industry vs AirBnB is a big deal right now. The hotel industry is mad at the loss of business and are being aggressive in trying to regain the customer. This might work in your favour and can score good hotel deals. Book direct from the hotel for offers like we did.
  • Make sure you input the correct number of guests when you book on AirBnB. The price shown on AirBnB is usually per person and will usually adjust higher for 2 people. Hotels on the other hand price for 2 already, so your overall price might be cheaper at the hotel.

AirBnB vs Hotel tips #airbnb #airbnbvshotel #hotelbetterthanairbnb #travel #traveltips #lodgintips
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What about you? Have you every used Airbnb on your travels? If so, have you noticed that the prices are creeping up? Is AirBnB cheaper than a hotel? The answer would be not always. Do you have any suggestions on saving money on accommodation whilst traveling? If so, please share your secrets with us.

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17 thoughts on “Airbnb Is Not Always The Best Deal When Traveling”

    • I know right? I was duly impressed. I only found out later it was some sort of chain. I think the usual price is €169 per night, plus an extra 50 if you wanted a view. Thanks to a tripadvisor review, l asked for the view, and was given one gratis. They even apologized that it couldn’t be on a higher floor! I was just grateful and impressed with their customer care.

      Reply
  1. In Romania, Airbnb prices per room are usually twice or three times greater than those of decent 3 star hotels, and greater than those of 4 star hotels. It’s pretty insane!

    I’ve never used airbnb, but I am plan on checking it out when visiting Europe (whenever that will be). As long as we can find a better place, we’ll go for it and take the risk of having a bad experience. You can have a bad experience with a hotel, too.

    But the Ayre Hotel you stayed at looks really amazing. That Sagrada Familia view and the rooftop terrace are great, not to mention the room itself!

    Reply
    • “In Romania, Airbnb prices per room are usually twice or three times greater than those of decent 3 star hotels, and greater than those of 4 star”. WHAT??? I wonder if people really use them then? Why would l not stay in a hotel?.. I see now a lot of airbnb have like 10am checkouts. That is even worse than the hotels. From now on, l am watching like an eagle..lol! Yeah..the hotel was pretty amazing. We ended up basically getting it for half price, except for Saturday..I felt like a baller..lol

      Reply
  2. I hear you kemkem! I’ve never used Airbnb as I like either staying at a B&B or a hotel, depending on the type of trip. Ho! Ho! But you’re right. Do your reserach.

    We went to Edinburgh last year and Edinburgh can be as bad as London sometimes, so I checked out the hostels for private family rooms. The prices were crazily high bordering on £120 per night. For a hostel. No way! Then I remembered that I had a newspaper clipping of a mid-range hotel catering to families. Price for a family room near the unversity: £49.00 per night (not including breakfast), What a difference!

    Reply
  3. Wow! Amazing price difference. I had considered a hostel too because l saw several people writing about it and considered it for London, but at £120 per night like you said, it wasn’t going to happen. We ended up staying with family just outside the city. You have to do due diligence now..lol!

    Reply
  4. I love staying in private homes too. Like you said it feels more homey. I’ve used Home Away a few times but never Airbnb. I like being able to fix my own coffee and breakfast in the morning. The last place we rented was in Austin, TX in 2012. The house was located in a very nice residential community. It had a pool. It was nice to come home to that every night after a long day of sight seeing. Plus it gives you a chance to see how people really live in that city. Like you mentioned, for some areas it’s better to stay in a hotel especially if the price is right. When we visited Boston we wanted to stay right in the city because we had limited time and so we opted for the hotel w/breakfast included.

    Reply
    • I’ve never used Homeaway. I think l will try it very soon just to see other options out there. Yeah..l love waking up at your leisure instead of remembring to put out the do not disturb sign..lol! Awwhhh..Boston..that’s where l lived first in the U.S for 10 years! I love that place. Too cold though, got tired of that, and moved to L.A.

      Reply
  5. I have only used AirBnB once and it was okay. I stayed in a wonderful lodge, but I noticed that it was more expensive to book through AirBnB than booking.com (I think it was about 15-20 dollars a night). The only reason I booked at AirBnB was because I won a gift certificate with a value of around €150…Most times I have looked I have found AirBnB more expensive than a hotel or a hostel. I am a student, so I don’t mind a dorm room 😉 but when I travel with my family I always book a private room. It must be nice to earn extra money, but I hate when people charge more than they should!

    Reply
    • I’m glad people like you also pay attention 🙂 . $15-20 per night is a big deal, especially on a low budget. The AirBnB hosts have to come to the realization that it’s unthinkable for someone to pay more just because they want to get a “local” experience .. highly overrated in that case. My hard earned money deserves respect.. hahah!!! Thanks for the comment.

      Reply
    • The hotel was definitely nice. AirBnB can sometimes be a good option, but it’s definitely worth checking out the hotels as well. A lot of them are competing quite nicely with the private lodgers and you can get a good deal :-). We have stayed at a hotel before in Stockholm, but it was quite expensive :-), but low for the city of course.

      Reply
  6. Things have changed in the past few years and I would say that AirBnb has become a big business and is no longer what initially was: cheap home sharing. Many people nowadays buy property just to rent it out on AirBnb, much of the personal touches that regular homes had are disappearing and everything is made for profit. But even checking old listings – places that we stayed at in the past – shows us that prices have increased drastically, some of them even doubled.

    On the other hand, with Booking and their Genius loyalty program that offers discounts (sometimes) based on the number of previous stays can end up with massive discounts over AirBnbs. One thing is clear, though: I am checking out all options now before making a booking, because you never know where the cheapest (and best) ones are.

    Reply
    • They have definitely changed, and unfortunately not for the better. I know here in Valencia, they have been cracking down on AirBnB and no longer give out licenses at this point. This has caused people that had bought just to make profit from it list for sale (mostly trying to snare suckers) because if the rest of the neighbours vote, they can still take away the licenses, so no assurance of keeping it. It’s insane how much more expensive the places have become and how much earlier you have to leave!

      I love that Genius loyalty on Booking and whenever l get a discount, I am pleased, and yep..lately, they are sort of coming out ahead of the AirBnB listings it seems. It is definitely worth checking out the options to see which one gives you a better bang for your buck so to speak.

      Reply

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