Hotels vs. Vacation Rentals: Uncovering the Best Value for Your Stay

Today, we’re tackling a common dilemma for travelers: are hotels and resorts cheaper than Airbnb and Vrbo rentals?

The Shifting Landscape of Accommodation Prices

Not long ago, platforms like Airbnb and Vrbo revolutionized the travel industry by offering affordable alternatives to traditional hotels. However, recent research suggests a shift in this trend. A study conducted by the U.K.-based consumer website Which? compared thousands of hotel stays with over 300,000 listings on Airbnb and Vrbo across 50 destinations. Surprisingly, it found that hotels were cheaper than private rentals in over 75% of the locations analyzed.

The price differences can be significant, depending on the destination. For instance, in Santorini, a famed Greek island, the study found that a one-bedroom rental is about $104 more expensive than a hotel room. This trend is consistent in major capital cities like Amsterdam, Singapore, London, and Dubai. Even in San Francisco, where Airbnb was founded, opting for a hotel could save travelers around $44 compared to an Airbnb apartment.

Reasons Behind the Price Increase

The rise in rates for private rentals is attributed to a shift from small city apartments to larger rural houses with more amenities, often situated in pricier areas. The impact of inflation is also a contributing factor.

The Exception: Vacation Rentals in France

Interestingly, France stands out as an exception. In cities like Antibes, Avignon, Biarritz, La Rochelle, and Nice, vacation rentals are cheaper than hotels. However, in Bordeaux and Paris, hotels still offer a more budget-friendly option.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Accommodation

While price is a significant factor, it’s not the only one to consider when booking your stay. Here are some aspects to keep in mind:

1. Your Travel Needs

Are you looking for a kitchen, extra bedrooms, or a cozy, home-like atmosphere? Vacation rentals often provide amenities and space that hotels might not offer.

2. Location Preferences

Hotels are typically located in central, convenient areas, while vacation rentals can offer unique local experiences in diverse neighborhoods.

3. Length of Stay

For longer stays, a vacation rental might be more comfortable and cost-effective, especially if you’re traveling with a group or family.

4. Additional Costs

Remember to factor in extra costs like cleaning fees, service charges, and security deposits for vacation rentals, which can add up.

5. Flexibility and Services

Hotels usually offer more flexibility with booking and cancellation policies, along with services like daily housekeeping and concierge assistance.

Price Comparisons Are Key

As the study shows, the best approach is to conduct thorough price comparisons. Tools like Google Flights, Kayak, and Trivago can help you compare costs across different accommodation types.

Travel credit cards also open up some interesting savings to consider. Cards by Capital One, for example, help cardholders earn multiplier rewards on hotels. However, they often ink deals with other travel sites like Vrbo that can offer 5-10% savings. There are are a few ways to maximize your travel rewards and savings when deciding to book a vacation rental property or a hotel.


The decision between booking a hotel and a vacation rental is not just about cost. It’s about weighing the pros and cons based on your specific travel needs and preferences. With the right research and tools, you can find the perfect accommodation that fits both your budget and your travel style.



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