Should you Stay in a Home Rental or Hotel?

East Shore Resort in Clearwater Florida delightfully detailed family resort.

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How do you decide where to stay, a home rental or hotel? With so many choices, price points, amenities, and even safety to consider, it can be a lot to take in.

One of my favorite things about travel planning is not just choosing the destination, but finding unique and interesting places to stay. Generally, you might think that would lead us to AirBnb for their original and distinctive accommodations like treehouses, ranches, RVs, and more. And I’ll admit, I have a lot of lists for where to stay.

However, we’ve found wonderful and unique stays by staying in a hotel. These do tend to be the smaller lodging style of hotels. Yet, we’ve also found larger luxury hotels that are also unique and glorious. It does depend on what you’re looking for.

So, where should you stay, a home rental or hotel?

Why choose Airbnb or another Home Rental

What I love about Airbnb is the availability of unique accommodations. I curate lists through their website and app all the time of different exciting places to stay. To date, we’ve stayed in two different RV/trailers, a condo steps from the beach, and a historic home in downtown St. Augustine, just to name a few.  My curated lists include a horse ranch, tree houses, and sailboats to name a few.

Read How and Why to Book an Airbnb Here.

Should you stay in a home rental

Other reasons to choose a home rental include:

  1. Price Savings over chain hotels
  2. Fully equipped kitchens
  3. Spacious, more room for family members

Why Choose a Hotel

We’ve also chosen hotels for their unique properties as well. I will say that we like hotels that offer something beyond standard chain hotels. We’ve stayed on the beach in the Keys, next to a coffee plantation, near a wildlife reserve and more. And granted, we have stayed in the roadside hotel and there are benefits to that as well (Can you say free breakfast??)

should you stay in a hotel

Also, a hotel can be closer to the attraction for easier access. Obviously, you’re not going to do better than a Disney hotel to get close to the Magic Kingdom.

Benefits of staying in a hotel include:

  1. Name brand hotel means no surprises
  2. On-site Staff
  3. Amenities such as breakfast, room service, fitness center, housekeeping

What about Authenticity?

Here at Detail Oriented Traveler, we seek out authentic experiences for us and our children so that we can better understand the world around us from a traveler’s point of view and a worldview. I think you can find authenticity in your travels by seeking out unique accommodations either through a home rental or hotel. I have found it in both.

Our most authentic experiences in a hotel came from staying at Cay Pointe, and Finca Rosa Blanca in Costa Rica. We found these places through sites such as Superior Small Lodging in Florida and Cayuga Resorts in Costa Rica. Search for small lodging in your destination and I’m sure you’ll come up with hundreds of locations.

During a home rental, I felt it in the RV in Gatlinburg. And I had a less authentic stay in St. Augustine with the oversized mismatched decor. The location was convenient but I may have had a better experience in s superior small lodging.

Check the Reviews

Before renting a hotel or a room, be sure to check the reviews. This will give you an idea if the descriptions are accurate, service is as expected, as well as tips about the surrounding community.

Should you stay in a home rental or hotel
Me, working in a hotel

Each hotel chain has its own website, and you can price check hotel accommodations at sites like Priceline which searches all the popular hotel sites or your local travel agent.

should you stay in a home rental or hotel

Me, working in a home rental

Sites to search for home rentals include:


Which do you prefer when you travel? Home rental or booking a hotel?

hotel bed

Additional Hotel Planning

How to Book a Unique Hotel Part 1

How to Book a Unique Hotel Part 2

Should you Stay in a Home Rental or Hotel

How to do Travel Research with Hashtags

How to Use Pinterest for more than Wanderlusting

Traveling during a Hurricane

How to Book the Perfect Family Accommodations 

About The Author

27 thoughts on “Should you Stay in a Home Rental or Hotel?”

  1. I find it’s always a dilemma. We’ve rented apartments in the South of France and Paris and it worked out fine, but for shorter stays I love hotels. I’m kind of a fanatic. For longer stays when you want to feel like you live somewhere, I’d say a rental.

  2. My family and I love the staying in both Apartment rentals and hotels. There are times when we just really want to be taken care of, which of why we stay at hotels, mostly boutique hotels. Then there are times when I want a big nice kitchen to cook in and live like locals. Great detailed post!

  3. I’ve stayed in both and enjoyed both. I think it depends on what makes sense for the area, your timing, and budget. But also, home rentals have worked out better when traveling in a group. It made life much easier to rent a large apartment in Barcelona when visiting with a group of friends. Coordinating out of different hotel rooms would have been a nightmare.

  4. Maybe I should start checking into AirBnB. I’m a long time couchsurfer and hostel rat. But sometimes, I want to go about it in style or maybe just with a bit more privacy and peace and quite. However, I’m not privy on paying hotel prices so AirBnB is likely the best option. Thanks for the post!

  5. I often have this struggle. I have not yet had my first AirBNB experience, because I’m worried that the host will cancel on me last minute (which I have heard happens semi-frequently), or that it will be confusing or difficult to find or meet them upon arrival in the city in order to get keys or get into the house, etc. However, you can definitely find better deals and more unique places in home rentals versus hotels- so I guess I will just have throw my fears to the wind and try it out!

    1. Michelle, you can also try vrbo and homestay for home rentals too. while I have not had any cancellations with Airbnb, if you’re concerned that is another option.

  6. It is always a common thought in our travel planes especially when travelling with kids. It is mainly in our thoughts with the arriving and departure. I like te hotel if we are getting a taxi to the airport especially in countries that don’t speak English as their first language

  7. We love home rental sites! Either that or couchsurfing. Although we do rent hotels once in a while when we want to just turn off. With hotels, you know exactly what you are getting and have a fixed expectation.

  8. Like you, I’ve taken advantage of all types of accommodation. I loved VRBO way before it was so popular, and have also enjoyed my share of AirBnB. But I will stay that in certain situations, a ‘normal’ hotel also fits the bill. It’s good to choose based on your needs at the time, as always!

  9. It very much depends on the destination and the type of holiday, then maybe a rental is a good option. But I do love the hotel breakfasts (when they are good), they are a great day starter and a reason to get out of bed

  10. So many great points to consider–thanks for sharing! We always have a hard time deciding where to stay. There are usually so many great options! We typically end up in a mix of apartments and hotels–it’s nice to have the kitchen and home amenities of an apartment, but sometimes the simplicity of a hotel is nice too, especially when it’s a uniquely designed spot!

  11. I think with so many options for cute and quirky accommodation – my trip planning time has increased to a point where it can take up too much of my time! When I am feeling creative, I will quite happily scour airbnb’s and vacation rentals, but when I want something quick and a ‘you get exactly what it says on the tin’ kind of experience I go for hotels every time. I think each have their strengths and weaknesses and the choice will depend on the purpose of your stay.

  12. I have tried airbnb, but would totally go for hotels as my first choice. I usually use tripadvisors to look at the pictures taken by other travellers, mostly this are the unedited and the true self of the place.

  13. I am all in for the homestay option. If I go somewhere, I want to immerse in the population, and nothing works for that like a homestay.

  14. I love researching places to stay too, but I also love pulling into a roadside motel late at night and being surprised at where we landed in the morning. These are some of my favorite parts of any trip.

  15. I’ve done a bit of both and I really enjoy being in rentals because it gives you freedom and you can just relax.However I also really love the excitement of being in hotels.

  16. I’d like apartment rental and that’s what I always do.
    More spacious, better with a balcony, and I make breakfast in the morning – before heading out for all the fun 🙂 @knycx.journeying

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