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What’s cheaper, Airbnb or a hotel? The shocking answer

What’s cheaper, Airbnb or a hotel? The shocking answer


When Airbnb and Vrbo first hit the scene, they were terrific. It was so much cheaper than staying at a hotel. Now? Hotels are coming back. But why?

For one, there are all the Airbnb horror stories — from hidden cameras to a host secretly living in a rental’s attic. Seriously, it happened. And did you hear about the group of women who rented an old Victorian to celebrate their 50th high school reunion? Instead of a fun time, they got bats. Some of the women were even bitten. 

If you love to travel but want to save money, this report is worth paying attention to.

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Rentals vs. hotels: What’s cheaper?

Which?, a U.K.-based consumer research group, compared the average price of thousands of hotels with 300,000 Airbnb and Vrbo listings. They also looked at 50 locations over a year to monitor price trends.

Their findings? On average, hotels were less expensive 75% of the time.

Now, a hotel might not be the best choice every time — like when you need a big kitchen or want the whole gang in one place. But at the very least, it’s worth checking. It’s time to add hotels back to your radar.

Oh, the places you’ll go!

So, why the rise in Airbnb and Vrbo prices? Several major U.S. cities are placing more restrictions on Airbnb rentals, making it more difficult for property owners to turn a profit. Jacking up rates helps these owners stay afloat.

It’s not just in the U.S. The most significant price difference is in Greece. On the island of Santorini, a one-bedroom rental through a site like Airbnb is roughly $104 more expensive than a hotel room. 

The same is true for rentals in other major cities around the globe compared to hotel rooms:

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In France, it’s less expensive to book a vacation rental than a hotel in Nice, La Rochelle, Antibes, Avignon and Biarritz. But booking a hotel is still cheaper in Paris and Bordeaux.

Calling all cheapskates

Paying full price makes me sad, so I’m always looking for ways to save when I travel. Follow these tips to get a hotel room at the best price possible.

PSA: Always check for cameras

It’s not paranoia — it’s smart. This happens all too often. You check in to a rental or even a hotel room, lay on the bed and see a strange little light blinking. Is it a camera? A CO2 monitor? A recording device? Don’t wonder. Find out!

Larger cameras are easy to spot, but anyone can easily hide smaller cameras behind furniture, vents or decorations. A simple way to spot most types of cameras is to look for the lens reflection.

You can also get an RF detector. This gadget can pick up wireless cameras you might not see. Unfortunately, RF detectors aren’t great for wired or record-only cameras. For those, you’ll need to stick with the lens reflection method.

In a rental, a free program like Wireless Network Watcher shows what gadgets are connected to the wireless network. You might be able to spot connected cameras that way. Do this in every rental you stay in, just to double-check what’s connected to the network.

Keep your tech-know going 

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from all over the country. Search for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, hit the link below for a recent episode.

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Plus, ever wondered about tech giants’ biggest flops? I’ve got a rundown. Cathay from Seattle is having a rough go sorting through her late father’s 15 computers — I share some ways to ease her journey. Peek into the data your car collects on you, and the undercover map tracking your moves.

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

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