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Airbnb Discount Lodging Is Up to 46% Cheaper Than a Hotel Stay

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By Angela Colley, dealnews contributor

If you're ready to pack your swimsuit, sun block, and beach towel and hit the road, then you're not alone. The American Express Spending and Savings Tracker survey found that 69% of consumers plan to take a summer vacation this year. Additionally, 69% of respondents told American Express that they plan on spending $1,000 or less on their travel plans this season.

If you're similarly stricken with wanderlust and likewise have a small budget to work with, then another recent study may have the answer for how to make a great getaway possible. Research by Priceonomics found that staying at an Airbnb property can be up to 50% cheaper than staying in a traditional hotel.

Airbnb Can Save You Up to $65 per Night in NYC

Instead of booking a room at a destination hotel or a quaint bed and breakfast, Airbnb users can book lodging — from a couch or private room, to an entire house, condo, or cabin — from an Airbnb host. Currently, there are Airbnb listings in 34,000 cities across 192 countries. And while many accommodations are located in downtown districts, there is also an abundance of AirBnB listings in less tourist-heavy neighborhoods and locales. A majority of accommodations include access to a full kitchen, television, free WiFi, and other at-home amenities, the cost of which can add up quickly at an ordinary hotel.

The secondary savings of included add-ons aside, the actual cost per-night (or per-week or per-month) of booking a stay at an Airbnb is substantially less than that of even a cheap hotel room. Priceonomics found that renting a private room in an apartment can net up to 45.9% in savings. But sometimes the lack of privacy in renting just a room isn't suitable as Airbnb apartment owner or other guests might be staying in the space at the same time. For more privacy, renting an entire apartment still affords a savings of to 21.2% over the cost of an average hotel room.

Of course, we all know that the cost of lodging varies by area, and some cities run much higher than others. However, Airbnb lodging still consistently beats hotels prices in most places. For example, the median rate for a hotel room in New York is $245 a night. The median price of an Airbnb apartment rental in New York is $180, or 26% cheaper. In Boston, the median hotel price is $229 a night, while the median for an Airbnb rental is $185: an average savings of $44. Airbnb prices in notably-expensive San Francisco are also lower; the median hotel price is $229 a night and the median Airbnb apartment rental comes in at $165, according to Priceonomics.

Hotel stays only beat Airbnb full apartment rental prices in a few areas: in Austin, Texas the median price of a hotel rental is $110, while the median for an Airbnb apartment rental is $115. And in Miami, the median hotel rental runs $118 while an apartment rental might cost you $135.

Still, for the budget traveler, there are savings to be had with Airbnb, especially for those who aren't set on a specific vacation destination. Some of the cheapest Airbnb locations in the United States are Dallas, Texas (with a median apartment rental price of $89), Phoenix, Arizona (median price of $83), and Madison, Wisconsin (median price of $75).

Regardless of the savings, Airbnb isn't for everyone. And fortunately there are still cheap hotel stays to be had, especially for the traveler who books in advance. For example, in the past six months, we've seen 36 deals for New York hotels that cost less than $180 per night (sometimes substantially less), which is the median for an Airbnb apartment stay there. There are even more ways to save on hotel and airfare, especially if your travel days are flexible.

Readers, are any of you devout Airbnbers? Do you use it because you prefer having a full apartment at your disposal, or do you primarily book there in order to save money? Let us know in the comments below.



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Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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7 comments
Bonoca
We've had mixed results with AirBnB. Some places were fantastic--reasonably priced, clean, well located, etc. Other hosts have cancelled on us at last minute or changed the rate on a whim. Definitely buyer beware. Make sure to read the reviews and if there aren't any reviews, STAY AWAY!!!
jdakadj
I tried airbnb at Miami and Chicago to save money. Both bad experience. I would suggest airbnb if you are looking to go to a place alone for job search. But if you are for a vacation, just use Priceline or some other travel site to get a good deal and forget about cleaning apartment after your stay and dealing with the tenant. I would stay far away from airbnb if you have other options available.
kknur
I've used AirBnB in Croatia, New Orleans ans SoCal for great savings and a more personalized visitor experience. Many hosts are not doing it just for the money; they enjoy making someone's visit to their city more hospitable.
Greg the Gruesome
I can't believe Airbnb and New York City were mentioned together but the recent case in which the tenant of an apartment who had an Airbnb guest for a stay was fined $2,400 by the City. (Look it up on Wikipedia.) Hell, I can't believe there are still Airbnb listings in NYC after that.
AJC2013
My girlfriend and I used AirBNB to get an apt down in greenwich village for one of our NYC trips, it was absolutely fantastic. I'd never really seen the inside of apts there before, plus I've always stayed in hotels (which you can stay in anywhere)... it was time for a change, and it truly made "going home" (to the apt) something to look forward to. This past summer I also used Airbnb to book an apt with a few friends in London, yet another home run... not only were hotels stupid expensive because of the Olympics, but how cool is it to get a feel for real life in a foreign country?!! By booking Airbnb, the intent is always to save money, but hotels can be so boring / normal as it is, so why not find a great flat somewhere and immerse yourself in the culture of the neighborhood a bit!
mtbr101
I have been using AirBNB for a year now and greatly enjoy it, both as a traveler and as a host. Many of the properties are also listed on VRBO and Homeaway, AirBNB has just brought it more mainstream. The experiences I have had traveling would not have been as pleasant had I stayed in a hotel. The wonderful thing about meeting your host is that often times they can let you in on some great local secrets. This is especially true on international travel, our time outside of the US in non english speaking areas was vastly improved by using AirBNB hosts. The NYC thing is true though, the best deals I have found involve using Hotel Tonight for Manhattan.

As a host I take great pleasure in meeting people from all over the world and showing them our wonderful part of the California Coast. The extra money made is great too, but the experience of meeting travelers is extremely rewarding on its own.
ryanmm
It's rarely enough of a saving to bother with. Rather just stay in a real hotel.
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