Why I Stopped Booking Hotels For Airbnb's

I love to go on adventures. I have a continuous longing to travel, explore, and live like a local in different cities. But because I am a student, hotel prices aren't always budget friendly. With all the expensive prices, hidden fees, and credit card debt to follow, sometimes hotels as an option (especially if I want a very luxurious hotel) just aren't in my favor. Because of this and many other reasons, I have gradually switched from booking hotels to booking Airbnb's whenever I go on trips and stay-cations.

Disclosure: This post is NOT sponsored by Airbnb, but does include referral links. Nevertheless, my thoughts and opinions are that of my own and are not altered because of compensation. If you do use my link, though, I thank you greatly because it helps me continue to make awesome content on this blog for you! Photos in this blog post are from Airbnb's I've actually stayed at in the past. I have linked the listings in the photo captions in case you were interested in booking them for the future.

This summer, Adam and I have a lot of adventures planned out. At the end of May, we are visiting the nation's capital, Ottawa, for a week, and obviously opted to book with Airbnb instead of a hotel. This is not the first time we have booked with Airbnb, and usually opt for Airbnb instead of hotels for majority of our trips away. Whether we are looking for a big cottage to fit all 12 of our friends or just an intimate condo for a romantic getaway, Airbnb has always been our go-to travel accommodation. I will be sharing with you the many reasons why we choose Airbnb over Hotels when we travel.

You get more while paying less | Most hotels, on average, cost about $100 - $200 per night for basic accommodations (Bed/Bathroom + optional living space). In these instances, you tend to pay mostly for the luxury of being able to say "I am staying with The Sheraton/Marriott/Hilton/Fairmont etc." But in the bare bone breakdown of it all, you are only getting a bed, a bathroom, maybe some living space with a TV and pull out couch and some amenities like a hotel pool, small fitness room, maybe a sauna.
James' Condo near Toronto
On the other hand, you can easily find condos on Airbnb with similar if not better amenities at significantly lower prices. For example, in one of our past trips, we rented a condo in Toronto for $86 a night and it had a bedroom, office room (with a desk and office chair), full living room (with a TV, cable, Netflix and a Playstation 3), full kitchen, in-unit laundry machines, 2 bathrooms, free parking and access to the condo amenities including the pool area, the fitness centre, and the rooftop Terrance.

When you compare the price difference, we got significantly more staying with Airbnb at almost half the price of many hotels in Toronto.

No hidden fees | Don't you hate when you get to check-out at a hotel and you see another $100 in fees added to your bill? With Airbnb that never happens. Your fees (Service Fee, Cleaning Fee, etc.) are all included in the price you pay when you book your Airbnb. You are even aware of the deposit fee at booking (which you do not ever have to pay unless you break something in the Unit). It is all located within the app in your Itinerary which is super convenient.

Katie's Cottage in Fort Erie
It is a home away from home | What I love most about Airbnb is that when you visit someone's home, it will never be like any other you visit (unless of course you visit the same place more than once lol). Each place is decorated with a sense of style to reflect a home-away-from-home feeling. Sometimes you will find little knick-knacks sitting around for decor. Sometimes the overall decor sheds some light on the host's personality or hobbies. Its amazing to see the different ways people view "home". I've stayed at places where the host even stores some of their own personal stuff in the home, as well. This kind of gave a sense of "I am a guest in their home, so I should respect their stuff". This is great because it creates almost a social contract (unless of course you have no manners) that we should all do our job to keep the place in tip-top shape while staying there so that the next person who stays there can also enjoy the luxury of the home we have enjoyed.

Tanveer's Studio Apartment in Oshawa
Full Kitchen Without The Cost | At many hotels, if they do offer some sort of kitchen option, it is usually a small kitchenette that certain suites have if you upgrade your room. Or they may add a mini-fridge to your room and let you use the microwave down the hall. At one hotel, for example, we had to pay $30/day extra to get a fridge added to our room. That $30 really added up at the end of the trip. On the other hand, at Airbnb's, many homes already have kitchens and it is generally a staple included in any place you will book. A lot of the time, if you read the descriptions and reviews, you will be able to tell if the home has a fully stocked kitchen (with pans, plates, spices, etc.) or if it is just a basic kitchen with just a stove top and a fridge. Either way, you have access to a kitchen at no extra cost or fee.
Ioana's Home in Mississauga
Some people may not care for a kitchen, but when I go on trips, having a kitchen is essential because it is a great way to save money. Instead of spending money on eating out every meal, I like to go grocery shopping and cook my own meals and pick out my own snacks. It is significantly cheaper and healthier. Not to say I don't eat out when I go on trips--because I really am a BIG foodie--but eating at restaurants is usually a treat for me and Adam; not an every day thing when we travel.

Personalized, 1-on-1 Guest Service | When you are staying at someone's home, you are treated like a guest, not like a customer. Because Airbnb is built on relationships, you really do get to know your host and they get to know you. If you are having issues with your unit, they are there to help and make sure you have an exceptional experience. Unlike in a hotel where the front desk is dealing with 100s of guests per night, your Airbnb host is probably only hosting yourself or maybe a small handful of people in other units. They have ample time and opportunity to get to know you and serve you to the best way possible. No more sitting on hold with a hotel front desk clerk waiting for them to help you figure out why the WiFi isn't working. Your Airbnb host is just a text/call/email/knock away.

Ioana's Home in Mississauga
There's so many different options | With Airbnb, there are so many different options for places to stay. Cottage, houses for big groups, small condo, basement apartment, treehouse in the woods, beach house? You name it! The options are endless, leaving you with many different experiences ahead.

Katie's Cottage in Fort Erie
They are great for groups | Unfortunately, most hotels lack accommodations for big groups. What tends to happen is that, when booking with groups, everyone ends up separately booking a room. On the other hand, with Airbnb, you have the option to book a whole home to share with your group of friends or big family.

Skip The Credit Card | With Airbnb, you no longer have to put accommodations on your credit card! Airbnb--on top of Mastercard and Visa--also accepts Visa Debit & Paypal, so you can use your own money to pay for trips instead of putting it on your credit card and worrying about having to pay it off later.

No matter where we go, we have always had a phenomenal stay at Airbnb's. The hosts have all been amazing; the locations have always been ideal; and the prices are just right up our ally. So many amazing memories together and with our friends have been made staying at Airbnb's. If you have the patience to search for a place that meets your expectations, is in an ideal location, and fits your budget, you are almost guaranteed an amazing deal! Don't forget, if you'd like $50 CAD off your first adventure to use my referral link above! Happy Travels!

Have you stayed with Airbnb before? Where did you go?


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  1. I love AirBnb as well! My fiance and I used it exclusively when we visited Italy for the first time and it was the best thing we did. Having a full kitchen is everything!!


    1. That's great to hear! It is just such an amazing service! The kitchen is my favorite part too!

  2. I've used Air Bnb in the past. We actually used it when we went to the Big Island. I felt like we saved so much by choosing to go with Air BnB and that included having a small kitchenette that we were able to cook a lot of our meals on. The only problem I've run into with Air BnB is sometimes it's a little tricky to find places at least on the Big Island and some cases Japan where it was kid friendly. A lot of the places we looked at were 10+ and I'm not going to not travel with out my children...so that was my only complaint.

    1. I can totally agree with you regarding finding a child friendly airbnb. Most of the places I've seen (In Toronto, Quebec, Ottawa and Niagara, anyways) usually tend to be condos meant for business travelers or couples. I have, however, seen some people advertise their listing as child friendly including things like a changing table, high chair, and those little gates you put in front of stairs. Unfortunately, its a hit-or-miss. I think it would be cool if Airbnb added "Child Friendly" to their filters, to make it easier for parents to find a place suitable for their young children. Possibly a suggestion to tweet them one day? They have a filter for "Free Parking" and "Work Space". I dont know why they wouldn't have one for "Child Friendly" lol.