Hostel vs Hotel vs Airbnb Price Comparison – How to Choose Any Hotel, Hostel, Apartment or House to Rent

by brian on November 10, 2011

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One of the most popular articles I wrote was the one that detailed the price difference between hostels and hotels. Hostels were the primary way I was able to make friends and travel around the world without spending every cent I had.
How Much Can You Save Staying In Hostels? The REAL Numbers

I wanted to update that post now that we have Airbnb, Roomorama and other websites that connect owners with renters who can take a room, whole apartment or house as opposed to staying in a hotel or hostel.

There are so many housing options when you pull of a list for a particular city or locale. To narrow the choices I used the criteria below:

The cities selected were the ones I traveled to on my round the world trip.

Time period selected was January 17-24, 2012. I tried to pick a time that did not have any major events as far as I could tell.

Accommodations for 1 person.

Used the lowest price hotel, using with a guest rating of 3 out 5 or better and a hotel rating of 3 stars or better.

Used the lowest priced hostel from with a guest approval rating of 80% or better.

Used the lowest price apartment/house rental from I ignored single room rentals.

Accommodations only picked that had reviews written for them.

All prices in US Dollar amounts.

Accomodation Comparison 566 Hostel vs Hotel vs Airbnb Price Comparison   How to Choose Any Hotel, Hostel, Apartment or House to Rent

Some Observations:
Don’t Automatically Pick the Hotel
The cheapest Airbnb prices on average are slightly less than the cheapest hotel pricing. Really consider Airbnb or another service that allows you to rent an studio, apartment or house. My own experience with Airbnb was great. We saved money and it felt like “home” to a certain extent. Being in a residential neighborhood certainly made the travel experience very different from being on the hostel/hotel strip. In some way I would say staying in a residence enhanced the trip.

Know Your Location
With Airbnb check to make sure that the housing is near the city or locale you want to be. If you want to in the center of Paris, someone may advertise housing that is 30 minutes away. With that said, if you are budget conscious, look for the housing options that are close but not in the middle of the action. For instance, if you’re coming to New York City, look for housing in Hoboken or Weehawken across the Hudson or in Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx. You may have to commute, but you could save a significant amount.

Visit Before You Visit
Google Maps can be your best friend. If you use the Street View (where available) you can see exactly where your accommodations will be. Does the neighborhood look sketchy? Paved street or dirt road? Will you have a problem climbing the stairs? You can visit virtually before you get there. It can also help you find the place if you remember some landmarks by viewing it remotely, especially if the signs are in a foreign language or you arrive at night.

Know What Amenities You Want
Whatever type of accommodation you are looking for the Internet allows you to make sure you get what you want. The sites used above allow you to enter things like kitchen, wi-fi, laundry, etc. so that you can better pick the housing suited for you.

Use Reviews But Look Deeper
The more reviews the better, but also look for people who may be whiny or nitpicky. They may have a legitimate gripe or they could be the one guest that complains about everything. Take these with a grain of salt. I hate to not use the places that don’t have any reviews but you don’t want to take a chance with shoddy accommodations. Let someone else be the guinea pig.

What have been your experiences with hostels or a service like Airbnb? Have you sworn off hotels forever or did something convince you hotels are the only way to go? Let us know in the comments below.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

KittenCat March 19, 2012 at 3:40 AM

I had FAB experience using air b’n'b in Toronto., definately got that lovely residential area / feel to the place away from the hustle and bussle and discovered a couple of the best coffeeshops in Toronto I probably would never have otherwise found — Air B’n'B is great however YES a lot of the cheaper places seemed quite far out of town., and really would you want that hassle whilst being a little lost…? Dunno.. Guess we all travel differently! Ha!! Anyhoo., I highly recommend Air B’n'B and loved this informative info… :) ) kitty xx


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