Finding Rooms Through Airbnb Vs Booking

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During our last few days in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, we decided to treat ourselves to a hotel stay near one of the beaches. We found the hotel through Booking.com, one of our go to sites for finding hotels. On short stays, I’m always trying to take advantage of the best deal. So I often compare prices on Airbnb vs Booking to see what rooms are available for our family.

We hadn’t originally planned to stay at a hotel in Puerto Escondido. But four days before we were planning on leaving Puerto Escondido, we realized that we hadn’t actually booked any tickets to our next destination: La Paz, Mexico. Oops. I suppose we were just having too much fun on the beach!

When we looked for flights, it would have cost us over $400 per person to fly to La Paz. I had budgeted between $75 and $150 based on flight costs I had seen a few weeks earlier. No bueno! We decided to stay a few days extra in Puerto Escondido, so that we can book one of the cheaper flights. Once we booked our flight, the next step was booking a place to stay. This time, we were decided between using Airbnb vs Booking.

Playing in the hotel pool in Puerto Escondido (February 2019)

Using Airbnb vs Booking to find places to stay

When it comes to Airbnb vs Booking, we’ve had luck with both platforms in finding affordable places to stay. But the experience is quite different between the two platforms. And depending on what your travel style is, you may end up preferring one platform over the other.

For those of you unfamiliar with Airbnb, it’s a homesharing site where homeowners can place their room or home for short-term rentals. We’ve used Airbnb often for finding entire homes that our family can book. Booking.com, on the other hand, is an online hotel search engine that allows you to find hotels in the area that have available rooms.

There are some pros and cons of Airbnb when it comes to using their platform to book rooms. I can usually find really cheap Airbnbs in the cities we’re visiting. And I can easily message the host with questions about the property and get a quick answer back. But the options are sometimes limited in my price range. And Airbnb doesn’t show the exact location of a listing (for obvious safety reasons) until you book it, so it makes figuring out walking distances difficult.

With Booking, I can look through dozens of hotels in the price range I choose. And I can see exactly where they are located on the map. Booking also has the option of choosing vacation rentals of apartments now. But the downside is that it doesn’t get half the same amount of vetting as Airbnb does. When looking at rooms on Airbnb vs Booking, it’s important to understand how both platforms operate. It’s not always a straightforward comparison. Like our family, you’re certainly welcome to use both platforms.

Enjoying our Airbnb in Puerto Escondido (January 2019)

Pros and cons of Airbnb

We are big supporters of Airbnb. But we do acknowledge that there are certainly pros and cons of Airbnb for the traveler. We love how we can rent out whole apartments or houses on Airbnb. Our preference is for properties with kitchens. Being able to cook our own meals helps us save money on food costs. And being in an apartment or a house helps us feel like we’re living somewhere, rather than just passing through.

But on the opposite side of the pros and cons of Airbnb is that every new place we go through is a crap shoot. We don’t know for sure if the property will be exactly as advertised, or if it will be slightly different. At least with hotel chains, you know there’s going to be consistency in service and amenities. With Airbnb, we have to do that guess work ourselves.

Our Airbnb in Puerto Escondido (January 2019)

Pros and cons of hotels

Despite preferring Airbnb, I’m not completely against staying at a hotel. There are certainly some pros and cons of hotels too. We don’t always like supporting international chain hotels, as the bulk of the profits doesn’t usually go to the local economy. But we do enjoy finding small, locally owned hotels. The one we stayed at in Puerto Escondido was called Hotel Paraiso Escondido, and it truly was a hidden paradise.

The biggest benefit of hotels is consistency. In general, you know what you’re going to get at a hotel, even in small, locally-owned hotels. You’re always going to get a bed with sheets and a shower. There’s also someone on site that you can talk to if something goes wrong. With Airbnbs, you don’t always have someone on site, and sometimes the only way to contact the host is through the Airbnb website or app. I like having the instant service that hotels offer.

But in thinking about the pros and cons of hotels, you also need to consider the negatives. It’s often difficult to find hotels for families, especially big ones, without splitting the family into separate rooms. And hotel prices can get awfully expensive for families. On a personal level, I don’t like the feeling of staying in a hotel room for an extended length of time. And not being able to cook my own food, being forced to eat at restaurants every day, can be draining on our budget.

Playing in our hotel pool (February 2019)

Going with your personal preferences

As a traveling family, we are constantly adjusting our travel style to accommodate what’s available. Most times we’ll use Airbnb to find a room for our longer stays. Other times, we’ll use Booking if Airbnb is not finding us the accommodations we want. It’s always a fluid process.

When you’re considering Airbnb vs Booking for finding rooms, think about your own personal preferences? Do you enjoy the homey feel of a vacation rental, or do you like having access to consistent service? At the end of the day, it’s your experience, and you want to make it as memorable as possible.

Are you a fan of either Airbnb or Booking? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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The Wandering Daughter

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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