Hotels, Hostels and Airbnbs: What’s the Difference and How to Choose Which Is Best

Planning a trip can be stressful, especially if you are planning to go overseas. Airbnbs can be great for those traveling on a budget. However, depending on your travel party, they can be pricier than a hotel—especially in Europe.

Don’t let the decision of where to stay put a damper on the unforgettable experience of your adventure. Let’s explore Airbnb vs. hotel pros and cons—as well as hostels—to help you narrow down your choices.

The Difference Between Airbnb and Hotels

Airbnbs and hotels differ slightly in ways you may not be aware of if you aren’t an experienced traveler. While you might be inclined to go with the cheapest option, you might want to consider whether you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Here is the difference between Airbnb and hotels.


Airbnbs provide more privacy than a hotel, but they have less overhead, so you won’t have someone tidying up your room or washing your bedding. The lodgings also can have strict policies like limiting guests, parking and cleaning requirements before your departure.

However, they can provide a unique stay that can add to your travels’ excitement. Through Airbnb, you can stay in a barn in Vermont, a tent in New Zealand or a windmill in the Netherlands. Staying in a unique place like this allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and distinctively experience your destination.


Hotels provide an experience for you by offering breakfast and a staff that can assist you with anything you might need. There’s also security at most hotels, making it a safer and possibly more pleasant experience. Another way to secure your safety during travels is to get travel health insurance. It’s better to be safe than sorry and you want to ensure you are protected while you’re away from home.

Hotels are generally more expensive than Airbnbs. But, they come with more amenities and offer familiarity in a place unfamiliar to you, providing a level of comfort that can make you feel better on your travels. Hotels often have a better view of your surroundings because of their elevation, like the view from the Ceaser Augustus Hotel in Anacapri, Italy.


Hostels are usually a group of dorm beds in a shared living space. You share the arrangements with people you don’t know, which can be terrifying or exciting, depending on your personality. Hostels are the most affordable option for solo travelers in some destinations, but in others—like Prague—a basic hotel is about the same price.

Hostels can raise many concerns for travelers, but they are an effective way to save on lodging and have more funds for experiences like shopping at the Queen Victoria market in Australia. The stay can provide the opportunity to mingle with other travelers, enjoy a social experience and make friends. Even if it’s a bad experience, you’ll have an unforgettable story to share for years.

Airbnb Vs. Hotel Pros and Cons 

Individual homeowners offer Airbnbs and you typically get what you pay for. Depending on your traveling party and destination, an Airbnb, hostel or hotel can be the right fit for you. Research your destination before you decide where to stay so you have all the information you need.