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Airbnb or hotel: Which is the better value?

New comparison finds surprising results
Posted: 3:56 PM, Apr 09, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-10 11:20:34Z

If you are planning your summer vacation, you're looking for a nice place to stay at an affordable price.

So these days, many travelers look to Airbnb for home and apartment rentals. After all, why stay in a hotel room when you can instead rent an Airbnb condo or home?

One reason for Airbnb's surging popularity the past two to three years is the chance to rent a whole house for the price of a hotel room. Or at least that's what many of us assume.

But that's not always the case, according to a new analysis by Money Magazine . Money looked at prices in 300 cities, and found some where Airbnb was indeed cheaper. But some where just the opposite was true.

When Airbnb is a better deal

For instance, in Santa Monica, the average hotel room is now $344. Airbnb is just $222 on average, which is 35 percent cheaper, according to the report.

New York City, where a decent hotel room near Times Square can run you $500 a night, was similar. Airbnb had larger places to stay, at lower prices.

When a hotel is a better deal

In cities with cheap hotel rooms, a hotel is often your better deal, the report said.

For instance, in Pensacola, Florida, an average hotel room is $108, while an Airbnb rental is $271. That's 60 percent more. It has to do with the proliferation of cheap hotel rooms in many Florida beach cities.

If you're paying 60 percent more for a bed, you might say "doesn't that stink!"

The report suggests you compare prices before committing, and if it's a vacation spot with a lot of hotel rooms, a hotel may save you money.    

In addition, you may want to check all the options: A hotel,  Airbnb, and rental sites like Home Away and VRBO (though those two sites may have minimum stay requirements.)

That way you find the best deal and you don't waste your money.

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