The Destinations Where Hotels Are Cheaper Than Airbnbs

According to a new study, home-rental prices have now outpaced hotels in a number of popular destinations

Mara Conan Design/Unsplash
Mara Conan Design/Unsplash
Mara Conan Design/Unsplash

When Airbnb emerged on the rental scene in August of 2008, it was lauded for being a convenient, accessible and — more often than not — budget-friendly alternative to hotel stays. For those very reasons, it became the foremost competitive threat to the industry for the better part of the last decade.

That said, the idea that Airbnbs are a money saver 100 percent of the time — or even half the time — is a misled notion. The cost of both Airbnbs and hotels fluctuate drastically based on location, with the latter often coming out as the more economical of the two options.

In a new study from Bounce, travel experts analyzed the prices of both Airbnb and hotel listings across 80 of the most highly trafficked tourist destinations in the world, revealing the most budget-friendly way to stay. The results? Well, they may surprise you.

The top 10 global locations where you can save money by staying in a hotel over an Airbnb are as follows:

  • Niagara Falls, Canada
  • Ibiza, Spain
  • Vatnajokull Ice Cave, Iceland
  • Phuket, Thailand
  • Stonehenge, Indonesia
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Cliffs of Moher, Republic of Ireland
  • South Island, New Zealand
  • Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

According to the study, of 50 of the top tourist destinations worldwide, Niagara Falls is the number-one best place to opt for a hotel. Whereas an Airbnb generally runs for somewhere in the vicinity of $250 a night, a double room normally costs closer to $97 a night — a 61 percent difference in price. Ibiza came in second, with hotels 28 percent cheaper than Airbnbs, followed by Vatnajokull Ice Cave and Phuket, where hotels were 27 percent cheaper in both cases.

Alternatively, there do still exist a great many number of places where you’ll find better value staying in an Airbnb than a hotel. Chief among them is Kruger National Park in South Africa, where the average cost of a hotel room is $805 — 448% more than that of an Airbnb. Next on the list is Bora Bora, French Polynesia, where a hotel will run you roughly $630, or 237 percent less to stay in an Airbnb than a hotel room.

Here’s the rest of the top 10:

  • Paro, Bhutan
  • Maldives
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
  • Providencia, Colombia
  • St. Lucia
  • Reed Flute Cave, China
  • Angkor Wat, Cambodia
  • And Cape Town, South Africa

The moral of the story? Ultimately, the best deal is going to depend largely on your destination, and — as evidenced by the study — the price gap in some places is … large. So do your homework, and always check in both places if you’re shopping for a deal. It’s also worth noting that, due to a wide set of variables — including demand, increase in home rents, inflation, a pandemic, etc. — prices are always subject to change. So while a hotel might be your best bet come time for your next annual jaunt to Niagara Falls, that same sentiment might not ring true a year from now.


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