Vacation rentals vs. hotels: Which is better?

Take the stress out of sizing up competitors and get the most out of your vacation time.

Updated July 2022


One of the most important parts of planning a vacation is choosing a place to stay, but weighing the pros and cons of renting a vacation home or staying at a hotel can be a little stressful. Vacation rentals (like Airbnb) and hotels each offer their own unique set of characteristics, but we can’t help but think that vacation rentals champion the vacation rental/Airbnb vs. hotel debate every time. Here are seven reasons why.

Vacation rentals vs hotels

1. You’ll have more privacy with a vacation rental

Featured Vacasa rental: Casa Cielo Escape Island

To start, there’s the obvious: By booking a vacation rental, you won’t run into other guests, share an awkward silence in the lobby elevator, or be woken up by kids running up and down the halls. On top of that, many of our vacation rentals feature contactless check-in via smart locks, so you could go your entire trip seeing only your travel party (and maybe the pizza delivery driver). Plus, private homes can offer remote destinations and secluded getaways in a way that hotel industries just can’t. Take the chance to go off the grid and enjoy some true peace and quiet. Think living like a local in mountain cabins, lake house rentals, or beach bungalows.

The living room of a vacation rental in Saugatuck, Mi.

2. There’s more space than a hotel room

Featured Vacasa rental: Northgate

If you’re already feeling cooped up at home, then you probably don’t want to cram the whole family into a hotel room, or take on the cost of multiple rooms. Booking an Airbnb rental or other type of vacation rental over a hotel room means more space, both inside and outside, so there’s room for everyone to stretch their legs. Relish the closet space, storage, and room in the kitchen cupboards while you vacation to the fullest. And, should you choose, a large yard, an outdoor deck, or a firepit are great places for sitting back and catching up that many hotel chains just can’t offer.

A modern living room at a vacation rental in Mosier, Oregon.

3. You’ll save money by cooking meals in a full kitchen

Featured Vacasa rental: Modern Soul

If you’re splurging on a relaxing getaway, chances are you don’t want to spend more money at restaurants or on take-out for every meal. Vacation rentals offer the kitchen appliances and cooking space of full-size kitchens that most hotels just don’t have. This also makes a great way to travel out to family while celebrating holidays, so you can keep the tradition of cooking turkey or honey-glazed ham no matter where you’re staying. Whether you choose to show off your cooking skills or order in, enjoy a little more elbow room to spread out with family or friends in a full dining room instead of a corner table.

Vacation rentals in Breckenridge, CO - vacation rentals vs. hotels

4. Enjoy private amenities

Featured Vacasa rental: Robbers Nest

It’s true that hotels and resorts can offer fun amenities—like swimming pools and hot tubs—but, if possible, why not enjoy one of your very own? Luckily, when you book a vacation rental, you can choose from homes with private swimming pools, hot tubs, fireplaces, saunas, game rooms, and even home theaters. Plus, having one of these amenities all to yourself means more space to enjoy it, whether you’re splashing, soaking, or having a family movie night.

The hot tub with a view at a vacation rental in the Smoky Mountains.

5. Work remotely—with a view

Featured Vacasa rental: Paradise Views

The great thing about remote work is that you can do it from almost anywhere. Many vacation homes offer free high-speed WiFi so you won’t miss a meeting, plus you’ve got the option to book a place with extra room to use as an office. Besides, wouldn’t it be way better if your Zoom background was an actual beach sunset? Work on the go while you explore new cities—adventure’s never been easier.

vacation rentals in San Diego - vacation rentals vs hotels

6. Vacation rentals are more dog-friendly

Featured Vacasa rental: The Market Cottage

Finding a dog-friendly hotel can be a hassle, and trying to fit the whole family into a suite—plus Fido—sounds a lot like downsizing. Save money on a dog-sitter with pet-friendly vacation rentals and enjoy spending quality time with everyone on your family vacation. With a pet-friendly home, you and your dog can explore together, play fetch in the yard, and curl up on the couch in the evenings.

Vacation rental in Key Colony Beach - vacation rental vs hotels.

7. Long-term stays are more practical

Featured Vacasa rental: A Wave From It All

If your schedule includes a lot fewer in-person commitments these days, a long-term vacation rental is a great option. Whether you’re staying for a couple weeks or a month, a vacation rental is so much more practical than staying in a hotel room. You can relax somewhere that feels like home, take advantage of ample storage space, set up a designated office space, and enjoy handy amenities like a washer and dryer. Sometimes, there’s even an added benefit of monthly discounts on snowbird vacation rentals versus staying at a hotel.

Vacation rentals vs. hotels FAQ

Amenities like a pool, hot tub, or game room will be listed in the vacation home’s description. If you’ve booked a Vacasa home, you can always check your Trip Manager for more details.

Generally speaking, a vacation home with its own amenities—like a private swimming pool or a hot tub—is a good bet if you want to make sure you’ll have access to those features during your stay. If you’re planning to stay somewhere with shared amenities (especially a hotel), it can be smart to do your research or call before you book to see what’s open.

Vacasa is committed to providing clean and safe homes for a worry-free vacation. Every home is sanitized and disinfected to our Vacasa Premium Clean standards before each guest’s arrival.
Read more about our Premium Clean program >

Many of our vacation homes are available for a one-night stay, though night minimums may vary based on availability and holidays.

Hotels are owned by management corporations and are rented by the single room, typically in a shared building with public amenities. Vacation rentals, though sometimes serviced by management companies, are owned by individuals. A vacation rental can be an entire house, condo, or townhome, and can offer either private or shared amenities.

Vacation rental inspiration