Airbnb or hotels: Which is the better value?

If you are planning your summer vacation, you’re likely 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.

Where 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.

Where 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.

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: hotels, 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.