Swapping hotel reservations for Airbnb accommodation was one of the best money-saving travel tips. In 2022, this is not always the case.
A NerdWallet analysis from June 2022 looked at 1,000 Airbnb reservations in the United States across a range of locations and qualities with check-in dates in 2022 and 2023 to really understand how much they cost. However, the study only considered “whole” properties (as opposed to a single room in a larger house).
The Airbnb prices were then compared to a NerdWallet database of nearly 1,000 US hotel rooms in the same cities, evenly split across a range of classes and locations. While there’s no way to compare direct costs since every Airbnb is different, NerdWallet has uncovered some key findings for when Airbnbs are better or cheaper than a hotel.
Here are the results of our Airbnb price data collection.
Airbnb cleaning fees can be brutal, and are some of the most debated aspects of the home rental platform – and they’re fees you probably won’t find at any hotel. This one-time fee is pocketed by the host to cover the cost of cleaning their listing and is in addition to the base price and service fee.
Although fees vary (and 15% of listings had no cleaning fee at all), the median cleaning fee per listing for a one-night stay was $75.
Compare cost per night
The average nightly rate The seven-night Airbnb stay was 32% cheaper only a one night stay. In addition, the savings increase with the duration of the trip; the rate per night for a 30 night stay was 46% cheaper per night than a one night stay.
Percentage cheaper per night compared to a one night stay
Reasons longer stays are cheaper include discounts offered by the host; hosts would generally prefer to have fewer reservations to manage and ensure occupancy. Add the aforementioned one-time cleaning fee plus tax, as in many cities stays of 30 days or longer are not subject to hotel occupancy taxes. It is clear that longer stays are cheaper per night.
Compare cost per person
NerdWallet compared the price per person at Airbnbs with a maximum capacity of two adults versus a hotel in the same city. He also compared the cost of an Airbnb with a maximum capacity of six people to the cost of booking three hotel rooms (assuming two adults per room).
Here’s how the median costs break down, per person:
Median price per night, per person
Small Airbnb (for 2 adults)
Large Airbnb (for 6 adults)
Hotel room (for 2 adults)
The best time to book an Airbnb, in terms of price
A separate study by NerdWallet found that book a hotel at the last minute can lead to savings of around 13% on the price of a hotel room, on average. But what about when booking an Airbnb?
NerdWallet considered Airbnb prices that included cleaning fees, long-term discounts, and base costs when booking in advance versus short-term. Here are our findings:
Actually book an Airbnb four weeks in advance gives the lowest median price – $270.80. That’s about $30 cheaper than booking it almost a year in advance, and about $50 cheaper than booking it last minute.
Simple ways to save money on Airbnb
Consider amenities: While amenities vary by listing, think about how an Airbnb could save you money over a hotel. Does the hotel charge any additional fees, like resort fees? Will they charge you for parking, when the Airbnb driveway is free? Can you save money by using the Airbnb kitchen and laundry?
Book through shopping portals or with discounted gift cards: Some websites sell gift cards at a discount – and some credit cards carry gift card discounts. For example, buy an Airbnb gift card through Target through a Target mark debit or credit card for an automatic 5% savings.
If you are looking for air miles, many airline shopping portals sell Airbnb gift cards that allow you to earn bonus miles for that purchase. Not only will you earn airline miles, but you’ll also “double-dip” by earning your regular credit card rewards.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2022including those best suited for: