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By Angela Colley, dealnews contributor
If you're ready to pack your swimsuit, sun block, and beach towel and hit the road, then you're not alone. The American Express Spending and Savings Tracker survey found that 69% of consumers plan to take a summer vacation this year. Additionally, 69% of respondents told American Express that they plan on spending $1,000 or less on their travel plans this season.
If you're similarly stricken with wanderlust and likewise have a small budget to work with, then another recent study may have the answer for how to make a great getaway possible. Research by Priceonomics found that staying at an Airbnb property can be up to 50% cheaper than staying in a traditional hotel.
The secondary savings of included add-ons aside, the actual cost per-night (or per-week or per-month) of booking a stay at an Airbnb is substantially less than that of even a cheap hotel room. Priceonomics found that renting a private room in an apartment can net up to 45.9% in savings. But sometimes the lack of privacy in renting just a room isn't suitable as Airbnb apartment owner or other guests might be staying in the space at the same time. For more privacy, renting an entire apartment still affords a savings of to 21.2% over the cost of an average hotel room.
Of course, we all know that the cost of lodging varies by area, and some cities run much higher than others. However, Airbnb lodging still consistently beats hotels prices in most places. For example, the median rate for a hotel room in New York is $245 a night. The median price of an Airbnb apartment rental in New York is $180, or 26% cheaper. In Boston, the median hotel price is $229 a night, while the median for an Airbnb rental is $185: an average savings of $44. Airbnb prices in notably-expensive San Francisco are also lower; the median hotel price is $229 a night and the median Airbnb apartment rental comes in at $165, according to Priceonomics.
Hotel stays only beat Airbnb full apartment rental prices in a few areas: in Austin, Texas the median price of a hotel rental is $110, while the median for an Airbnb apartment rental is $115. And in Miami, the median hotel rental runs $118 while an apartment rental might cost you $135.
Still, for the budget traveler, there are savings to be had with Airbnb, especially for those who aren't set on a specific vacation destination. Some of the cheapest Airbnb locations in the United States are Dallas, Texas (with a median apartment rental price of $89), Phoenix, Arizona (median price of $83), and Madison, Wisconsin (median price of $75).
Regardless of the savings, Airbnb isn't for everyone. And fortunately there are still cheap hotel stays to be had, especially for the traveler who books in advance. For example, in the past six months, we've seen 36 deals for New York hotels that cost less than $180 per night (sometimes substantially less), which is the median for an Airbnb apartment stay there. There are even more ways to save on hotel and airfare, especially if your travel days are flexible.
Readers, are any of you devout Airbnbers? Do you use it because you prefer having a full apartment at your disposal, or do you primarily book there in order to save money? Let us know in the comments below.