Are Airbnbs Really The Cheaper Option When Traveling In A Large Group?

Journeying solo or with a buddy can already be a hassle at times — just imagine how chaotic it would be to travel with your family or friend group. If you don't plan it well enough, it can easily spiral into a logistical and financial nightmare. On top of ensuring that everyone in the traveling party comes to a collective agreement in terms of where you'll go, where you'll stay, and what you'll do, you also have to check if each person agrees to the proposed budget. Not everyone may be amenable to springing for fancy hotels, and considering how accommodation often accounts for the bulk of the travel budget; you have to look for a happy medium that they can afford. 

More often than not, people assume that the easy answer is booking an Airbnb. It also makes the most sense if you have a larger group, considering how staying in one place makes it easy to account for every member of the pack. Then again, booking an Airbnb was found to be more $136 expensive than booking a hotel, on average, according to a 2022 NerdWallet survey. The good news? It doesn't apply to large parties booking, say, an entire home.

Airbnbs may make more sense for large groups

As it turns out, booking an Airbnb may be the more economical option if you're traveling with a large group. Instead of booking multiple hotel rooms where only two to three people can stay in each one, it makes more financial sense to rent an entire home.

For instance, this apartment in Miami that can only accommodate two people costs $51 a night, and that doesn't take into account the $69 cleaning fee and $46 service yet. Meanwhile, this entire home that can fit up to 12 people costs $290 a night, and if you were to maximize the space and have 12 people come, each person would only have to fork over $45, which already includes the cleaning fee.

Of course, it all still depends on where you're going and the duration of your stay. If you only need accommodation for an overnight stay, it will be easier to book a hotel room or perhaps even a hostel or micro hotel instead. You also have to sift through the listings carefully and check for any hidden fees associated with the daily cost so you don't end up paying more than you have to. Generally speaking, though, if you're traveling with a group, Airbnb may be the cheaper option.

You can also look into booking a hotel room block

Hotel blocks aren't just for groups traveling to a wedding. You may also want to consider it if you're traveling with, say, your entire class for a reunion of sorts and would need to reserve 10 or more rooms. In that case, you can opt for a room block and take advantage of discounted hotel rates. "Generally, hotel room block rates are anywhere from 5- to 20 percent less," Pamela Strauss-Goldman, founder of travel agency Wedaways, told The New York Times. You have to brush up on your negotiation skills to get the best deal possible, though.

But just like with Airbnbs, hotel costs still depend on the location. Some cities are obviously more expensive than others, so it's best to check directly with the hotel to see if it's cheaper than an Airbnb, especially if what you're after are the amenities. You can even take advantage of loyalty or rewards programs if anyone in the traveling party has access to a tie-up with a certain hotel chain. More often than not, loyalty programs net you access to discounted rooms and even free meals.