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Airbnb vs All-Inclusive Resorts: Which is the Best for Family Vacations

The ability to cook your own meals, eat on your own schedule, stay precisely where you want, and have complete privacy are just a few of the perks of booking an Airbnb or self-catering property. Price was also a mitigating factor, but as we've seen, the cost of 'doing your own thing' is not as cheap and shiny as it used to be. Not to mention that all-inclusive resorts have a few things going for them that the Airbnb's and VRBO properties don't. Here are a few key points that might sway you either way.

Airbnb's Are Not Always Child-Friendly

I'll never forget arriving at our Airbnb in Copenhagen on a beautiful, sunny Tuesday afternoon. We wrangled our stroller, suitcases, and baby gear up the front steps of this beautiful one-hundred-and-fifty-year-old apartment building. We had a breathtaking view of the marble church, a cozy bedroom and kitchen, and the library of death; a room filled with antique books and magazines, on delicate bookshelves so tipsy that merely walking too close to them could have triggered a domino of catastrophe. Our son was on the cusp of learning to walk, and as charming as the apartment was, it was a proverbial nightmare for two already exhausted parents.

Another factor to consider is that unless the neighbours of your Airbnb are accustomed to the usual sounds of a busy family, you may get noise complaints and get kicked out of your rental (this happened to a client of mine in Split, Croatia and we had to scramble to find her a hotel during peak season).

All of that being said, there are definitely Airbnb's that are designed for families, offer family-friendly amenities, are located in safe neighbourhoods, and give you the space and comfort you need and want on vacation.

All-Inclusive Resorts Offer Packaged Value

I know, I know, you read all-inclusive and you cringe. Or maybe you don't because you realize they've come a long way, some of them are pretty luxurious and they keep your food bills down because they package everything together. Food costs are skyrocketing all over the world, not just in our own backyard. Going to the grocery store to fill up the fridge at your apartment or house rental isn't as economical as it used to be. Neither is transportation to and from the airport. Do a cost analysis of what you think you would spend on groceries for the duration of your trip and compare that with an all-inclusive; let the math do the mathing!

And for those parents who want to take a break from cooking and kitchen clean-up, a resort provides a variety of options for the pickiest in your troupe and no washing-up when you're done.

Are the Extra Fees & Booking Charges Worth It?

Have you seen how much the home rental platforms are charging in cleaning fees these days? And what's really shocking, is the list of 'chores' expected from the guests upon check out. I booked a cottage on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia a couple of years back through VRBO, the cleaning fee was over CAD $200, and for a two-night stay, I was expected to load and unload the dishwasher, wipe down all of the surfaces, vacuum and wash and dry the towels. I have no issue tidying up, but the cleaning charge seemed like a scam.

For a nominal daily tip, you get fresh towels, a clean room, a re-stocked fridge, and in the higher-end resorts, nightly turn-down service. When

All-Inclusive Resorts Offer More Kid-Focused Amenities

It's a plain fact: All-inclusive resorts offer up a buffet of kid-friendly amenities that can rival just about any self-catering property. From kids and teen clubs, kid-focused entertainment, and babysitting services, to playgrounds, and zero-entry kiddie pools, just to name a few. Expanding on my earlier point about child-friendly accommodations, family-friendly resorts offer better-suited bed configurations like one and two bedrooms, connecting rooms, and bunk beds.

When Are Airbnb's a Better Idea?

If you prefer privacy and your own pace of life, a self-catered apartment or house is the best option. You can rent a car, come and go at your leisure, dine privately at home, or out on the town whenever you wish. Private rentals also provide the opportunity to stay in the heart of the action, or stay in a unique property like a castle, chalet, farmhouse, treehouse or just about any other type of fun dwelling you can think of.

Private rentals can also be more economical if you're booking your flights with points, you're travelling during peak or off-season, or you're staying in an area that is less central. Keep in mind if you're booking anything outside of the city centre, make note of how close those essential amenities might be like grocery stores, pharmacies and medical facilities.




Jordana Manchester

Welcome to my passion project - the Storied Lands travel blog. Gather here for trip inspiration, stories, destination spotlights,  helpful tips, and thought-provoking discussions about important issues throughout the travel and tourism industry.

Posts on the Storied Lands Travel Blog may contain affiliate links which may result in a small commission generated from clicks that result in a purchase. Posts that contain such links will always disclose as such at the beginning of the post.

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