If you’re going to be traveling and spending a few nights away from home, you’re going to need a place to stay. While avoiding travel and staying home is the best plan the experts would give you, there may be times that you have to leave town and spend a night or two somewhere else. So what are your safer travel options?

Even while travel advisories are still in place, there has been a rise in domestic travel. People are itching to get out from their homes and enjoy some time elsewhere.

But that still raises the question, which is your safer travel option, Airbnb or a hotel?

That’s not easy to answer. There are a number of factors to consider to help you make your decision.

Consider Your Health Situation

The first thing to consider is your health and that of your family

People who have already had COVID will look at situations differently than others. The risks of getting it again may be lower, so being in a more populated place like a hotel doesn’t seem as big of a problem. However, if you haven’t had it, you may want to be a little more secluded in an Airbnb home or apartment.

If there are other people in your household, you’ll want to consider their health as well. It’s possible for you to be asymptomatic and not have any indications that you have the virus, but you could still transmit it to the people who live with you. And if people are traveling with you, you’ll have to take that into consideration as well.

Know What You’re Getting Into

The Melbourne Windsor Hotel Lobby. Do you have safer travel options staying in a hotel or an Airbnb?

The Melbourne Windsor Hotel Lobby

Before you book a room or Airbnb, you need to research the policies and standards each space follows. Either place should be able to answer any questions you have.

For hotels, you should ask how often housekeeping changes the sheets, which cleaning agents they use to disinfect the rooms, and if they take extra precautions like disinfecting the remote, phone, and light switches. Many hotels will have this information on their website.

You should ask similar questions to your Airbnb host, and read past reviews to see if there were any complaints.

Additionally, some hotels have adopted the practice of not checking someone into a room until several days have passed since the previous guest was there. This lets them air out any germs the previous guest could have left. Some Airbnb owners do this as well.

Population and Public Health

Even during the pandemic, some travelers have been staying in hotels for small functions and to visit family and friends. There are some hotels that, even though they’re cleaning and disinfecting everything, will hold as much as 70% capacity, which makes it easier and more likely for the virus to spread. And even though large gatherings have been banned, people are still attending small weddings and catering functions.

If you’re staying in an Airbnb, you will more than likely be staying there by yourself, which is a positive. However, you will have to rely on the cleanliness of the owner. There’s a good chance that the Airbnb won’t be cleaned as thoroughly as that of a hotel.

Generally, hotels hold a higher standard of cleanliness and disinfection than Airbnb properties. Hotel chains operate with stricter accountability, and they often have the resources to work with third-party service providers to ensure they meet their self-imposed standards.

Also, there are municipal and state regulations for hotels to abide by. The state and local health departments, as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are instrumental in checking in on hotels and assessing their cleanliness.

There are pros and cons of staying in hotels versus staying in an Airbnb. If you can practice safe social distancing and avoid coming in contact with a lot of people, a hotel might be your better bet. But if you want to do a lot of your own cleaning and disinfecting just so you can be more isolated, then the Airbnb is for you.

Have you been traveling during the pandemic? Where do you typically stay when you do? If you haven’t traveled, where would you stay if you had to choose? What do you think are the safer travel options? Tell us about it on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter stream. You can also find us on our Instagram page at @TravelproIntl.

Photo credit: donaldytong (Wikimedia Commons, GNU Free Documentation License, v. 1.2)