The right lodging can make or break a trip. Being stuck without necessary amenities or in an ill-suited space can quickly turn an exciting getaway into a stressful affair. That’s why it’s best to weigh all options.
On Nantucket, your traditional lodging choices include hotels or inns—which we discuss in our Rentals Guide— or Airbnbs. The island boasts miles of beautiful, historic homes for rent as well, a popular choice amongst travelers. Explore the differences between staying at an Airbnb versus renting a vacation home.
First, consider the duration of your stay. If you are only staying for one night, an Airbnb or hotel room may be most convenient. Sometimes you just need a place to lay your head without a lot of planning or commitment. For those barely spending any time at your place of lodging, an Airbnb might be an easy one-night solution.
Guests staying for a few days or weeks can enjoy the long-term comfortability of a vacation rental, where they have access to the same amenities they use every day at home.
Ask yourself what you value most in your stay: privacy or convenience? While Airbnb’s can be convenient to book, they often don’t offer much privacy. Oftentimes, Airbnb rentals are spaces within someone’s home, such as a spare bedroom, or a second home rented out to multiple guests at once. You may be forced to share a common area with other Airbnb guests or your host. Imagine having to wait for a stranger to use the bathroom or tiptoeing down the hall to avoid disturbing other guests. That’s not exactly a relaxing vacation.
A rental home will give your party access to shared spaces amongst familiar faces, like spacious kitchens and living or dining rooms, as well as exclusive personal quarters, like your own private bedroom and bathrooms. Relax without worrying about the stress of staying with strangers.
Airbnb allows previous guests to leave reviews about their host and stay, giving you some insight into other’s experiences. Airbnb also runs background checks on renters to protect your safety, but there’s still risk involved in staying in a personally owned property, unregulated by a corporate supervisor.
Sometimes, pictures can be deceiving, or the experience is not as described by the host or reviewers. Safety standards like smoke alarms aren’t guaranteed and there’s even the occasional horror story like renter’s possessions being stolen by other guests. You could contact Airbnb or your host to complain, but you might not be able to get much help right away, if ever. At the end of the day, Airbnb is a big company in a largely unregulated industry. That carries a certain amount of risk and you might not want to gamble your vacation.
Vacation home rental properties, especially those booked through a management company or realtors, are supervised and comply with strict standards. What you are promised is what you receive because rental properties typically have the checks and balances of owners and brokers, both working to ensure there are no surprises when you walk through the door. If you need assistance, an agent or maintenance manager can be called directly to quickly address your problem.
Booking an Airbnb could be an appealing option when you’re only traveling with one or two people. In a lot of Airbnb homes, couples could each stay in their own room and share a bathroom, or two friends could share a room with two twin beds. For small groups like these, a full vacation home might be excessive, but bigger groups can benefit from renting a whole home both in space and in shared cost.
With a rental home, children get a yard to run around in, adults can escape to their private rooms to get ready and everyone can relax without rubbing elbows. In addition, large parties can split one lump cost, whereas Airbnb may charge per person for large parties— if they can even find a place to accommodate the size of their group in the first place.
Most rental houses come with the amenities you’re used to at home— an oven, dishwasher, laundry setup, to name a few— while some offer special concierge services like grocery delivery, help with booking private chefs or in-home massages. Airbnb rentals just can’t compare.
Most Airbnb hosts will send you a list of instructions on how to get into the unit, where to park, and if you’re lucky, a booklet of things to do in the area. Some exceptionally welcoming hosts are willing to show you around their place, but mostly renters independently let themselves in and out, oftentimes without even seeing or talking with the host.
Renting a vacation home is a completely different experience, where your own broker or private homeowner is there to assist you every step of the way. From choosing the right property to helping to plan your itinerary, you’ll have a personal relationship with an island local that’s invested in perfecting every detail of your stay.
While Airbnbs can be quick solutions for short stays with small parties, larger groups or guests staying for a week or more would benefit from a home rental.
If you can’t go without amazing amenities and prefer to vacation with privacy, browse our lookbook. We have a vast variety of vacation home rentals to suit any travel party.