Are you planning to travel for the New Year holiday – especially to an exciting destination – but don’t want to break the bank? If so, you may be considering whether a hotel or vacation home rental would be the most cost-effective choice for accommodations.

Lucky for you, our friends over at Hipmunk took the time to answer that question for you. They analyzed historical hotel and vacation home rentals over the New Year’s Eve holiday, comparing prices between the two to see which was easier on the pocketbook. They also looked at the most popular cities to see which ones won out, which ones bucked the trend, and where you should be looking to ring in the 2018 year.

What They Found

You might not be surprised to read Hipmunk’s results. They discovered that most NYE travelers could save an average of 23% by booking a one-room vacation home versus staying in a hotel. This result was in spite of the fact that vacation rental homes saw a significant spike in prices (70% increase) over the holiday… even more so than the spike seen by hotels (56% increase).

Of course, staying in a vacation home in certain cities resulted in an even greater benefit than others. For example, renting a home in Miami, FL will net you an average of 70% savings, versus getting a hotel in the same city. If you want to visit Nashville, TN for the holiday, finding a vacation home will mean savings around 60%, compared to a hotel room rental.

However, if you venture out to a city like San Francisco, CA or Seattle, WA, you’ll only see average savings of 10% or 30%, respectively. Here’s a look at the top 20 destinations for New Years Eve, and how they compared in Hipmunk’s study.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that in some cities – like Chicago, Panama City Beach, and Boston – it’s actually cheaper to book a hotel room versus a vacation rental home. Here’s a look at a few cities where this is the case:


Booking for a Group

The results above compare a one-room hotel stay and a one-room vacation home. What if you plan to ring in the new year with a group of friends, though? Could you save even more?

You’ll be happy to know that the answer is, on average, yes!

Hipmunk’s study found that when comparing the cost of two hotel rooms and a two-bedroom vacation home over the NYE holiday, the vacation home came out ahead. Revelers could save an average of 27 percent by splitting a vacation property with their friends, versus getting their own hotel rooms.

Take Las Vegas, for example. In Sin City, a one-bedroom vacation rental (avg: $143) would save you 40% over a one-room hotel (avg: $240). Rent with friends, though, and you would save an average of 59% when comparing the cost of two hotel rooms (avg: $480) with a two-room vacation rental (avg: $196).


Of course, while you’re likely better off going halfsies with your friends on a vacation home, that’s not always the better option. Sometimes, renting two hotel rooms would be the most cost-effective choice.

This is the case in cities like Denver, CO. There, it’s 46% cheaper to rent a one-room vacation home versus a hotel room. However, if you start looking at two-room vacation rentals, you’ll actually pay 68% more on average than if you just booked two separate hotel rooms.

Other Considerations

There are a few other things to think about when making the vacation-rental-vs-hotel assessment. The price difference might not be as simple as comparing your room rate.

For example, think about your meals. If you stay in a hotel, you may be able to snag a free breakfast. If you’re traveling for a short time, the sheer convenience alone might be worth booking a room. However, staying in a vacation home likely means access to a full kitchen, complete with fridge and oven. Being able to cook your own food, especially if you’re staying for a few days, could result in serious savings for yourself or your group. Eating out can get quite pricey, so think about your meal plans in your cost analysis.

Hotels may come with access to various amenities, like gym or club access, indoor swimming pools, and hot tubs, or convenient lobby bars/restaurants. They’re also usually in the middle of the hustle-and-bustle and are a quick Uber ride from hot spots in town. If you’re staying in a vacation home, you probably won’t be able to enjoy any of these (and you may even have trouble finding a cab or Uber to take you all the way back after midnight on NYE).

Lastly, you need to keep your celebratory plans in mind. If you are just using the room as a place to sleep and get ready, this might not matter. However, if you plan to get together with friends, hang out, or even pre-party before the ball drop, a hotel with next-door neighbors and rules on noise might not be ideal.

Last-Minute Planning

It may already be December, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to book your New Year’s Eve accommodations. In fact, Hipmunk found that 36% of all NYE bookings were made the week of the holiday.

So take a moment to plan each aspect of your NYE plans. Take into account the space and amenities that your group needs as a whole. Then, take a look at hotels versus vacation homes on a site like Hipmunk. (P.S. You can also compare flights on their site!)

To see the full results of the Hipmunk study, comparing the most popular NYE destinations for one- and two-room stays at hotels and vacation homes, click here.

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