I-TEAM: Comparing options for vacation stays

DAYTON — It’s that time of the year when many people are planning summer vacations. There are a lot of options available, including where to stay.

From Airbnb and Vrbo to your standard hotel. Each has its perks depending on your trip.

Consumer Investigative reporter Xavier Hershovitz digs into the fees, each lodging option, and the charges.

The I-Team set out to find where people can stay and pay the least amount of fees.

A five-night stay in Orlando, Florida, from July 19 to July 24 is the time frame that the I-Team is focused on. We looked at the Marriott, a VRBO, and an Airbnb.

>> Protecting Your Money with the I-Team

The I-Team found a room with two queen beds at the Marriott Orlando Downtown. The cost of the room is $155.63 with taxes and fees. However, it will also cost you $32 a day for valet parking, but $20 a day for parking off-site.

So, with parking off-site for five nights, the total comes to $255.63 in fees. That is about 17% of your overall costs and this includes tax because the Marriott didn’t break it down online.

Look at Vrbo for a two-bedroom house within 15 minutes from the airport and free parking. Vrbo will charge a $50 administrative fee and also includes a $100 cleaning fee, and $100 service fee and none of this include damage protection.

That’s $250.000 in fees, which is about 25% of the total cost.

Vrbo told the I-Team that the only feed they charge is the service fee. The other fees are established by each individual host.

A spokesperson for Vrbo said that price transparency is important, and guests will always see the total cost of a booking, including a breakdown of fees before they book.

Deana Cook who lives near Indian Lake said, “I think it’s very upfront so there aren’t any hidden fees.”

Deana and her husband, Doug, have become frequent Vrbo customers.

“We used to be a Marriott fan but just since COVID a lot of things have changed including rates, so it just seems like the better deal to go with Vrbo,” Doug Cook said.

Now for a two-bedroom Airbnb, which includes parking and is centrally located.

Airbnb is charging two different fees – $85 for a cleaning fee and $100.06 for a service fee. That’s a total of $185.06, which is about 20% of the total costs.

Darrien Doesey, of Huber Heights, said, “We usually do Airbnb.”

Darrien and her friends prefer Airbnb for their getaways.

“It’s very convenient and the cost isn’t too expensive depending on where you go so it isn’t too bad,” Doesey said.

When choosing where to stay, there are a lot of options to look at such as how many people are staying, where you want to be in the city, and what amenities are important to you.

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