Ultimate Guide to Airbnb in Washington, DC
With all the hype about Airbnb Kate and I (editors and site owners) decided to dig in and examine the pros and cons of staying at an Airbnb in Washington, DC vs. a hotel.
We spent over 40 hours digging into Airbnb listings in Washington, DC. Our priority was to examine reliable Airbnb’s with a strong track record that are also in close proximity to the Metro. We found no shortage of quality Airbnb options near the Metro. We ended up choosing 94 Airbnbs to examine.
At this website we profile over 30 neighborhoods and 130 hotels that have Metro access in Washington, DC. We wanted to know on average what is a better deal, an Airbnb or a hotel when visiting Washigton, DC.
Guide to Washington, DC Airbnb
- Airbnb vs. Hotels. The Winner Is?
- Cheat Sheet. Our Select Airbnbs Near the Metro
- What to Know Before You Book Airbnb – Guide to Fees
- What Does Free Parking Really Mean for Washington, DC Airbnbs
- Overview of DC Airbnbs Near the Metro
- Overview of VA Airbnbs Near the Metro
- Overview of MD Airbnbs Near the Metro
- Overview of Airbnbs that Accommodate 6+ Near the Metro
Airbnb vs. Hotels in DC
First Consider Your Expectations
The short answer is that Airbnb is a great deal in certain situations. Always consider your expectations when debating hotels vs. Airbnb. Keep in mind, Airbnb is a much different experience than a hotel. Hotels will always have a higher level of service and are there to make your stay as best as possible. Inevitably a hotel will be more reliable and will be more accommodating when things go wrong. If you want to eliminate chances for things to go wrong, especially with logistics a hotel is probably your best bet. That being said, we did find that an Airbnb can be a much better bargain than a hotel in certain situations.
Families & Groups Traveling to DC on Weekdays
Hotel prices all around Washington, DC spike during the week to handle the influx of business travelers. If you are coming to D.C. and need more than a single hotel room with two double beds Airbnb is cheaper by a good deal.
We found that the average nightly rate of an Airbnb that accommodates six or more people near the Metro is about on par with the average cost of a hotel near the Metro during the week, or about $225. Keep in mind, this is the average. You can find cheap options with either hotels or Airbnb.
If you consider two hotel rooms for six people could cost on average of $400 or more per night during the week around Washington, DC families and groups will come out ahead with Airbnb.
Weekend Stays, Getaways to DC
Hotel prices near the Metro in Washington, DC average about $140 per night on the weekends. This makes getting into a luxury minded hotel, or a premium location much easier.
Our research shows that one bedroom Airbnb’s can average $108, but when you factor in cleaning fees which average $72 and Airbnb charges hotels compete very well with Airbnb on the weekend.
Also factor in that the hotel might provide breakfast, have a gym, restaurant, be bit more romantic, and tend to have a streamlined process for check in. With those factors considered we think that travelers coming to Washington, DC on the weekend will do better with hotels.
Airbnbs Near the DC Metro
Why only look at Airbnb near the Metro? If you have never been to Washington, DC the traffic is absolute nightmare. Kate and I experience this first hand living in DC. In fact, on certain days I can bike around faster than most people can drive.
The Metro spans over 100 miles, it can move you quickly in and out of D.C. Using the Metro eliminates parking costs near attractions, and headaches navigating a city that was laid out for carriage wagons in the 1800s. Did you know DC has an intersection of 1st and 1st?
Stats on Our Select Airbnbs Near the DC Metro
- 94 – Total Airbnbs We Examined Near the Metro
- 55 – Total 1 Bedroom Airbnbs
- 63 – Airbnb Hosts that Claim Free Parking
- 42 – Total 2 Bedroom Airbnbs
- 34 – Airbnbs that Accommodate 6+ People
- 17 – Airbnbs that Accommodate 8+ People
- 8% – Airbnbs without a Cleaning Fee
- $72 – Average Cleaning Fee
- $152 – Average Nightly Rate
- $108 – Average Nightly Rate for 1 Bedroom Airbnb
- $223 – Average Nightly for Airbnb that Accommodates 6+
- $252 – Average Nightly Rate for Airbnb that Accommodates 8+
- 54% – Airbnbs with Deposit Required
- 36 – Airbnbs Near the DC Metro as a House
Airbnbs Near the DC Metro Cheat Sheet
Download our select list of recommended Airbnb near the Washington, DC Metro. Use these cheat sheet to save time looking for an Airbnb.
- Washington, DC Airbnbs Near DC Metro
- Bethesda & Silver Spring Airbnbs in MD Near DC Metro
- Arlington, VA & Alexandria, VA Airbnb
Airbnb Fees. What to Know
The trouble with Airbnb is the fees, particularly the cleaning fees. When you stay at a hotel you don’t pay a cleaning fee, and outside of taxes the price shown is what you end up paying. This can make shopping Airbnb difficult because most of the time you won’t understand all the fees until you are ready to book and have decided on a particular place. The extra work deciphering fees makes comparing Airbnb to a hotel in Washington, DC more difficult. Below are the fees to be aware of with Airbnb.
Airbnb Cleaning Fees
It’s typical to pay a cleaning fee for most rentals, which we found can range from $19-$195 and averages about $72. Some hosts are more generous than others and may omit a cleaning fee or deposit. This hosts have good faith renters place bedding in laundry facilities and clean up any trash or food, and in cases of damages, ask that renters are honest and let the host know so as to discuss fair compensation.
Airbnb Security Deposits
Our research showed that over half of the Airbnb’s we profiled did not charge a deposit. However, when we looked at rentals that accommodated six or more guests a deposit was required 75% of the time. A security deposits range between $100 up to $600 for most rentals.
Deposits are handled by Airbnb and not the host, meaning if a host requests to keep a portion or all of the deposit due to damages, the renter can challenge the damages and Airbnb will work with both parties to investigate the claim.
Airbnb Additional Extra Person Fees
In some cases, hosts’ may also ask for an “additional persons” fee if more than two-four people are renting their home. The additional person fee, if any, tends to be minimal and averages $25 per night. In most cases, children under 12 are not counted.
Airbnb Pet Fees
We found 25% of Airbnb hosts are pet friendly in Washington, DC. If you have a pet you want to bring along, some Airbnb rentals will welcome your furry friend with open arms, usually at no extra fee. On rare occasions you will be required to pay a pet fee of about $25, or the host will simply ask that you let them know about your fuzzy companion ahead of time.
Airbnb Service Charge (How Airbnb Makes Money)
Airbnb charges a guest service fee that is typically between 6-12% of the subtotal. The higher the subtotal, the lower the guest service fee percentage and vice-versa. The guest service fee is non-refundable when cancelling bookings so plan accordingly!
Airbnb Peak Rates, Discounts, and Minimum Stays
Unlike most hotels in D.C., weekend pricing at Airbnbs can be higher than weekdays due to demand. The prices we reference are the average nightly cost for 2017, and in some cases will be higher during the summer months due to events, vacations, and tourism. To get an exact cost, be sure to search the dates you want to rent.
Some Airbnb hosts will offer discounts for weeklong and month-long bookings at a percentage discount between 5-20% and 10-30% respectively. If you plan on staying for an extended amount of time, take advantage of those discounts to save a little extra money.
Most Airbnb hosts will have a minimum stay requirement between 1-3 nights and on extremely rare occasions they may require up to a week stay. Airbnbs that require longer stays typically have cheaper costs, which is worth noting. In some cases, hosts will have gaps in their scheduled rental dates where they will be willing to rent their home for less than their initial minimum stay, in order to fill up their bookings. These homes will list the minimum stay requirement as varied, which means you may be able to get a cheap price for a night or two that’s normally set for week stays.
Free Parking in Washington, DC with Airbnb
Within the metro D.C. area parking can be extremely difficult to find, but some Airbnb hosts can provide a free street-parking guest pass upon request. We advise that you ask the Airbnb host about parking. Our suspicion is that most hosts are simply offering street parking and passing this off as free parking. The parking quality in that case is diminished.
Just outside the D.C. area in Virginia and Maryland, you will be able to find larger homes with free parking, perfect for families and group trips, and easy access to highways or nearby metro stations. We found several Airbnb locations in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Arlington and Alexandria that offered free parking.
D.C. Airbnbs Near the Metro
Whether you are traveling by yourself, as a couple, with friends, or a family, there are many available full-home rentals in the D.C. area that provide easy access to all the sights, landmarks and museums within walking distance or quick metro ride.
Most of the Airbnbs you will find within the metro area are typically one to two-bedroom apartments with at least one queen size bed and a queen or full sized sofa bed that cost between $45-$175 per night, not including fees. All the apartments are within walking distance of a metro line and restaurants.
Looking to visit D.C. with a group of three to eight people?
Beautiful house rentals of three bedrooms or more are available, albeit scarce, and cost from $175-$600+ per night, not including fees. Perfect for a small family or group of friends, these rentals are generally row houses in the Shaw, Eckington, and Bloomingdale neighborhoods, with a few in Capitol Hill, and are all family/child friendly. Located right by the Green and Yellow line, these rentals are very close to all the historic government buildings, museums and restaurants, and usually features free parking by request — saving you the expensive parking garage fees.
What to Expect. Searching for D.C. Airbnbs Near the Metro
|Neighborhood||Accomodates||Min. Stay||Avg. Nightly Rate||Cleaning Fee||Deposit||Free Parking|
|H Street Corridor||3||3||$139||$38||$350||Yes|
|H Street Corridor||4||2||$130||$35||$675||Vaires|
|Adams Morgan||2||2||$85||$50||$0||$10 Per Day|
|Mt Vernon Sq||3||1||$120||$20||$0||No|
|Columbia Heights||3||Varies||$95||$100||$0||$5 Per Day|
|H Street Corridor||6||1||$142||$60||$0||Yes|
|Mt Vernon Sq||6||1||$151||$150||$200||Yes|
|H Street Corridor||6||3||$322||$100||$250||No|
Virginia Airbnbs Near the Metro
Arlington, VA and Alexandria, VA borders the western part of D.C., by the Potomac River and close to the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Close to D.C., many of the Airbnbs in Virginia are cheaper than the options in D.C., with the added benefit of more available free parking.
Arlington and Alexandria one to two bedroom Airbnbs can be very cheap, as low as $40 per night, with a two bedroom apartment going up to $329 per night. On average, these one to two bedroom homes average about $119 per night, making them extremely affordable and great for small families, couples and solo travelers.
If you are looking for a three bedroom and up, you start getting into better deals and more choices compared to the metro D.C. area. Many of the Airbnbs with Three or more bedrooms range from $70 a night and up, with the average cost being $237 per night, not including any listings that are over $600 per night. These locations are perfect for large families and groups who want the amenities of a home without having to break the bank paying D.C. prices and parking. Being accessible to the metro stations, and being within a $15 uber or lyft ride to the National Mall, makes the Virginia area a great place to start looking.
As a note, Arlington Airbnbs can become much more expensive the closer it is to the Pentagon and cemetery, and cheaper as it gets further west. Alexandria is slightly more expensive per night but the homes are generally more spacious and has more houses available.
There are a healthy mix of apartment, condo, and house rentals, in both rustic and modern styles, available to cater to your specific needs and price points. Typically all Airbnbs in Arlington and Alexandria provide free parking and allows you to avoid some of the crazier traffic using the orange and silver line metros (for Arlington) or the blue and yellow line metros (for Alexandria) to get into the city.
What to Expect. Searching for Virginia Airbnbs Near the Metro
|Neighborhood||Accomodates||Min. Stay||Avg. Nightly Rate||Cleaning Fee||Free Parking|
Maryland Airbnbs Near the Metro
Bethesda, MD and Silver Spring, MD are located north of D.C. a little under a half hour away by car and about 20 minutes by metro on the red line. Silver Spring Airbnbs are less expensive than Bethesda, although Bethesda has more in terms of shopping and nightlife. For people who may want a more relaxing and quiet area while visiting D.C. Silver Spring is a suitable option, whereas those who want to be close to both D.C. and have a local area to explore for shopping, restaurants and drinks, Bethesda would be best.
Airbnbs in these areas of Maryland are affordable for those looking for a one to two bedroom homes. Bethesda has options ranging from $60-$295 per night with an average cost of $149 and Silver Spring has options ranging from $40-$225 with an average cost of just $107.
Three bedrooms and up Airbnbs differentiate the two Maryland communities drastically. Where Bethesda can range from $100-$520 per night averaging about $317 per night for the larger homes, Silver Spring maintains more affordable accommodations from $55-$475 per night averaging about $217 per night. The main factor is based on the location, as Silver Spring Airbnbs are in quieter areas, whereas Bethesda Airbnbs are located in livelier and busier areas. Both parts of Maryland are suitable for families as well as large groups who may want more space and calm environments when they relax from a busy day. Both areas also have more available parking if there is more than one car and in most cases have a driveway and garage.
What to Expect. Searching for Maryland Airbnbs Near the Metro
|Neighborhood||Accomodates||Min. Stay||Avg. Rate||Cleaning Fee||Free Parking|
|Silver Spring||2||2||$80||$10||no 10/day|
Airbnbs Around Washington, DC that Accommodated 6+
What to Expect. Searching for Airbnbs Near the Metro that Accommodate 6+
|Neighborhood||Accomodates||Min. Stay||Avg. Nightly Rate||Cleaning Fee||Free Parking|
|H Street Corridor||6||1||$142||$60||Yes|
|Mt Vernon Sq||6||1||$151||$150||Yes|
|Capitol Hill||6||3 (weekends)||$135||$100||Yes|
|H Street Corridor||6||3||$325||$100||Yes|