ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What's the Difference: Hotel, Motel, Inn, Lodge, and Other Accommodations?

Updated on June 25, 2018
revmjm profile image

Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.

When people travel away from home, there are many places for them to stay on the way to their destination as well as places to stay once they reach their destination. Even though travelers are away from home, they still need a place to sleep, rest, eat. drink, and be safe. Today, there are more places than ever that are available.

It is a matter of personal choice where people stay. It is much easier for a single individual to make the choice than for a group of people who must decide on a temporary dwelling place.


A hotel is normally a big building with many rooms and services. Hotels have more than one floor. Guests cannot get to their rooms without going through a lobby. A hotel provides lodging on a short-term basis. Hotels are often used by visitors who have reached their end destination where the hotel is located.

Rooms in small usually include only basic guest services such as a bed, a dresser, a chair, refrigerator, a flat screen television and a bathroom.

Larger and more expensive hotels have more guest services, such as a swimming pool, gym, meeting rooms, a business center with computers, printers and other office equipment, childcare, tennis or basketball courts, restaurants, day spa, beauty parlors and social function services.

Some people use the term hotel for other living accommodations such as the ones listed below even though they are not hotels based on their descriptions.


The word motel is the combination of the words motor and hotel. It is a hotel for motorists whose destination is not where the motel is located. A motel room is less expensive than a hotel room. It is usually a rest stop on the way to a motorist's final destination where he will stay in something more elaborate.

This is usually somewhere people will stay to rest during a road trip. Motels are mostly located along busy highways with high lighted signs so motorists can see them from far away

A motel a single building of connected rooms whose doors faced a parking lot. Guests can enter a motel without going through a lobby. They can go directly to their room from the parking lot or taking outside stair to the second floor. Motels typically do not have more than two floors. Smaller motels have only one floor.


Inns are usually smaller and older places to stay in the country or along a highway. At one time, inns also provided accommodation for horses. “Inn” is an older word for a place to stay temporarily with only the bare necessities that may include food and drinks.

An exception to this would be where large hotel chains have made Inn part of their name. For examples, Holiday Inn and Ramada Inn can be seen as both a hotel and an inn.

Hostels and Hostals

Hostels provide budget accommodation where guests can rent very inexpensive accommodations. They get a bed, which is usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory type building. Guests share a bathroom, lounge and sometimes a kitchen.

Hostels are much cheaper for both the operator and guests. Sometimes hostels hire long-term residents as desk clerks or housekeeping staff.

A hostal is a type of lodging found mostly in Spain and Hispanic America. Hostals are much cheaper than hotels and motels. Accommodations typically include private bedrooms available for either short or long term rent. Guests sometimes share a common bathroom. Hostals usually have a bar, restaurant or cafeteria where guests can buy food and drinks.


A lodge is a relatively small building. Lodges are mainly used by tourists. In some lodges, guests have something in common and are there for the same reason.

A good example of that is a ski lodge. People also prefer a lodge when they are on a retreat.

Bed and Breakfast

A bed and breakfast, which is usually shortened to B&B or BnB, is a small lodging place for overnight accommodation and breakfast.

Bed and breakfasts are often located in private family homes with an average of six rooms. The hosts usually live in the house along with the guests.

Even though it is called bed and breakfast, other meals may be served to the guests as well.

Boarding House or Rooming House

A boarding house or rooming house is usually a family home where guests rent a room for one or more nights. Sometimes they will rent for extended periods that could last for years.

Room and board and some meals are provided. The boarding house may or may not offer meals.


Airbnb started out being called AirBed & Breakfast. It was started because the founder needed a place to stay and put an air mattress in a friend's living room. Then he started a company offering the same services to others who might be visiting a place where no hotel rooms were available.

Guests do not have to sleep on air mattresses in living rooms, but they can rent short-term lodging in people's houses. Airbnb has over 5 million lodging listings in over 81,000 cities and about 191 countries. The company is very successful and has had over 300 million guests since the company launched in 2008.

No Shortage of Places to Stay

From the above list, you can see there is no shortage of places to stay when someone is away from home. Whether travelers are gone for one night, weeks, months or even years, there is always a place for them to lay their heads at night and have a hot meal in the morning.

Was this information helpful?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • revmjm profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Minnicks 

      3 years ago from Richmond, VA

      Mactavers, thanks for reading and commenting about the places to dwell while traveling.

    • mactavers profile image


      3 years ago

      Well done. I would suggest that all your terms are generic except for Airbnb which is a specific rather than Vacation Rentals by Owners which I think would cover Airbnb, Homeaway, VaCay and so on.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)