Many people automatically begin looking for hotel availability when making accommodations reservations for an annual family vacation. However, there are many benefits to staying at a vacation rental instead of a hotel, the first being it's like staying in a home away from home.
While typically people don't want to feel like they are "home" during vacation, this is different, it's cozy. You don't have to worry about keeping the house clean in case someone stops by. Also, you can relax during your vacation without the pressures of having to maintain your normal household routines. Yet, you still get all of the conveniences you're used to having at home.
Top 10 Reasons to Skip the Hotel
1. Less Expensive
When booking a rental home or condo, the price tag initially sounds like a lot. But when you break down the actual costs per day you might find the overall price is often significantly lower. In my experience, we found it was more expensive for many (much smaller!) hotel rooms in the same general location. Additionally, if traveling with family or friends, if you get a large enough space, you can split the costs.
2. Lots of Space to Move About
Renting a house or a condo gives the family lots of room to spread out and no one feels crowded or has to share beds. There's also usually more than one TV which is great if you have little ones or teens. In a rental you have plenty of room to unwind and relax instead of spending your time tripping over one another in a tiny hotel room.
3. Kitchen Facilities
Rentals typically have a full kitchen which is appealing on a multitude of levels. There's no long waits for tables at crowded restaurants. You can prepare your own food (this is especially great if you have picky children, food allergies or Celiac disease), and it's a lot cheaper to pick up some groceries rather than pay for three meals a day at pricey restaurants. Late night hunger pangs? No worries, just wander into the kitchen and see what's in the fridge. You also aren't limited to time-scheduled breakfasts to hurry down to each morning or elbow through crowded lobbies. Plus you can eat healthier too as you have control in how your food is prepared.
In a rental you have your own kitchen space to prepare your own meals at times convenient to you.
Vacation homes typically have a washer/dryer in the condo. I found this to be particularly convenient because we didn't have to spend valuable vacation time washing clothes or lug heavier baggage to make sure we had enough clothes (plus we were able to fit everything into carry-on bags, eliminating extra fees or chances of a bag getting lost. If the latter has ever happened to you, you know what a pain it is).
We'd throw a load in before bed or in the morning during breakfast which worked out great. No concerns with running out of towels, clothes or trying to scrape up enough quarters to use the laundry at hotel facilities or worse, having to spend time at the laundromat. Another benefit is you can go home with a freshly packed suitcase and not have to do loads of wash upon your return home.
5. Extra Bathrooms
A vacation property typically offers at least two bathrooms, sometimes more. This is another time-saver, especially when everyone is trying to wrestle their way into the shower at the same time.
6. No Need for "Do Not Disturb" Signs
Staying in a rental provides more privacy and no noisy adjacent hotel rooms or loud thumping in hotel hallways. You can sleep in as late as you want and don't have to worry about potential interruptions or remembering to put up the "do not disturb" signs. If you don't feel like making the bed - don't! Who's going to notice? You clean up your mess before you leave the rental and cleaning service comes in after you're gone.
7. No Extra Costs for Additional Guests
Some hotels may charge extra for additional guests, but in a rental, for the most part, you can bring everyone along. You can travel with all the kids, siblings and even your in-laws for one flat fee. We've successfully shared rentals with family or friends on numerous trips.
8. No Rain on Your Parade
If the weather is poor and there's not much to do outside, staying at a rental is far more entertaining than being cooped up in a hotel room. Since most rentals have all the amenities of home (some even have video game consoles and, if not, you can bring your own). Throw in a DVD and pop some popcorn, just like you'd do at home. No one tripping over one another.
9. Pleasantries of Home - No Responsibility
In a rental property, you'll enjoy all the benefits of home you can't get in a hotel room, but the beauty of it is, you aren't responsible for the maintenance. If something is not right, just call your rental management office and they come right over and take care of what's needed. When we arrived at a condo we once rented in Myrtle Beach, the toilet was broken; maintenance came ASAP.
10. Best of Both Worlds
If you want to blend in with the locals, staying at a rental provides that ability. However, even if you want to get out and do all the touristy attractions, most rentals are conveniently located where you can get out and explore.
It's important as you look for rentals to go with a reputable service or agent who is familiar with the area. There are many scams out there ranging from non-existent properties to scammers renting out homes that don't belong to them, surprising the real owner when the renters show up.
After spending a week or more in a vacation rental, you may never go back to a hotel. I would still consider a hotel, depending on the destination or type of vacation, but in most cases a rental turned out to be the better option for us.
These are my top 10 reasons to skip the hotel when on vacation - do you agree? Or do you prefer hotels?
[ Related reading: Renting a Vacation Home: What You Need to Know ]