Family Holidays – Opt for a Vacation Rental or Hotel?
If you’re finding yourself in the planning stages of that next perfect family getaway, you’ll definitely want to research your options – not only for a fabulous destination, but also your accommodation! With so many different types of hotels to choose from, we mostly tend to steer ourselves toward whichever accommodations are closest to all the holiday action, the highest rated for guest satisfaction… and (let’s face it) the easiest on our wallets! But have you considered a vacation rental home for your next family getaway? It might just be the answer you’re looking for.
First, let’s take a look at the details of what makes a vacation rental home:
- A Vacation rental is, quite typically, a furnished home, condo or apartment rented out to vacationers as an alternative to hotel accommodations.
- Vacation rentals are generally rented to travellers for periods ranging from two days to a month or even longer, but usually not exceeding six months.
- Unlike a hotel, a vacation rental is a private property with a private entrance, and usually comes furnished with extras hotels don’t provide.
Vacation rental homes are surging in popularity, and not only for vacations with the kids to the seaside, but among independent travelers and couples looking for extended stays.
When it comes to a family holiday, a vacation rental makes a lot of sense. It’s simply an easy way to get more bang for your vacation buck! Think of it this way: A vacation rental home will customarily supply a greater amount of amenities, livable space and number of rooms for a lower price than booking a room in a hotel for a similar length of time – especially if your little clan of vacationers will be requiring the use of more than one hotel room for a number of days!
A vacation rental might also make the most sense if you and your family are the kind who want to live like a local instead of a tourist, and immerse yourself authentically into your holiday destination. There’s really no better way to make your fantasy a reality and experience what it really feels like to live in a beachfront villa in the Caribbean, than actually waking up and making breakfast in one!
There has also never been a better time than the present to experience what a vacation rental property has to offer compared to traditional hotel lodging. With so many different types of rental properties around the world to choose from, everyone seems to be catching on to this alternative trend in holiday accommodation.
What’s Out There?
It’s a bit of an understatement to say that vacation rentals come in all shapes and sizes! Being that anyone’s house, apartment, condo, or even houseboat can double as a vacation rental, there are as many options out there for types of vacation homes as there are types of homes.
When we think of a vacation home, many of us immediately conjure the image of a beachfront home in Florida or Maui – an idyllic little rambling piece of private property along the oceanside where you can swim and go for long walks on the beach to unwind. But a vacation rental can really be whatever you want it to be if you look hard enough.
Beachfront homes are simply one niche in a rapidly expanding market of vacation rental properties available all over the world. Did you know there are rustic A-frame cabins in Alaska just waiting for the right family to come and unplug for a little while in front of a cozy fireplace? Perhaps your family would like to stay in a charming farmhouse in the countryside and enjoy a local late summer festival – or sleep in a high rise condo completely decorated in Hello Kitty. It all depends on the kind of vacation rental experience you and your family are looking for!
Whether it’s a beach house along the coast, a cabin in the woods without any electricity or running water, or an
authentic Tuscan villa, a vacation rental can offer you and your fellow travellers as many or as little amenities as you’re looking for. It’s not uncommon for vacation rentals to feature swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas, pool tables and games rooms, fireplaces, full kitchens, sometimes even access to wine cellars.
It’s very important to establish the essentials before you consider booking your vacation rental. Make a list of what’s important to you and your family on your holiday.
- What activities are you planning? Will you spend a lot of time living in your “home away from home” or will your rental accommodations simply be a “home base” for sleeping when you aren’t out enjoying your travel destination? If all you require is a roof over your head, you can budget for a much more affordable vacation rental property.
- Are you looking to simply get away from it all, and read a good book? Creature comforts, privacy, and a suitably soothing atmosphere play an important role in making you feel relaxed and comfortable.
- Will you want to be doing the majority of cooking your own meals? If cooking isn’t exactly your idea of an ideal vacation, you might be planning on enjoying the majority of your meals outside of the vacation rental home. A full kitchen with all the amenities won’t be high on your list of vacation home must-haves, and could save you a bit of money on the rental price when comparing properties. However, if you enjoy cooking or simply want to be able to cook your own meals to save money on food and avoid overspending on takeout and restaurants (especially with a large family,) a decent functional kitchen will be the essential! Ensure you have access to the amenities you are used to having at home to prepare your meals.
- Is access to internet important while you are traveling? The majority of hotels these days offer internet or WIFI access to its guests, but don’t assume your vacation rental will. In some places it’s simply a case of internet not being available in their area. If you need to stay connected for work or for pleasure, seek out a vacation rental that offers its guests connection to the internet built into the price of the rental.
- What time of year are you planning your holiday? Some vacation rental properties operate seasonally, and require some planning ahead to ensure you get the rental property of your choice at the right time of year.
- How long do you plan on staying? Many of the seasonal beach destination vacation rental homes have fairly strict rental schedules – usually Saturday to Saturday. Other rental properties have seven-night minimum stays, followed by a daily rental fee schedule. Still, more and more vacation rentals are making themselves available for as few as one or two nights making them a terrific option for a little weekend getaway or short holiday. This varies widely from destination to destination, so be sure to do your homework.
- Will you be bringing your pets with you? Many vacation rental owners understand that pets are a part of the family, and welcome vacationing cats and dogs. Like the saying goes: a dog has never run out on a hotel bill, stolen towels, or been evicted for drunken disorderly behaviour. It’s completely understandable however, that just as many rental owners do not accept pets on their property, sometimes due to allergies or other health issues. It’s important to establish this ahead of time, and respect the property owner’s decision. If you can bring your pet, make sure to take the responsibility of cleaning up after it and never leaving any “surprises” around the property.
- Are you prepared to be considerate in treating someone else’s home with the same kind of care you would expect someone to treat yours, and take responsibility for cleaning up after yourself while on vacation without the help of hotel staff?
- How many beds and bedrooms will your group require? The number of bedrooms will be reflected in the cost of the rental.
- How many nights, weeks, or even months will you be staying? If you will only be staying an evening, and require only one room, the option to stay at a hotel could be just as cost effective as staying in a vacation rental home. Many vacation rentals only rent by the week, without any option for nightly rentals.
The main reasons why a vacation rental home might be the best choice
More space: When it comes down to it, the average vacation rental offers its guests much more square footage than your typical hotel room.
More privacy: Your vacation rental home is privately owned, and there won’t be any other guests on the property coming and going. No loud conversations in the hallway outside in the middle of the night, no checking in and out at a busy reception desk. Just you and your family enjoying the amenities your rental property has to offer, as though it were your own home. The pool is all yours!
More money in your pocket: Compared to the money you would spend booking a hotel room for a family long term, you could end up saving a bundle. The savings start to add up when you consider how many bedrooms you will need to accommodate your group, and money saved on cooking your own meals at home.
More amenities: A kitchen to cook in, a washer and dryer to clean your clothes when you need to, these are just a couple of standard amenities many vacation rental properties offer their guests. Having these basics can make a big difference!
More location choices: There are places hotels don’t go. A trail in the mountains, that secluded beach off the beaten track, or even right in the heart of a busy metropolis where the nearest hotel options are several city blocks away from where you want to be. Vacation rentals open up a broad range of possibilities when it comes to accommodation – you might find yourself right next door to the tourist attraction of your dreams, without having to worry about transportation! In Rome, very few centrally located hotels offer rooms under $100 a night, but there are numerous lofts and apartments under that price – most with kitchens, TV’s and washing machines.
When is a hotel a better option?
A vacation rental home isn’t always the answer, especially if you’re only looking to stay a short time and need little space. When renting a vacation home, you will be forfeiting room service, in-house restaurants and bars, and the various services and attentiveness of trained hotel staff.
Some prefer the structure and familiarity that hotels offer – you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll know what is to be expected and there won’t be any surprises. All inclusive resorts, laying on the opposite end of the spectrum, take care of your every need. Some families prefer to simply have everything taken care of so they have more time to focus on having fun.
If your plans happen to unexpectedly change at the last minute, a hotel reservation is typically much easier to cancel than a rental agreement, which is a binding contract between you and the property owner.
No matter what you decide – this is your vacation! It can be difficult to quantify what makes a vacation experience a great one, so weigh your options, choose wisely and enjoy your stay!
Still unsure? Look no further, we have compiled a traveler guide of where to stay for the rest of holiday destinations around the world just for people like you…..Happy holidays!