When you are planning a vacation, you may automatically think of taking along with your family (or just yourself) and checking into a comfortable hotel. With a wide range of flight, hotel, car rental packages out there, it’s difficult to make a sensible selection. And in the long run, you can often get the best vacation deals by going that way. Still, there are other lodging selections you might wish to explore.
Vacation rentals, for example, offer many amenities that majority of hotels do not. Usually owned by regular owners (renting a vacation home means helping a “mom and pop” business instead of a big corporate-owned hotel), vacation rentals tend to give you full kitchens and multiple bedrooms. They’re available everywhere you might wish to stay too. You can find condominiums or houses or apartments (with detached homes you get the ultimate in privacy for your vacation) in any part of the world.
If you prefer to be surrounded by the hubbub, you can find rentals in the middle of the action (perhaps a condo on the Las Vegas strip or a cabin with ski-in-ski-out convenience tickles your fancy), but you can also find rentals that cater to peace and quiet.
Many of these rental homes are set back from the busy streets and thoroughfares where hotels dominate (instead of a condo adjacent to Vegas casinos, maybe you’d prefer a house a few blocks away with a fenced yard and a private swimming pool).
What about families who would want to bring their pets along for a vacation? Should it be a hotel or a vacation rental more suitable to accommodate them? Well, there are minority pet-friendly hotels that will appreciate well-mannered pets waltzing through their lobbies (but must be leashed). On the other hand, vacation rentals are often the way to go for pet owners, because many will accept pets, such as dogs and cats (with an additional deposit). Do ensure that you check on the place’s pet policy beforehand, though, since each owner sets his or her own rules.
The final issue that I would want to mention is the overall ambiance of vacation rentals versus hotels. With hotels (especially big chains), you get… pretty much similar thing no matter which part of the world you are visiting. This can be good for those who do not like changes, but if you want to stay somewhere that embraces the culture of the local area, you’re more likely to find that in a vacation rental.
Many owners stay at their properties a few weeks a year themselves, so the homes often feel like, well, homes. They’re cozier and friendlier than the starkness of most hotel rooms. Lest you think I have an agenda for promoting rentals over hotels (alas, I own neither), I must admit that there are a few cons to vacation rentals. First of all, finding just the right place can involve more internet research than simply booking through a web site that offers travel package deals.
Secondly, due to vacation rentals are usually privately owned affairs, it can be hit or miss with service. Not all rental owners have their own web sites, and it may take a while for the proprietors to get back to you if they do not use a management company. Thirdly, most of the vacation rentals do not come with housekeeping. The premises will be cleaned when you arrive (in fact, you’ll often be charged a cleaning fee), but do not expect anyone to come in and provide you any room services every day. Finally, vacation rentals tend to be more expensive than hotels. You do usually get more square footage for your money (multiple bedrooms, full kitchen, separate living and dining rooms, etc.), but you pay for it. That’s why rentals are popular and worthwhile with families and friends who can share the costs.
As now you can have a clearer view, there are pros and cons for both hotels and vacation rentals. I would prefer vacation rentals myself (among the other reasons listed here, I really like supporting “mom and pop” businesses instead of faceless hotel chains), but each have their advantages depending on your preferences. Make sure you do your research before deciding where you want to spend your vacation.