Gone are the days when finding a place to stay during a family vacation
meant choosing the best of two unpleasant hotel rooms. Luckily, the option to
rent fully furnished apartments or homes has become popular and easier in
If you've resigned yourself to hotel accommodations, here are a few
reasons to reconsider (and some helpful tips to get started):
Whether you're thinking of booking a hotel room or renting a house or
apartment, beware of hidden fees that don't show up in the initial listing
price. However, home rentals tend to be less expensive over a longer period of
time, because owners often set weekly or monthly rental rates, which work in
your favor. If you have a large group of people, the cost per person can
be much more favorable with a home rental.
Is it just us, or does it feel like hotel rooms get smaller as vacation
days go by? In general, hotel rooms consist of two beds and a lonely little
bathroom. But there is a lot more space—and flexibility—with a rental. Look for
something with a playroom or backyard, so the kids have more room to run
around. Find something with lots of seating so all the adults have
somewhere to kick back as well.
3. Built-in amenities.
Though you need to read property descriptions carefully, many come with
amenities you'd never find in hotel rooms, such as a well-stocked DVD
collections or board games. Some may also have access to a community pool or fitness
room, while others may have these features right in the backyard. Little
extras can go a long way for those days when your family needs some downtime,
the weather isn't cooperating or relaxation is on the agenda.
4. Hosts offer local insight and a personal touch
Certainly the front desk staff at a hotel can offer suggestions on
where to go and what to do, but there are some outstanding hosts who are
practically personal concierges by leaving behind write-ups with tips on local
favorites, guidebooks for the surrounding area, take-out menus and other
specific considerations that can enhance your vacation. Before you leave home,
take the time to communicate with your hosts, and they'll probably be more than
happy to answer any lingering questions about the destination.
5. Accommodations can be memorable too
You'll spend at least a third of your vacation in your accommodation
(you have to sleep, eventually), so make it a memorable one. Start
digging through apartment and home listings, and you may be surprised to discover
treehouses, yurts, castles and other unique lodging options. By utilizing a rental
service, you can make your accommodation just as interesting and memorable as
the attractions you'll visit on your vacation.
Are you ready to choose the perfect rental home or apartment? Consider
the following tips:
1. Plan in advance
Like most things related to vacation planning, the early bird gets the
worm. In this case, you get more options. This is especially important if you
have your eye on a popular destination, especially during high season or during
a busy sporting event, convention or festival.
2. Use a legitimate listing service
There are a number of companies offering detailed listings with good
amenity filters on their websites and support if something unexpected arises. Use a company like AirBnB, VRBO, HomeAway,
Wimdu or Roomarama for your search, and stay away from something like
Craigslist. This is the business vacation rental companies are in, so use their
refined search options and read up on policies that hold both renters and
those renting accountable.
3. Let filters guide your search
When you book a room at the Hampton Inn or Best Western, you know in
advance what you can expect to find, but every vacation rental is different. Use
a website's filters to narrow down your price range and desired size, but then
go even further to find the perfect match for your needs. Looking for something
with a pool? Want to bring your dog along? Need a place that is wheelchair accessible?
These are the types of filter options you'll find across quality listing sites.
4. Scrutinize accommodation listings
Using a verified vacation rental listing company is the first big step
to finding quality accommodations, but once you've narrowed down your search,
take a close look at the listing. Many of these sites note whether users are
active or verified, both of which are ideal indicators of good hosts. Look for
high-quality photos that match a rental's description. Read reviews left by others who have stayed in
the rental. If you have questions, don't be afraid to get in touch with a
renter and ask. These are real people who have a stake in making sure their
listing and your needs match well.
Just as you will take the time to read reviews prior to travelling,
other travelers will want to learn about your experience with a particular
property listing and owner. Be honest and thoughtful, and make sure your review
reflects your experience with the accommodation, not other unrelated factors
such as attractions that were closed or poor weather.