We have traveled with our children for almost 18 years, and each time it has become more difficult to find accommodations that suit our needs. There are few hotel rooms that sleep a family of 5, so we often end up paying for two rooms or a suite. As you can imagine, this can be cost prohibitive. We have found that renting a vacation home can be the perfect solution.
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Why you should choose a vacation rental on your next trip
In light of the current pandemic, we are seeing more people turn to self catering rentals instead of hotel rooms. Thanks to a growing number of private rental homes on Airbnb, VRBO, and smaller local sites, there are plenty of short term rentals on the market. Many of these properties show cleaning precautions being taken by the owners, calendars (so you can see when the last guest visited), and flexible refund policies. Vacation rentals are a good option for families traveling during these times as they offer a change of scenery and you can find locations that are off the beaten path. If you haven’t stayed in a short term rental, here are some of the reasons for renting a vacation home.
1. Vacation rentals can save money
We’ve found many times over that a private home or apartment can be cheaper than a hotel. Some vacation home sites require an additional cleaning fee, so be sure to include this when calculating your rate. Almost every single time, our accommodation was cheaper than two rooms in a hotel for the same time period.
2. Vacation homes have extra amenities not available at hotels
Many rentals often include wi fi, DVD players, games, books, outdoor toys and games, and sometimes computers. Some might even include extra amenities such as access to a local country club or kayaks/canoes available for use. Obviously this is more than you would have in the majority of hotel rooms. If your vacation rental doesn’t have games, here’s a list of 100 games to play on a family vacation.
3. Vacation rentals offer extra space
There are many reasons to stay in a vacation home, but one of our favorites is the additional amount of space for families to spread out. Airbnb and VRBO offer rentals in all shapes and sizes. Choose the fit that is right for you. We usually look for vacation rental homes with at least two bedrooms, a bath (2 are better), a kitchen, and a living area, which is bigger than most hotel rooms. Some home rentals outside a city may include a yard or swimming pool. As a family, we truly enjoy having extra space on vacation.
4. The ability to do laundry
So maybe this isn’t for everyone, but I always look for a washer and/or dryer when booking a vacation rental. Having laundry facilities on vacation means we can pack fewer clothes and luggage will weigh less. I don’t love doing laundry on vacation, but if it’s in the privacy of my vacation rental, I can do it on my own schedule.
5. A kitchen saves money
Our youngest child has a food allergy, so it’s helpful for us to have a kitchen at meal time. We can make allergy friendly food, and the cost of meals on vacation goes down significantly when we’re not eating out. Many vacation rentals come equipped with dishes and basic necessities (salt, pepper, olive oil), so kitchens are set up for families to enjoy.
6. A vacation rental allows you to live like a local
Vacation homes can be located in neighborhoods, or in the country away from all the action. Usually, the home owner or caretaker will greet you at the home and help you get settled. They can tell you where to find the nearest grocery store, where locals like to eat, and how to navigate the transportation system.
We love getting to know a destination outside a typical hotel setting. It’s fun to find the local haunts, playgrounds, and explore a new city from the inside. It’s one of the best parts of travel in our opinion, living like a local.
7. Flexibility for guests
Having a VRBO or Airbnb rental allows guests to be on their own schedule. No one has to leave when housekeeping comes around (you’re the housekeeper), there’s no set meal time, and some places offer flexible check in/check out.
8. Every vacation rental is unique
We love that every vacation rental is unique. Our apartment in Barcelona had a hammock inside the house, another home in Cooperstown had a private swimming pond, and another had a private beach with gorgeous sunsets every night. Our family enjoys finding something new at each property that we might not find at home. Each vacation rental has something unique, which makes a stay extra special in our book.
9. The location you want for less
Often, we are able to find apartments right in the heart of the action. Hotels in the same area seem to cost two to three times more. If you want to rent a villa, those are available too. Maybe being near the ocean is what you’re looking for, and there are beach cottages to rent as well.
A vacation rental property offers many benefits for families. We learn a lot by staying in a vacation rental that we simply couldn’t replicate in a hotel stay. If you haven’t tried a vacation rental for your family, I would highly recommend it for your next trip. The experience will be worth it.