There's no better time than the present to try a vacation rental property. With many properties to choose from, baby boomers looking for extended stays, honeymooners longing for exotic luxury and weekend travelers needing a getaway house are catching on to the trend.
Is a vacation rental right for your next trip? Read on!
Ditch the Hotel: 10 Cheaper Ways to Stay
Most people imagine beach houses when they think of vacation rentals, but these are just one segment of an ever-growing industry. You can rent an apartment in Paris, a farmhouse in Tuscany, a brownstone in Brooklyn, a villa in Bali, a penthouse in Sydney or a treehouse in Puerto Rico. Whatever kind of lodging you're interested in, no matter how exotic, chances are you can rent it.
What You'll Gain
In most cases you'll have more space, more privacy and more money in your pocket when you choose a vacation rental rather than a hotel. You'll also most likely have access to a kitchen and washer/dryer. If your property is part of a larger resort or condo complex, you might also enjoy privileges like golf, tennis and concierge service.
What You'll Give Up
Not all rentals are created equal. Private single-family homes may not have the same amenities that condos or villas within a resort community will. When renting the single-family home variety you may forfeit maid service, concierge service, room service and in-house restaurants -- and in many cases you even have to bring your own linens. Beach homes usually have more rigid check-in dates than hotels (many rentals are on a set schedule, typically Saturday to Saturday) and may not offer any special perks. Beach chairs, bikes and baby equipment will probably have to be rented on your own.
Resort homes, condos, and villas located within a resort community or condo complex generally offer a more complete amenities package. Depending on the destination, linens, beach towels and bath towels may be provided. The property may also offer daily or weekly maid service, often at extra cost. You'll find more flexible check-in dates in this type of accommodation than you would at a single-family beach house.
Finding a Vacation Rental
What's the Deal?
In many cases, you can get more space for less money when you choose a vacation rental over comparable hotels in the area. For example, on a recent search we found off-season rates of $198 a night for a room at the Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii's Big Island. However, for $152 - $169 a night you could get a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo at nearby Vista Waikoloa with a full kitchen and access to pools, hot tubs and concierge service.
In Rome, we found very few hotels offering rooms under $100 a night, but we did find a two-bedroom apartment for $317 for four nights, including cleaning fee, with a kitchen, dishwasher and washing machine.
These are just a few examples of how much you could save by renting rather than paying for a hotel room on your next trip. Does that mean you can't beat the rental cost by finding a great deal on a hotel? Of course not -- but if price is important to you, it's well worth looking into vacation rentals, especially if you're traveling with your family or staying for an extended period of time.