When people think of vacations, they often think of wide, sandy beaches, pristine snowy slopes, or quiet lakefront living, but they inevitably end up in the same place: a cramped, generic hotel room. Why settle during your vacation? If you’re traveling with a family or group, or if you’re staying longer than three days, consider renting a vacation home. These houses and condominiums can have breathtaking views, prime location, and fabulous amenities. Best of all, they’re often less expensive than hotels.
The largest benefit to renting a home is space. Instead of sharing both a bedroom and bathroom with your kids, you can stay in a two-bedroom, two-bath home with doors for privacy and closet space for convenience. You’ll never get a living room, dining room, and kitchen in your hotel. Renting a vacation home gives you space to unwind, space to play games, and space to have dinner, all without breaking your holiday budget.
The amenities in a private home are far greater than in a hotel. Vacation rentals are fully equipped homes, and you’ll have everything at your fingertips, from televisions to teapots. If you decide to have a dinner party, you’ll be able to use the pots and pans, and also the dining room table, the place mats, and the wine opener. And that full-sized refrigerator can save you tons of money—a bacon-and-egg breakfast is a lot cheaper from the grocery store than from the nearby restaurant. Private homes and condos can also include the use of tennis courts, swimming pools, golf courses, boat launches, and private beach access—added bonuses you don’t always get with hotels.
Privacy is another great benefit. Homes and condos with private entries mean your vacation will be about you, not the couple in the next room. No one will be knocking on your door at five in the evening to see if you need your bed turned down. The ability to come and go as you please ensures your vacation will be just as you planned it.
Like all real estate, finding a vacation home comes down to location, location, location. With vacation homes, you can have the privacy of a mountain cabin, the view of an oceanfront home, or the vitality of a downtown condo. City ordinances often don’t allow multi-story buildings in a certain area (right on the ocean, for example), and so the only way to experience the best locations is to rent a private home. The location of your home also ensures you won’t have that generic hotel feel; remember, these homes are owned by other families, each decorated to be both inviting and reflective of the area.
Of course, for many travelers, the biggest reason to rent a vacation home is price. Not only do vacation homes save you money by offering a full kitchen, the prices of the homes themselves are often cheaper than a hotel for a week. Here’s an example: A family of four wants to spend a week in San Diego at the end of July. Getting two rooms in a chain hotel for seven days each, their total is around $2500. Renting a two-bedroom home for the same week is $1800. You actually save money and get more space! Month-long trips save even more money, a note worth remembering for travelers escaping winter weather.
For the less budget-conscious traveler, vacation homes are the best way to experience the luxury of a town. Plasma TVs, granite countertops, and private Jacuzzis can be found in any city—but not in a hotel. With vacation homes, you can get any amenities you want, in any part of the country.
While the jump from hotels to vacation homes may be a little intimidating if you’ve never tried it before, once you’ve experienced all a vacation home has to offer, you’ll find it’s much harder to jump back.