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7 Reasons to Skip Hotels & Rent Vacation Homes

Posted By Jim On 07/15/2009 @ 12:32 pm In Travel | 17 Comments

Bankrate had an article recently in which they recommended renting a home or condo to trim vacation costs [3]. While I very much value the opinion of the fine folks at Bankrate, that’s good advice that’s about decades overdue.

At the very least, it’s five years overdue, because my friends and I have been doing this for at least that long. In fact, it was the topic of discussion one day at Meals on Wheels and when one of the other volunteers remarked that they had been renting vacation homes for decades.

  1. It’s cheaper. It’s exceptionally cheap when you go during the off-season, usually almost 50% off the peak rates. The vacation homes are usually very large so when you finally calculate the cost per person, it’s quite affordable.
  2. It’s negotiable. Hotels are not very good at negotiation, unless you’re a savvy customer or use something like Priceline, the price is whatever you can get through a travel search site. Demand for vacation homes, especially in this recession, is down and you can use it to your advantage.
  3. You have kitchens and grills to cook yourself. Most hotels, unless it’s suites, won’t have any type of kitchen or even a microwave. You can continue to save money on your vacation if you take advantage of the kitchen and the grills usually made available in vacation homes.
  4. A pool of your own! If you’re in a vacation home usually frequented in the summer, chances are it has a pool that you can use all to yourself.
  5. Plenty of communal space. If you want to play board games or yard games, it’s pretty much impossible in a hotel. With your own vacation home, you have living rooms and other communal spaces you can take advantage of.
  6. Parking aplenty. If you go to a hotel in a resorty area, usually you can park one or two cars a room in the hotel parking lot. With a vacation home, no one is monitoring so you can pack in as many as you want.
  7. Free Wi-Fi. The last home we stayed in had free Wi-fi, which was a great perk. While paying $9 a day at a hotel isn’t horrible, I don’t plan on being tethered to a computer so $9 to check my email is a bit much (I know there are lots of hotels with free Wi-Fi, but many still charge!).
  8. More likely to be pet friendly. A vacation home is more likely to be pet-friendly, which means you can save on kenneling costs. Hotels? Forget about it, you have no chance.

It is not without negatives though. First, you’ll usually have to rent the vacation home or condo for an entire week, even if you’re only staying for a long weekend. My recommendation is that you split the cost evenly across the number of people, rather than the number of days people are staying.

Second, you’ll need a lot of people to fill the beds in a house to make it worthwhile. When we went to the Outer Banks, there were close to fifteen beds. We had enough people and the cost of the home was ridiculously cheap, but if you don’t know enough people then it may not be worth it.

Despite the two negatives, which are potential deal-breakers, renting a vacation home beats a hotel in my book.

(Photo: tony_wan_kenobi [4])


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[3] renting a home or condo to trim vacation costs: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/home-condo-rentals-trim-vacation-costs-1.aspx?pid=p:brg

[4] tony_wan_kenobi: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tony_wan_kenobi/210376779/sizes/o/

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