I can't be the only one who gets what I call "Vacation Rage". One day of my vacation, I find myself cranky and hating my travel companion and myself and maybe even having a good cry over something completely trivial. It could be from lack of sleep, jet lag, or being in a new environment. Generally, you can find me eating chocolate cake and probably buying something I don't need that I will wonder why I bought when I get home. One of the best ways I've found to combat Vacation Rage is to have some "you" time. It can get to be too much traveling closely with someone for a week or more. At home, you can go in another room, but when you're traveling you rarely get that opportunity. My suggestion: rent an apartment, house or condo.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against hotels. I love them and stay in a lot of them. Sometimes, renting a house, apartment or condo is simply more practical. I've come up with my top reasons why I would choose to rent:
- You are spending a week or more in a destination. Prices on vacation rentals are cheaper if you rent by the week.
- You are traveling as a family or a group. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals are booked per night/week, not by occupants. They don't care if 2 or 10 people stay there (providing you don't trash the place and the rental can accommodate that many people), the rate is the rate.
- You have more space. Most rentals have separate sleeping, dining and sitting spaces, so even if it's not a big place, you don't have to be right on top of your traveling companion(s). Unless you book a suite in a hotel where you have more room to spread out, you are basically stuck with one room and the bathroom, which is generally tiny. Plus, hotel suites can run twice as much as a vacation rental, and you don't even get as much for your money.
- Cook your own meals in the kitchen provided. Cooking on vacation doesn't always sound like a fun idea, but if you know you don't HAVE to, it becomes less of a chore. It also saves you money, because dining out can cost an arm and a leg. For the price of one meal out at a restaurant, you can make a trip to a local grocer and pick up food for breakfast...for the week. Even if you end up buying several different things (i.e. eggs, oatmeal, cereal, bagels, fruit), you still end up saving a lot. While I''m at the store, I also pick up some sandwich stuff and snacks (if I want something different than what I've brought with me), so we don't have to go out after dinner when we feel like munching on something and also to take with me during a long day out sightseeing.
- You don't have to clean up after yourself each morning, to make sure all your belongings are out of the way. (For those of you who don't do this, shame on you!) You can wait until the night before you leave when you're packing up to wash dishes and hang up towels.
- You're less likely to have noisy neighbors and you're guaranteed to not have children running up and down the hallway screaming at the top of their lungs at all hours...unless they're yours.
- You can come and go as you please. Sure, you can do this if you're staying in a hotel, but many hotels lock the doors at a certain time of night, or you have to give your key to them every time you leave (this is common in the UK).
- Feel like a native. This is one of my favorite feelings. You aren't going back to a hotel, but a home. It's like you're actually living there during your travels, making it easier to feel at home in your new surroundings.
- If you're renting a car, you almost always get free parking! Many hotels will charge $15+ a day to park in their lot/garage. That's money in your pocket!
- Pack fewer things and use the washing machine in the property if it's provided. I tend to look for only apartments that include one.
Try these Great websites for vacation rental listings:
- VRBO.com - By far the largest vacation rental website on the net, so you may have to do a bit of searching to find a really good deal amongst them. You will get to see many pictures, the location and rates. Then you can email the owner for more information right from their website.
- FlipKey.com - Run by TripAdvisor, this site lists many vacation rentals by owner. You will get detailed information about the property, previous renter reviews and pictures. There is a calendar with available dates and rates. You contact the owner directly by email through the site to ask any questions, request more pictures and to make your reservation.
- ResortQuest.com - You can book a variety of rentals through them, including vacation homes, hotel, condos and resorts. With over 100,000 rentals to choose from in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and now Europe, you’re sure to find one that suits your needs.
- HomeAway.com - Sponsored by companies like Travel + Leisure and Virgin American, you can't go wrong booking with HomeAway. It boasts over 230,000 listings at reasonable costs.
- Airbnb - Rent straight from owners who are looking to make extra money by renting out their extra property or their primary home while they are also traveling.
What are your favorite things about renting a place to stay on vacation?