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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Why Vacation Rentals are Awesome 10.19.11

Do you get "Vacation Rage" as I do? I don't think I can be the only one. There is one day of my vacation that I just have a complete meltdown and I'm in a corner crying and yelling at people who bother me. It could be from lack of sleep, jet lag, or being in a new environment. Not getting any alone time will do it, too. After I make it out of the room, you will usually find me eating chocolate cake and probably buying something I don't need that I will wonder why I bought when I get home.  If you travel with other people, then you may know what I'm talking about. Being with people (or just one person) all day everyday can be stressful and annoying. You may alleviate your "rage" just by getting some time away from them. At home, you can go in another room, but when you're traveling you rarely get that opportunity. What's the solution? More room! How do you do that? 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, but 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!

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.

It's been quite a while since we've had the deals of the week. I often skip them, because I post so many deals on Facebook and Twitter, it seems like overkill. Make sure you follow me on both to see deals each day and take advantage of them before they expire. 

Stay at the Trump International Plaza in Las Vegas for under $100 per night. The low tourism in Vegas can be your benefit with this deal from Travelzoo:

Kick back in a suite at the luxurious 5-star Trump International Hotel Las Vegas and save 45% on regular rates. Guests will also receive a $25 spa credit (per stay). Travel through Dec. 29, including Thanksgiving and Christmas:
  • $84 per night Sundays-Thursdays
  • $114 per night Fridays-Saturdays
Suites include full kitchens, and the bathrooms are outfitted with a spa tub and in-mirror plasma TV. The hotel is across the street from Fashion Show Mall, with stores such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom.  
Make sure you use the promo code provided.

Enjoy free onboard credits up to $250 on your next cruise. Cruise on Royal Caribbean for as little as $45 per night per person and receive up to $200 onboard credit on sailings to the Southern Caribbean, Dubai and Western Europe. Cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line and receive up to $250 onboard credits plus a reduced deposit on Eastern Caribbean, Bahamas and Hawaii sailings. Book by October 21 to take advantage of these deals.

Round-Trip Flights from $512+

Now's a great time to start planning your fall getaway! Take advantage of flight deals to Europe with American Airlines and visit London, Paris, Rome, or anywhere else in between for a steal. Fares start as low as $512+ round-trip, so book now! 

  • Book by October 27, 2011.
  • Outbound travel is valid October 29, 2011, and March 26, 2012.
  • All travel must be complete May 15, 2012.

Country Inn & Suites Orlando Maingate Calypso Cay - $169 - from Yuupon

Original Price: $432 -- 61% off!
  • Three nights in 1BR suite for 2 adults/2 kids just $169
  • Late 3 p.m. check-out ($35 value)
  • Tiki Bar/resort credit ($20 value)
  • 1 time picnic/grill kit with burgers and hot dogs ($25 value)
  • Waived resort fees
  • more!
  • Purchase by October 24
  • Great location near Walt Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios.

We have several good things to talk about this time! Shereen Travels Cheap has been going through some good changes. The STC book will be available for purchase near the end of the month (final edits have run through the proof and the final final is on its way. Woot woot!

Don't forget that we have a great newsletter that goes out once a week (maybe twice if something too good to miss presents itself) with updates, tips and blog reminders...you'll get a fancy one as soon as the book is available for you to buy copies for everyone on your holiday list!

I've become a new frequent contributor on FareCompare, which is a fantastic site that brings you amazing travel sales, tips for finding the best airfare anytime of year. If you've missed my last few posts, you can read them here:

5 Strategies for Avoiding Airline Fees

Making Overbooked Flights Work in Your Favor

Explore London While Staying Within a Budget

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