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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Why We Always Opt for Vacation Rentals

You’re probably sick of me talking about how vacation rentals are awesome, but since I genuinely think they can stretch your travel dollar further and use them myself, I will keep telling you until you do it – and probably afterwards – and see for yourself. Though we often stay in timeshare properties when it’s just the two of us, it is even more beneficial for travelers who go as four or more, because it gives you room to stretch out and also get away from people if you need to. Being cramped up in one room with people can give you a bit of cabin fever, especially when you’re also spending all day with them. We had 4 adults, 3 kids and a baby in a 3 bedroom and it was almost like hanging out at home, except not boring.

I’ve included many photos of us enjoying our space that was not a hotel room with two beds and a tiny table with chair. The 3 bedrooms were perfect, because everyone had their own room to go to if they were feeling tired or annoyed by being with other people. Sometimes that just happens when you are on vacation. It can be a bit stressful spending that much time together. Here are some other reasons why I love and recommend a vacation rental, be it condo, timeshare, house or apartment:

You can spend as much time in your rental as you want. Not that you can’t do that in a hotel room, but generally you don’t want to, because it’s a bed and a TV, or the maid will come and disturb you while she’s cleaning and trying to do her job. There’s no Do Not Disturb sign you need to hang on your door when you rent, because you don’t have maid service (usually). In some rentals, if you stay a certain amount of days, they will come once to change out your sheets and towels, but that’s pretty much it. Your room is equipped with anything you might need from towels for the pool to a vacuum cleaner.
Save money on longer stays. Hotels will almost never give you a price break when you stay longer, unless it’s a special they are running. On vacation rentals, you generally get a better deal on weekly stays than on nightly stays, which means if you stay a week, you may spend the same as if you only stayed and paid for 4 nights.
Save money for more guests. When you stay in a hotel, you pay more for anyone over two guests in a room. Unless children stay free (which they do at many hotels and resorts), you can end up paying $20+ for each per night. This sucks especially when there are four adults sharing a room with two queens. Obviously, this room was not made for just two people, but they are charging you an arm and a leg for having the appropriate number of guests. You could spend that same money on a suite to give you more space or spend it on a rental that comes with useful amenities and separate bedrooms.

Save money on dining out. This is a big one for a lot of people. Why spend $10 per night to get a fridge put into your room for a week when you can have an entire kitchen and plates and cups and serving dishes and flatware…and sometimes a BBQ? For real! You could spend every meal out and go broke just eating or you could go to the grocery store and grab some necessities and stock your fridge and cabinets with things you like to eat for breakfast or lunch and keep some money in your pocket by only dining out for a few meals. Dining out with 7 people was not cheap, but we hit up the grocery store and for $70 we had food for all our breakfasts, a couple lunches, a dinner and a yummy dessert for our 4 days we were there. We may have gotten away with less if I didn’t want to make a fun Indian stew, but I had also packed all of the dry ingredients in a plastic container, so I wouldn’t have to buy rice and spices that we wouldn’t use and I already had.

Get separate rooms. Yes, I’ve already explained this, but I include it because this was even more useful to us in a mixed crowd, because the baby could be put down in a room and not be kept awake by us in the main room. If one of the kids was bad or needed some alone time, they had somewhere to go and we weren’t all punished or had to watch the same show they wanted to watch. We didn’t all have to go to bed when the kids went, so we could stay up a few hours later and play games and hang out while they slept down the hall. Also, when Eric and I had to leave earlier than them on the day we were checking out, we didn’t wake anyone up taking showers, putting on clothes and dragging our luggage out.

Pack less and do your laundry. I’m always going to tell you to pack light. For four days, we packed one large carry-on and the Eagle Creek Emerson shoulder bag. That’s it. For two of us. I even packed some pantry items (see dining out above), a package of naan, activities for the kids and an extra pair of shoes. You might check to see if your rental has laundry facilities, but most do or are close to a Laundromat. We were fortunate to have a washer and dryer right in our rental. It even had a door, so we could throw clothes in and close it off and not disturb everyone. Not that it was that loud. While we didn’t need to use it, we still did laundry before we packed to go back home so we would have clean smelling clothes and baggage. We have stayed at ones that have had laundry facilities on-site and also carried our clothes down the street to do them. It takes very little time and gives you a chance to plan your next day, catch up on email, play a game or read the book/magazine you brought. Downtime is good.

You don’t need to lock up all your valuables every day. Because you don’t have daily maid service, you don’t have to round up everything you brought with you and stash it away, even if it’s just dirty clothes and receipts. We leave our netbook out where we use it, throw dirty clothes in the hamper we bring and spread out our toiletries in the bathroom like we like them and don’t have to worry about putting them in a drawer before we leave so they can clean up after us.
Get free parking. Generally, this is true, but with some condos and apartments, you may have to pay to park your car. We have been lucky so far, or haven’t rented a car at our destination.

Other reasons you might like a vacation rental:
·      They can be a lot quieter.
·   Nobody is running up and down your hall at 3am, keeping you awake (unless it’s someone you brought with you)
·      No one sees you coming or going like they do in the hotel lobby.
·    It’s still cheaper to split the cost with several travelers than it is to get separate hotel  rooms.
·    You have a fridge, so you don’t have to run back and forth to the ice machine if you want a cold drink.
·      It’s like living at your destination.
·   The kitchen is stocked with all the necessities, including basic spices. We made a lovely rub for the chicken we grilled with what was in our cupboard. We felt creative.
Check out these sites for vacation rentals: FlipKey | RedWeek | Roomorama | VRBO
Do you rent instead of staying in hotels? What’s your favorite benefit?

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