Most everyone reading this has stayed in hotel before and if you’ve traveled for any length of time you’re probably also familiar with the concept of vacation rentals by owner. Property owners list their rental on third party sites like AirBNB, HomeAway, and FlipKey where potential visitors can book accommodations through the third party site. Vacation rentals aren’t just options for beachfront condos and mountain cabin getaways. We recently took a short trip to Chattanooga and opted to stay in a vacation rental apartment instead of a hotel.
Vacation rental vs. Hotel: which is the right choice for your next trip? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each:
1. A Kitchen – Whether you need to save money by eating many of your vacation meals in, or have special dietary concerns that preclude you from eating at very many restaurants, having a kitchen can save your from breaking the bank or upsetting your tummy.
2. Space – Additional square footage is often a must depending on the size of your party or the age of your party. Anyone who has spent in in a hotel room with small children can give me an amen. It’s lovely to be able to place napping toddlers in a room alone instead of turning off the lights and the TV in the hotel room and being very, very quiet for two hours until they wake up.
3. Pets – Many vacation rentals are pet-friendly, saving you from finding a sitter or paying kennel fees.
4. Privacy – Depending on the rental you’ll often enjoy your own private entrance, a freestanding structure (no sharing walls with anyone. No elevator dings at 2:00 AM), and no housekeeper knocking on your door. You’ll enjoy sleeping in a separate room from your children allowing you to stay up later than them, and enjoy certain other activities. 😉
1. No Kitchen – That’s right. The lack of a kitchen can actually be in the “pro” column depending on your situation. Maybe you don’t want to cook on your vacation. Maybe you don’t want to feel pressure from having a fully equipped kitchen available. You think you’re just going to pick up some cereal and milk and the next thing you know you’re cooking a meal for everyone.
2. No security/pet deposit/cleaning fee required – Most vacation rentals will require a $100+ security deposit that will be refunded after your stay. Non-refundable cleaning fees are usually added on in addition to your nightly rate.
3. Daily Cleaning – If you revel in the luxury of having your bed made daily, the trash emptied, and the toilet paper cornered off, you might appreciate a hotel room more than a vacation rental which will not be serviced during your stay. Hotels don’t require you to strip the beds, round up the towels, and bring trash to the dumpster upon departure either.
4. Room service and complimentary breakfast – While not offered by every hotel, room service and complimentary breakfasts are very rarely an option with vacation rentals.
5. No nightly minimum – Vacation rentals often have a 2-3 night minimum stay requirement.
Many first-timers to the vacation rental by owner route worry about accommodations not being up to their expectations or being swindled. Here’s some advice to implement to protect yourself and put your mind at ease.
- Ask questions – email back and forth with the owner with any concerns you might have before booking.
- Read reviews – find out what other visitors thought of their stay
- Book with a credit card – Do not use a debit card, Paypal, or prepaid gift card. Worst case scenario, you arrive and the rental was not as promised so you demand a refund and spend the night in a hotel instead. Refund not given? Take it up with your credit card company and get your money back!*
*I’ve stayed in many vacation rentals and never had to resort to taking anything up with my credit card company. I have had to do it with a hotel stay though! Just something to think about.
6. Guaranteed cheaper stay with coupons. Hotels are not that expensive if you know how to get discounts on booking. Use these promo codes for discounted hotels bookings. Along with just a few clicks online you can rent the best room a lot cheaper and enjoy even the most luxurious stay all around the globe! And the best part is that you are always guaranteed to get a discount as well.
Did you find this post useful? You might also like my post about Walt Disney World vs. Disney Cruise Line