Thursday, April 26, 2012

Why Choose a Vacation Rental

Summer is fast approaching and you may be dreaming of that much needed vacation. Perhaps you have it all planned out already?! If not, here is something for you to consider - especially if you are traveling with kids. That's Baby E enjoying the beach at this beautiful lake, just steps from our vacation rental.

Did it ever cross your mind how you would spend a week staying at a hotel room with kids? Wouldn't you have to eat every meal out? Does the thought of eating out with kids three times a day give you chills? How about some alone time with your spouse when the kids are asleep? Uhm, room to run around for toddlers? The answer to any of these worries is this: 


[Baby E stealing bananas that decorated the pancakes before everyone sits down for breakfast. Glimpse of the deck outside, great place for drying clothes and cloth diapers, grilling, and chilling!]

I just wanted to share our experience with you and save you the pain of learning through trial and error. For weekend trips, sure a hotel/motel may do just fine and be economical, but if you are looking for a longer stay - please look at other options. He are the reasons why vacation rentals rock, according to our experience last summer. 
  • Lots of room! Self-explanatory, generally any cottage, small house, mansion - you name it, is a lot roomier than a hotel room. 
  • Self-catering. For a weekend getaway with your spouse, you want to eat out and get some rest from cooking. But when kids tag along, it can get pricey and inconvenient to eat out. We brought all of our own, healthy food, saved a lot of money. We cooked simple, quick meals and didn't have to get in the car and drag the kids to eat out several times a day. 
  • Expenses may be split. If you have another family that you would feel comfortable spending vacation with, this is a great way to get a nice rental and split the price in half. You may be able to afford a much roomier and luxurious place than if you went alone. For example, a two bedroom, somewhat outdated rental may cost $800 a week, but a much nicer four bedroom, perhaps closer to the lake or ocean may be $1,200 per week - if split, each family spends only $600 for a better vacation spot. But be very careful considering who you would want to spend a week with!
  • Feels like home! Though there is no place like home, a vacation rental comes pretty close. You don't have the confines of a hotel room. There is a large fridge for all your kids snacks (that they demand it seems every-three-minutes). Outdoor space is just as important as indoors, with patios, decks, terraces, and lawns for the family to enjoy. 
  • Much more kid friendly. It always seems like the walls are paper thin in hotel rooms, you can almost hear your neighbor's every word. In a vacation rental you wouldn't have to worry about your infant teething and screaming half the night or rowdy folks next door that may leave you and your kids sleep deprived. It's just plain kid friendly for all of the reasons mentioned above as well. 
  • Meet the locals! Your vacation rental owner probably knows a lot more about the area and can give you genuine advice on places to eat, places for a swim, and area attractiosn. It also feels a lot more like 'being one of the locals' instead of being a tourist, as I like to call myself a 'traveler' instead of 'tourist'. 
Finding a vacation rental is easier than ever with the internet. There are reputable sites where thousands of travelers find their destinations and places to unwind. With kids, look for a place that is a comfortable driving distance from you to save money. The older your kids, of course, the bigger the possibility of driving further and skipping the airport. If you already live close to popular vacation spots, your search will be easier. Here are some of our favorite websites for vacation rental hunting:

HomeAway.com : A great source for all the most popular destinations and many hidden gems. We did find a great getaway here that we took just a few weeks after we found out I was pregnant with Baby E.

VRBO.com : Vacation Rentals By Owner is a great site that is a little harder to navigate than HomeAway (but it is actually owned by them and got a good makeover recently), but there are many rentals here that aren't listed on other sites. 

VacationHomeRentals.com : This is where we found our rental cottage last year for only $800. Comparable rentals in the area were $1,000 and up. Plus we split the price with another family and it was worth every penny because it was just a few hundred yards to the crystal clear lake beach! Bliss!

Craigslist.com : I've bought so many things on Craigslist, never been scammed, but you would have to be really careful with a vacation rental. Don't send your money to anyone. You just have to use your judgement, but it is a possible place to find vacation rentals listed by the owner, often at a great deal. 

Vacation rentals book up fast and good ones usually months in advance, so you have to act on it to get a good deal at a prime destination. Also consider browsing around places you have never heard of, you may be surprised at what you might find and get more for your money in a less popular destination. 

Have you ever stayed at a vacation rental? What was your experience? Where did you find it? 


  1. Another great site is Otalo.com - they search all the vacation rental sites, so you only have to enter your search criteria once (like KAYAK but for vacation rentals)


    1. Ooh, thank you so much for sharing! Haven't tried that one!

  2. I love VRBO for rentals. I'm wary of Craigslist. Friends of mine encountered a scammer on Craigslist when trying to rent a house in Rehoboth.

  3. I agree with everything said in this post. Vacation rentals are so much more cozy than hotel rooms.

  4. Thank you for this information we need a vacation =)

  5. I am satisfied with the links provided here and rest of post is wonderful

  6. There are hundreds of holiday rental sites for families to choose from but some of the most popular in the US are Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey, HouseTrip, VacationRentals.com, Wimdu, VacationHomeRentals.com and AlwaysOnVacation.


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