December 16, 2009

Why Book a Vacation Rental Over a Hotel For Your Next Family Vacation?

When most vacationers think about a family vacation, they automatically think of a hotel as the most budget friendly choice, but that is not always the case. Many families often go with a recognized hotel over a rental, as they figure it is the safest option. They've been there before, they know what to expect, and they are easy to book. However, by staying at the same chain hotels, you are only limiting your vacation possibilities.

Hotels vs. Rentals

To be fair to hotels, they do have some advantages over rentals. For one, most all hotels have room service, valet parking, and an available pool/workout facility. Only some rentals have access to these types of amenities. Most hotels also have no policy on your length of stay. You can stay there one night, two nights, heck, some even rent by the hour, but we aren't about to go there. The point is, there are more stay options to a hotel. But the comparisons run much deeper than this:

Food Budget

When staying at your typical hotel, you have already set yourself up for dining out multiple times. Some may have a kitchenette, but these are usually useless beyond very basic cooking and food storage. The convenience of most rentals, which often consist of either a condo, townhome, or personal house, is the use of a full kitchen. This allows you to do some light cooking, which can save a lot of money when on a budget.


The other advantage of rentals is their larger square area and available rooms, which translates into more privacy. Parents will particularly enjoy this feature, which will allow for a few romantic highlights that your typical hotel family hotel room won't allow. Most family members will actually enjoy a vacation more if they have the opportunity to retreat to their own room. We love our families, but an entire week or two of nothing but being together can get a little annoying.


Rentals offer a little piece of home beyond a kitchen and extra space. Most rentals have access to a washer and dryer at no extra charge. This means you can pack lighter, which is a big deal considering most airlines today charge a fee per bag, and even more fees for heavy ones. If you have a pet, rentals are usually more apt to accept your furry friend than a hotel. Most hotels have to adhere to a strict nationwide policy without exception.


Let's face it, if you've seen one hotel, you have seen them all. They are designed to accommodate as many people as efficiently as possible, and charm is not usually a part of this goal. On the other hand, most rentals strive to make your stay as close to home as possible, with decorative furniture, art, knickknacks, and colorful painted walls.

Chad Rutt is the Director of Marketing for the online lodging site and the Managing Editor of its accompanying Vacation Blog

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