With the rise of AirBnB, CouchSurfing, and other owner-rented lodging sites, tourists are rethinking the idea of having a home away from home when they travel. But what about clean, professionally-staffed hotels that are brimming with conveniences? There will always be travelers who enjoy that experience, and with good reason. (Who really wants to turn down their own bed after a day lounging by the pool?) But here are some reasons to seriously consider booking a vacation rental home for your next getaway...
1. Rates can be significantly cheaper than hotels. Price is often the most important factor when planning a vacation. What’s the best bang for your buck? A recent study concluded that in New York City, renting an apartment on AirBnB is over 20 percent cheaper than staying in a hotel. And if you're looking for just a private room instead of an entire apartment, the savings increases to nearly 50 percent.
2. You can live like (and with) the locals. Back to our New York City example. Ask any New Yorker if their dream apartment is in Times Square, and you’ll probably be greeted with a scoff. Tourists flock to the neighborhood's 75 hotels, but locals often avoid these over-commercialized spots. Staying in a rental allows you to interact with the city in the same way that its inhabitants do: visit the grocery store, check out the local pub, and spend a few minutes chatting with your new temporary neighbors.
3. There’s a kitchen! Having a kitchen can easily save hundreds of dollars while you're on vacation. Since most hotel rooms lack cutlery (let alone a stove), rentals make it easier to pack a lunch and snacks for a day on the town and return home for a cheap, hot meal. Plus, you can enjoy the spoils of local markets. That's far more fun than just snapping photos of all the beautiful produce.
4. You'll often have more room. In most hotel rooms, a family of four needs to divvy up a double bed and a fold-out couch, or two double beds in a limited amount of space. The incredible variety and affordability of rental properties means that you can book a spacious two bedroom apartment, or an entire house, instead, and without fees for extra people.
5. Vacation rentals are great for a big group. Instead of shuttling around town to meet grandma and grandpa at a different hotel, you can fit an entire family comfortably under a single, spacious roof. This works just as well for groups of friends, girls weekends, bachelor parties, and the like. Plus, when you divide the cost among family and friends, you’re often paying an incredibly affordable nightly rate.
6. You'll avoid sneaky resort fees. Hotels can tack on surcharges for grounds keeping, housekeeping, Internet, newspapers, and even for extra towels. With vacation rentals, you know the price up front. (Note: there’s often a small cleaning fee.)
7. Laundry facilities let you pack less. There's no need to cram ten outfits into a single carry-on. Most rentals allow you to clean your clothes in the property’s washer and dryer.
8. You get a private bedroom and bathroom. If you're staying with friends and family and not your significant other (and sometimes even if you are on a romantic getaway) a little bit of space and privacy goes a long way. Having more than one room to decompress after a long day of sightseeing can help you organize your thoughts and grab some quiet time. The close quarters of hotel rooms can sometimes be too close for comfort, especially when the room has one of those peek-a-boo showers.