Vacation rentals are houses or apartments in tourist destinations that are generally leased to leisure travelers. The residence may have been bought specifically for this purpose, or the regular occupants may vacate it during some parts of the year. The guests will have full use of the residence, typically with utilities included but without servicing or meals. This approach can be cheaper than booking a hotel room or in some cases, several hotel rooms for the same length of time, especially if traveling with a family or other sizable group of people. Vacation rentals are often stocked with a variety of amenities to make your stay more enjoyable, including a private hot tub or swimming pool (without the noisy neighbors), a full-size kitchen (so you don’t have to dine out for every meal), laundry facilities (so you can pack light), etc. Contacting the owners directly is the ideal way to make arrangements as they can answer any questions you may have about the property. Vacation rental agencies that professionally manage locations are also a popular option as they can assure that the facility will be clean and available – and help find one.
Buying a second home might be an option.
- Families traveling with children get privacy for parents, lower accommodation cost, lower meal cost, added together means stays can now be longer. A few extra days vacation makes a big difference.
- Vacation rentals offer the comfort and privacy of a home so you can have a more relaxing, enjoyable vacation. In a traditional hotel, amenities such as swimming pools and laundry facilities are publicly shared, whereas in most vacation rentals, a private pool and laundry facility is included in the rate.
- Almost all vacation rentals offer a private kitchen, which allows for cooking meals at home rather than going out to eat each day. This saves time and money on dining expenses.
- Vacation rentals are often somewhat less to significantly less expensive than a hotel rooms and are great for groups and families who would otherwise have to pay for multiple hotel rooms. In some cases (especially at off-peak times of the year), a one-week rental of a 5-bedroom, 2-story vacation home can cost less than the rate of two or three nights in a regular, high-quality hotel.
- The typical hotel room is 400 square feet (37 sq. meters); the average vacation rental is a 2,000 square foot house (186 sq. meters).
- Amenities of vacation rental home communities often feature far more than what can typically be found in a hotel; namely such perquisites like a clubhouse, arcade, expanded business center facilities, sundry shops, and even a movie theater.
- While vacation rentals often tout that they are all-inclusive, this usually does not include daily housekeeping and maintenance service, which can be an inconvenience to visitors used to returning to a professionally cleaned room at the end of the day. And if something breaks during your visit, it is most likely your responsibility to call or hire someone who can fix it.
- Vacation rentals typically tend to be situated within several minutes distance to the most popular area attractions or neighborhoods, but this isn't always the case. Hotels are usually located much closer to the area's main attractions as well.
- The use of AirBnB-style home stay networks to convert existing local housing stock to "ghost hotels" has become controversial in many localities. Some landlords evict existing tenants to turn units into short-term vacation rentals, some tenants sublet apartments without their landlord's knowledge or consent, some neighbours become less neighbourly after their quiet condominium block turns into a revolving door of loud or drunken transient visitors and existing hotels simply don't want the competition.
- Minimum stay time tends to be longer (often one week), an issue if you're in town for just one night or one weekend. Cancellation policies are also less flexible; if you need to cancel or cut your trip short you may be out the cost of accommodations you are unable to use.
- Understand how suitable the vacation rental and community is for you and your travel companions. Some rentals cater more toward adult clientèle (think smaller, more upscale accommodations), while others are very child/family-oriented (think colorful décor, lots of amenities, etc.)