Vacation rentals are increasingly being seen as a cost-effective alternative to hotels, especially for longer stays. Whether you’re visiting a city, the countryside or an exotic island, apartments, houses and villas can be the best option if you’re staying for a week or more. While there are some trade-offs when you forgo hotels, there are also several benefits.
The most obvious advantage is the cheaper cost. While this can apply to solo travelers, it is especially helpful if you’re travelling with a large family or group. Even backpackers looking to reduce expenses can benefit from splitting the cost. Home rentals are also ideal for wedding parties attending destination weddings. Instead of booking two or more hotel rooms, furnished apartments may be the best choice. Take a look at this example.
Smarter Travel found rates of $174 a night for a room on Hawaii’s Big Island. This included a $25 resort fee but excluded tax. In comparison, for $185 to $195 a night, excluding tax, you could get a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo with a full kitchen and access to pools, hot tubs and concierge service. Clearly, renting an apartment would make sense in this instance.
Saving on food costs
In addition to saving money on accommodation costs, you can also save when it comes to food. Access to a kitchen means you can cook at least some of your meals at “home”. The cash you save can be used for activities or the occasional fancy dinner.
In addition, if you stay away from major commercial centers and tourist areas, grocery stores and restaurants are likely to be more affordable. You’ll be able to live like a local and patronize smaller, family-owned establishments or farmers’ markets. You’ll even get to know your neighbors if you stay a while.
Saving on laundry costs
If you’ve been traveling for a while or you have little ones in tow, you will have to do laundry at some point. Hotel laundry services are not known for being cheap. Lugging a large load of clothing to the laundromat may not be appealing. Staying in an apartment means you’ll most likely have access to a washer and dryer.
Other reasons to rent
Beyond the cost savings, rentals also offer your more privacy and peace and quiet. There will be no noisy neighbors or housekeeping staff knocking on the door at inconvenient hours. You’ll also have lots of space and many of the comforts of home.
When not to rent
It is worth noting that while apartments are perfect in some situations and for some travelers, there can be drawbacks. The average place may not be suitable for those who want concierge services. As veteran travel writer Rick Steves notes, you’re usually on your own in an apartment. The owner may offer a little help but for the most part, this accommodation option is for independent travelers. If you need a structured environment and daily room service, a hotel may still be your best option.
Weigh the pros and cons and determine whether a rented apartment may be the best bet for your next trip.