One of the joys of vacationing is taking a break from your day-to-day routine. Cooking, cleaning, even laundry chores are put on hold while you relax and enjoy the finer things in life. However, those finer things often come at a premium price; daily maid service, for instance, is a built-in expense that drives up your overall hotel bill. If you’re traveling on a budget and you’d rather spend your money on activities instead of accommodations, consider the benefits of renting a home vs. staying in a hotel:
- The price is right. Renting a home for a week can reduce your travel costs by up to 30% — and you can save even more if you share the rental with another family. In places like New York City, the savings are substantial enough to entice business travelers to rent apartments rather than stay in hotels.
- Rental options are vast and expanding. Vacation rental homes have outgrown “cottage industry” status in recent years. With a simple online search, you can find a wide range of websites devoted to vacation rentals, both in the U.S. and abroad.
- You’ll enjoy more space and privacy. The average size of a vacation rental is about 1,850 square feet, more than four times the size of the average hotel room. If you’re vacationing to escape from crowds, a rental home offers you extra room to breathe. You’ll also have a place to call your own while you’re away, without having to deal with maids interrupting your routine at inopportune times, guests making noise in the next room, or hotel staffers treating you inhospitably.
- Many vacation rentals are pet-friendly. A growing number of hotels allow pets (mostly just dogs, though), but their policies can be constrictive. It’s easy to find pet-friendly rental lodgings that provide your furry friends the space they need to roam.
- Your dining choices are more flexible and affordable. Rental-home kitchens come fully equipped, so you’re only responsible for the food you’ll need. You can eat whatever you want, whenever you want, and you probably won’t end up paying exorbitant hotel prices, like $14 for mini-bar Gummy Bears or $23.50 for room-service mac-and-cheese (not to mention the service and in-room dining charges).
- In-home entertainment isn’t vastly over-priced. Hotel-room movies alone can cost up to $15, while rental homes often include big-screen TVs, home entertainment centers, and more as part of the package. Besides, mobile entertainment options are plentiful and growing, and Netflix, U-Verse, and other video services can be accessed virtually anywhere.
While there can be advantages to hotel stays — prime locations, convenience, easy access to personal services — renting a home when you travel can help you stretch your travel budget. (To stretch it even further, be sure to book your airline reservations through Travel Plus — you’ll earn 5% cash back!) If you’ve ever rented a vacation home, please share your experiences with us in the Comments section.