Should I Opt for a Vacation Rental or Hotel When I'm Traveling?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2020
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When you travel, there are plenty of different places to stay along the road. Camping may be the least expensive method of finding a place to get a night’s sleep, but many find themselves more torn between the idea of staying in a hotel, motel or a vacation rental. There are many reasons why one of these options may be better than the other, depending upon your circumstances.

First, you’ll want to consider your length of stay. If you’re only staying somewhere for a night or two, you may not want the extra expense of things like cleaning deposits that come with a vacation rental. You should also think about your accommodation needs and your budget though. If you’re heading up to the snow for a ski weekend with a large family or eight of your closest friends, even with a cleaning deposit, it may be cheaper to find a vacation rental that can accommodate a number of people. Especially if you’re splitting the cost among several families or a group of friends, you’ll usually find that it’s more economical to rent a mid-priced vacation property and split the cost than it is to book multiple hotel rooms.


Of course, if you’re the type who wants flexibility in travel arrangements, you may discover one of the disadvantages of vacation rentals. Ordinarily, when you book these rentals, you are locked into paying for them, unless you cancel thirty days in advance. Even if you do cancel, you may still be assessed fees that might be better spent on your vacation at a later point. It’s not as easy or as inexpensive to change your travel plans at the last moment. Most hotels and motels allow you to cancel up to the day before you travel, which make them a better choice for some people.

Another disadvantage to a vacation rental is your responsibility to clean it. Hotels offer daily maid service, which you may appreciate when you come home from a day of sightseeing. Most vacation rentals do not offer this service, and instead assess cleaning fees. The rental will be cleaned after you leave, and you may need to take part in some of this cleaning or be charged more. If you’re the type that doesn’t want to cook on your vacation, and likes the benefits of leaving a hotel room in disorder, a vacation rental may not be for you.

There are certainly advantages to vacation rentals as opposed to hotels. Most offer you fully stocked kitchens, which can allow you to save money by preparing your own meals. Moreover, if you have a large family, a single hotel room may not be enough; you may have to book at least two or spend money for more expensive suites that have two rooms. With little children, being confined in the relatively small space in hotels and motels may be too much to ask, and children may be more comfortable with room to roam in a vacation rental.

As stated, advantages and disadvantages exist for both vacation rentals and hotels. Hotels offer you some added perks like room service, daily maid service, and vacation homes may save you on price, but may cost slightly more work in cleaning. With either option, do your research by evaluating the places you may want to stay, the flexibility of your travel plans, your budget, and your accommodation needs to decide which choice is best for you.



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