Pros and Cons for renting a vaction property vs staying at a Hotel

Vacation rental companies (like AirBnB) are the hot trend in vacation accommodations, offering travelers the option to rent unique homes, apartments and rooms across the world. Renting a vacation cottage can save you money on your next trip. The advantages of staying in a vacation rental instead of a hotel seem intuitive – more space, kitchen facilities – but renting a cottage or cabin isn't for everyone.

Hotel

The novelty of staying in a hotel is half the fun of traveling. Waking up wrapped in the white sheets knowing that the day ahead is full of adventures waiting to unfold makes even the earliest mornings welcome. Room service is a phone call away and the concierge can direct you to the finest restaurants and secret spots in the city only locals know about. A hotel is a safe haven for you to settle into as you explore the city you’re visiting.

Vacation House Rentals

Vacation rentals are growing in popularity as an accommodation choice for travelers. These apartments and houses available for stays invite tourists to feel like a true local with options ranging from quiet neighborhoods to beachside houses and urban downtown lofts. To rent is to adopt a new lifestyle for a few days as you fill the space left by the owners for an inside look to see what it really feels like to live in an oceanfront villa in Hawaii or a studio with views of the Eiffel Tower.

Pros for staying in a vacation rental.

You can budget your trip: While Airbnb requires full payment upfront, many rental agencies only require a down payment at the time of booking, so it makes it easier to budget for an entire trip—especially after paying good money for airfare.

When traveling with a large group or family, this is an ideal option to give everyone a little more breathing room and the freedom to use household amenities like a kitchen to enjoy leisurely breakfasts in or a dinner cooked with ingredients picked up from the local farmer’s market.

There's an excellent chance that a full supply of summer entertainment awaits in the basement or garage; many rentals come with the use of a beach umbrella, chairs, coolers, bicycles, and more. Also ask about books, blocks, and board games; discovering someone else's favorites can be a great part of the rental experience. In case you or your kids are hooked on Wi-Fi (who isn't these days?), be sure to ask if the house has it and what the code is.

You can stay in your dream location. Whether you prefer a beachfront cottage, mountain cabin or downtown apartment, chances are you can find a vacation rental that suits you perfectly.

You can save money by buying and cooking your own food. For many renters, being able to cook "at home" is the main reason to choose a vacation cottage. It's fun to shop at local grocery stores and even more fun to spend your travel money on sightseeing instead of eating out.

Feel like a local: While this might be more of a pro for international travels, it is by far one of the most favorite pros. Without all the noise of a hotel; a set of keys in your hand; and a refrigerator filled with goodies from the open-air market down the street; you can live out that fantasy of living in Paris, Rome, or wherever your wanderlust takes you. It also gives you a greater appreciation for the culture and surroundings as you’re more connected to it.

Cons of a rental vacation property.

Check-in: There’s always a little anxiety between the time your plane lands and when you actually get to the apartment. For starters, most owners/managers want you to call to let them know you’re on the way. This can sometimes lead to a language barrier/confusion on the phone depending on your destination. They can sometimes be difficult to find—even for a shuttle/cab driver. Try to get the lay of the land before you go...use google street view to print out maps and marker locations to avoid confusion.

Security deposit: Most owners/agencies require a refundable cash security deposit, which can generally range from $50-$500. Before you get swept away by the majestic photos on the rental listing, look into the nitty-gritty: How much is the security deposit, and how quickly will it be returned if there is no damage? If there is damage, how will those fees be handled? Is there a minimum? Is there a cleaning fee? Asking these questions up front will eliminate any disappointment or surprises when you vacation is over.

You'll probably need to bring or rent a car, especially if you're renting a cottage in a beach, mountain or resort area. Downtown vacation rentals may be near public transportation, but you'll need a car to get to an oceanfront cottage or mountain chalet.

Plan ahead for food: If you’re staying in a more remote destination, it’s best to hit the local grocery store or market the first day you arrive. Without the convenience of room service or an on-site restaurant, you’ll want to make sure you always have fresh water and some snacks on-hand. A tired, hungry traveler is not a happy one.