Vacation House Rental, or Resort Hotel?

Author: Pat Trainor

Every year, our holidays involved finding an affordable hotel at a warm beach front destination. We were slightly crammed for space once the suitcases and toys got unpacked, but what the heck, we weren’t spending that much time in the hotel room. 

Then one year we decided to splurge and do a family trip to Maui. The hotels were really expensive and we started looking for alternatives. I stumbled upon a site offering vacation rentals that allowed us to find a place in our budget with more space than we ever imagined. Since then we were hooked, at least for this family, vacation rental homes were the way to go. 

There are pros and cons to choosing a vacation rental over a traditional hotel or resort and it’s definitely not for everyone. However, over 30 percent of all homes purchased in 2006 were vacation rental homes, and like it or not, these accommodations are gaining popularity.


In most cases a vacation home will give you more space, comes with a fully-furnished kitchen and laundry facilities, and is more economical than a high-end resort hotel. If the unit is part of a resort or condo complex, you may have the use of additional recreational facilities such as a swimming pool, hot tub or tennis courts. Depending on the rental, many include amenities such as beach towels, coolers, lawn chairs and boogie boards. 

You may have to forfeit maid service (or pay extra for it), room service and on-site restaurants. Sometimes you have to bring your own linens, but most places do supply them. 

The longer you stay at the rental the cheaper the rate, and often times the renter may throw in a free night or some other incentive. At our particular rental, the management offered one free night if we returned within a year. The other obvious perk is the money you save on meals by doing some of the cooking yourself. 

House rentals can be booked directly over the internet through one of the many sites specializing in vacation rentals. They also provide pictures and details of the property and most are very quick to respond to any questions. Some sites provide the phone numbers of the owners, and it may be worth contacting them directly to try and negotiate a better rate. 

There is a different feeling about staying in a rental home over a hotel. It allows you to imagine actually owning a villa on the beach in Barbados or some other luxury destination. You become intermingled with the local culture as you shop for groceries, visit neighborhood markets, or hang out at nearby cafes. 

If you’ve ever wanted to live like a millionaire, you can split the rent with a few friends and secure a luxury beach front villa that may otherwise run you millions of dollars to buy. Spend some time soaking up the sun and then go home to reality.