Vacation rentals or hotels, that is the question. When choosing the most suitable accommodation for your trip, there are a few factors that come into play. For example, how much are you willing to spend for a night? After all, the money that doesn’t go into accommodation, goes into meals or shopping. To help you deal with this struggle, we have compiled a checklist to guide your choice in deciding the perfect accommodation for your trip. Undecided between vacation rentals or hotels? Read on to find out more about which to pick when you are planning your perfect holiday trip.
1. Budget – high or low
If your budget is not as flexible, vacation rentals are the way to go. The biggest perk is that instead of getting a room all to yourself, you get an entire house! This often comes complete with a living room, a bedroom and a kitchen. It will be like you never left home, except maybe a little bit nicer and more exciting.
2. Location – city or suburb
On the other hand, there are also numerous vacation rentals hailed for their location right in the middle of the city. Some examples include townhouses or apartment complexes. While hotels tend to be centrally-located, vacation rentals tend to be scattered all around. Due to the relatively cheaper prices, vacation rentals found in prime locations tend to be snatched up in a jiffy, so do note their vacancy rates and try to book in advance if you are interested.
However, if you fail to book a vacation rental in the city, there are many alternative options. While some of these vacation rentals might be quite a distance from shopping malls or grocery stores, they offer beautiful, scenic spots in exchange. If you are used to the bustling city lights, it might be a good change to just sit back and enjoy the natural lights in the sky when you’re on vacation.
3. Duration - long or short stay
In comparison, the rates for vacation rentals are more flexible: be it nightly, weekly or monthly. Most vacation rentals, such as Airbnb hosts, provide discounts for guests who stay for a week or a month. For certain vacation rentals, there is also a minimum requirement of days you would need to stay to be able to book the place. So, even if you wanted to stay at a vacation home for a short period of time, it might not be possible to do so.
Nevertheless, if you decide to stay at a place for more than a week, the cost per night at a vacation home can turn out to be cheaper than at a hotel. Staying at vacation rentals for a long period of time also gives you the chance to be familiar with the neighbourhood and the town and discover local sights that travellers staying in a hotel might have missed out on.
4. Company – friends or family
If you are on a trip with just one or two of your best friends, a hotel could be a better choice. It’s cozy, and air-conditioned. Plus, you don’t even have to make your own bed! A hotel room will make for a wonderful place to rest after a tiring day of exploration.
However, if you are on a trip with a big family, a private vacation rental makes for a more appropriate choice. It is more spacious and provides guests a sense of closeness with their families and a chance to bond even more over a home-cooked meal!
Furthermore, vacation rentals tend to be the better choice if you have kids travelling with you. While there are kid-friendly hotels, vacation rentals are homes, places where your kids have the space to roam around instead of being cooped up in a single room. With multiple rooms, parents also have the opportunity to chat with each other while their kids can sleep in another room and have an impromptu sleepover. While most hotel rooms generally have standard designs, the advantage of choosing a vacation rental is that guests are able to pick the type of vacation home most suited for their kids. Some vacation rentals even come with cribs, toys and video game consoles that hosts generously allow guests to use.
5. Meals – eating in or dining out
However, if you are looking to save costs, maybe a home-cooked meal might be a better option. Most vacation rentals include a kitchen stocked with utensils and cookware, ideal for you to display or practice your cooking skills. Meal choices are also not restricted to what is available nearby. Instead, it is limited to what you can get at the grocery store! The downside though, is that you would have to do the dishes and clean up after your meal. Oh well, this will make for another great chance to bond with your travelling companions though.
6. Amenities – What is a 'must have' ?
Most hotels provide Internet connection, toiletries, slippers, towels and daily-cleaned sheets as part of the standard hotel service. For additional services such as laundry services, hotels tend to charge extra. If you are not careful, even the drinks in your mini fridge could cost a few bucks. Always remember to read the fine print if you stay at a hotel! Some amenities are also shared, such as the lounge and pool area.
Alternatively, as vacation rentals are usually privately-owned homes, they are equipped with a washing machine, a dryer, a television, Internet connectivity and regular, household items. Some vacation rentals even have their own private pool or garden, so be sure to check the pictures listed! The drawback, however, is that you have to make your own bed and clean the house yourself.
7. Safety - which is more secure?
When booking a vacation rental, do take note of the type of neighbourhood or the host if you are planning to stay with them. As it is a private home, there won’t be a 24 hour reception to assist you if anything unexpected happens. Be sure to take necessary precautions while travelling, such as checking the nearby area or the background of your hosts before booking an accommodation. Also take into account places where you can get help and emergency contact numbers as a precaution and you will be fine.
Travelling to a new and unfamiliar destination can be both exciting and intimidating. Safety should always come first, particularly in the place where you spend your nights at. It is always good to be wary and stay alert in order to have an enjoyable trip.
8. Purpose - business or leisure
Alternatively, if you are quite the adventurer and always up for exploring the unknown and getting a taste of how the locals live, vacation rentals are more suitable for the trip. Staying in a private home or apartment enables you to experience life as a local, and not as a tourist. Away from usual tourist activities and areas, you can stop at a local grocery store and think about what to cook for your meal. You can also visit places less known and travelled by tourists. You will also be given the chance to get to know your next door neighbour, and make some new friends in a different country.
Another thing to take into account is if you are embarking on a solo trip or a family trip. Economically speaking, hotels are designed for small groups of people while vacation rentals are more appropriate for large groups of people. If you are flying solo, hotels are a safer as well as a more practical option. You wouldn’t need that much space a vacation rental has to offer for yourself anyway. Instead, vacation rentals are perfect for family trips. On top of the spacious living area and multiple rooms, vacation homes offer families privacy. As big families are bound to get noisy, they won’t have to worry about the noise level as compared to staying in a hotel room.
So, vacation rentals or hotels?Both vacation rentals and hotels have their advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the day, it is all about your priorities and what you are willing (and not willing) to give up. If you have a flexible budget and are looking for a place to spend a few nights, a hotel could be a better choice. If you are looking for something more cost-effective and travelling with a big group of people, vacation rentals might be a more ideal solution. You should also consider the purpose of your trip and the surrounding neighbourhood to ensure that your trip will be a safe and enjoyable one. While these few points serve as a guide, the final decision ultimately rests in your hands!
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.