There has always been a big debate about whether it’s best to rent a vacation apartment or stay in a hotel when traveling. There are passionate and staunch supporters on both sides of the debate and I actually like and will use both options, depending on the circumstance.
Being a travel consultant, or at least a good one, involves trying to advise clients which option makes the most sense for their particular situation.
This Travel Tip Tuesday, I’ll try to explain who I feel might benefit from both and throw in a dash of travel advice for what to consider when deciding which option may be right for you.
Hotels may be a better fit for:
- Travelers who are only staying a short time. Many vacation apartments have a minimum rental of a week or only make financial sense for long-term.
- Solo Travelers. Footing the bill alone for an apartment rental can be prohibitive.
- Those who need the security of 24-hour service, a concierge to answer questions, or a point person right on the premises.
- Busy travelers who prefer to be touring all day and night and only use the room primarily for showering and sleeping.
- Those who don’t want to worry about little details like cleaning fees, if sheets are provided or sending a key through the mail, etc.
- Budget Travelers. Generally you’ll find more selection of budget hotels than budget apartments.
- Those that don’t want to cook on vacation and enjoy eating out every night.
- Those who may get a bit weirded-out from staying in what may be someone elses home.
Vacation apartments may be a better fit for:
- Families or those traveling in a group. It’s a great way to get the space you need and can be very cost-effective.
- Long-term travelers planning to spend a week or more in the location.
- Those who plan to spend lots of time in the space and wish to have all the comforts of home.
- Travelers who prefer to immerse themselves in the culture by living like locals and among neighbors.
- Foodies who like to cook and want to prepare meals in. This can also save money on eating out.
- Folks that know people in the area they are traveling to and want to entertain or have a party.
- Independent travelers that don’t need assistance and are comfortable going it alone with no help .
- Those who want the convenience of doing laundry easily on their trip.
And a few things to consider if choosing to rent a vacation apartment:
- Chose carefully, especially if the owners are not on site. I feel it’s important to have contact information and someone nearby should something go wrong. Dealing with a clogged toilet for your entire week’s stay isn’t my idea of fun.
- Use a reputable site that has reviews like Vacation Rentals By Owners (VRBO) or HomeAway. Be wary of sites like Craig’s List.
- Make sure you do the math. You may in fact be able to get a great deal on an short-term apartment, even as a single or couple. Alternatively, you can spend a fortune and 3-4 times more than what a hotel would cost.
- Check out the location. Ask a local about the area. Or a travel consultant.
- Check the fine print and what is included. You don’t want to get hit with a surprise cleaning fee or utility bill.
- Be honest with yourself about whether you will actually shop and cook for yourself or if you’ll be too tired from touring and would rather just enjoy meals out and relax rather than working on your vacation. Many start out being very ambitious, but end up eating out every night and never using the kitchen, which may blow your budget and defeat the purpose of the apartment in the first place.
Do you prefer vacation apartments or hotels? Share any tips, pros or cons that I missed in the comments.
Don’t forget to visit Cherrye for more travel tips.
- Need help finding a vacation apartment rental for your trip to France or Italy? Click here to see how I can help!