I’ve long been a fan of staying in vacation rentals, especially when all six of us travel together. Even when it’s just me and a couple of my kids, I’ve opted for rentals for the convenience and extra space. We’ve stayed in vacation rentals in Orlando, Montreal, Prague and Puerto Rico.
Most recently, the kids and I stayed in a two-bedroom bayside condo in Galveston, Texas that we booked through FlipKey. The condo was absolutely delightful and we were so happy to settle in after a long drive in from New Orleans back in June. A short walk to the beach, the condo is toward the end of Galveston in a quiet area with few hotels. So relaxing.
The condo has a well-stocked kitchen, which made it easy for the kids to get breakfast on their own each morning (I picked up cereal and donuts at a nearby Walmart) and for me to prepare a fairly basic dinner, like tacos, each evening. The condo is part of the Pointe West Resort and Beach Club, so we even had access to a large kiddie pool, a fitness center and a BBQ area. Nice.
The owners of the condo were fantastic and made sure we had everything we needed. Plus, it was easy to get into the condo using a security keypad after our drive. Another great experience with vacation rentals. But, enough about me. If you’re planning a family getaway, take a look at my list of eight times I think it’s better to opt for a vacation rental over a hotel. Let me know what you think.
1. You’re Traveling in a Large Group. Last November, we traveled to Orlando to spend the week visiting the theme parks. There were 10 of us so it made sense to book a six-bedroom vacation rental through a rental site like FlipKey. For this, we paid maybe $2,100 for the week, which included a daily fee to heat the outdoor pool. We would have spent far more at a hotel since we would have needed at least three rooms.
2. You Don’t Want to Eat Out Every Single Day. It’s fun to eat out at restaurants and then after a few days all you want to do is not eat out at restaurants. With four kids, it’s great to be able to cook meals our own meals once in a while. Waiting to be seated, then waiting to order, then waiting for the food to arrive can be a real test of patience with kids.
3. You’re Traveling with Small Children. Several years ago, when I had just three children (ages 1, 3 and 5), we spent a week on-property at Walt Disney World. We had a room with two queen-size beds and a crib, so needless to say, with five people, we were tight on space. Worse, it was lights out at 8 pm, for everyone, including my husband and I since we were all packed into one room.
4. You Want to Go Swimming. Sure, you can go swimming at any hotel with a pool, but what I love about vacation rentals that have pools is that the pool is right there. Like steps away. There’s no schlepping down to the hotel pool only to realize that you need to go all the way back to the room for sunscreen, towels, goggles, you name it. Ugh….
5. You Have Kids Who Change Clothes Three Times a Day. I don’t know how my kids go through all of the clothes they packed for a week-long vacation in two days, but they do. For this reason, I love vacation rentals and have booked them several times with FlipKey. It’s not that I want to wash clothes while on vacation, but it sure is nice to have the option when my kids have run out of clean shirts (again).
6. You Need Your Own Space. I’ll admit it, I do like my own space. I like to watch my own TV shows and sit on my section of the couch to read a book. After a long, fun day with the kids, I like to relax and not be with the kids, if only for a few minutes. Vacation rentals can give you a lot of space, both inside and outside, so in the evenings the kids can do their thing and I can do mine.
7. You Like Doors. I love to vacation as a family, but let’s be honest, there is such a thing as a little too much togetherness. For this reason, I like doors and I like to close doors. In a vacation rental, I love that my kids can go to bed and shut their doors to get some sleep. I like that I can shut my door, an hour or two later, and also get some sleep. We aren’t all on top of each other throughout the vacation.
8. You Want to Save Money on Your Vacation. In many big cities, and especially in Europe, it can be more economical to book a vacation rental. You’ll find smaller, more expensive rooms, and you’ll wonder why you paid so much to be within three feet of each other the entire time. As you consider your options and want to save more than a few dollars, look into vacation rentals as you research your accommodations.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of FlipKey during my stay in Galveston. However, I was not compensated for this article and all opinions expressed here are my own.