It is easy and comfortable to go straight to expedia.com and search for hotel deals for your upcoming family or business trip. Hotels offer modern convenience and comforts of home, often within a short distance from your point of interest. Forget your toothbrush– visit the front desk. Dinner reservations — visit the concierge. But next time you start your search for lodging, rather than clicking on the typical hotel, consider booking a home, cabin, apartment or condo.
Why? I find these options to be cost effective, offer more creature comforts, and a greater cultural experience.
While occupancy taxes and cleaning fees are typically added to either type of lodging, savings add up when you reduce tipping for valet, bellman and housekeeping. Most residential rentals also include free parking.
More compelling than cost effectiveness for me, I appreciate the extra space – including a kitchen that most rentals include. I can prepare my morning coffee in a real coffee pot and enjoy an evening snack on a real plate, rather than sipping weak coffee and eating food from a mini fridge on a paper plate.
Most compelling is the exciting new experience you can embark on. Renting someone’s house means that for a few days you get to live in a log cabin or yert or a skyscraper. For a few days, the possibilities are endless, and you can live vicariously through and experience life in a new way. Enjoy your trip more like a local – less like a tourist.\
A couple of quick tips on navigating this process and these sites:
- Consider downloading the Homeaway and airbnb apps – they are easy to navigate and are free.
- Homeaway.com has a family of search engines and can find lodging across the globe.
- Negotiate. Contact the owner and make an offer. Aim for a property at the top of your price range and negotiate tax, cleaning and parking to be included in the rate so that you get the best property for your money.
- If you are booking a family vacation, search on homeaway or vrbo. Many of these properties also allow pets (so bring your pet and save on boarding cost!).
- If you are booking a romantic getaway, consider airbnb. Most of the listings I have found are meant for two adults. Consider booking an awesome yert or airstream!