My wife and I are travel nuts. We would travel for a living if we could. A few years ago while vacationing in Hawaii, we decided on staying 2 weeks rather than our usual one week spree. Somehow thinking or perhaps subconsciously wishing that there would be some economies of scale, I was more than sticker shocked when we checked out of our hotel- I was mortified.
Vacation rental homes are the answer!
A week later, while back at home I decided to seriously look at how we could maintain our lifestyle and love for travel without paying literally a small fortune for a one to two week vacation. We were contemplating a trip for our family of five to London and europe in a few years and with the currency exchange rate literally doubling the price of everything I searched for a solution.
I found the answer to my cost saving quest, vacation rental homes.
In a lot of circumstances vacationing is a time to get pampered with massages, room service, valet service etc. When I was single and later married without children yet, the pamper factor was critical to our hotel and vacation decision process. Discounting our new family structure with three offspring, a larger mortgage, and escalating costs all around, we have found that when we really want to immerse ourselves in a new culture and location, renting a vacation home can give us everything we want in a travel experience and not break the bank to have a fabulous time. This is true not only for our Hawaii trips, but now for most of our european trips as well.
Some of the vacation home rentals are pretty close to a hotel experience and still give you the feeling that you are a local and not a vacationer. We have experienced fabulous restaurants and activities that were outside of the tourist spots that we would surely have missed if we stayed at a hotel.
If you stay in the UK for example, there are many self-contained rentals for your stay, all fully supported by a service company staff. The London vacation rentals are the London apartments and houses of residents temporarily away from the city. You have the informality, warmth and convenience of a real home in a London property, at prices to suit most pockets. The city self-catering rentals were ideal for vacation or corporate rentals.
A summary of the alternatives we saw in a nutshell are as follows:
*Hotels- Perhaps a little too formal, especially for a long stay. Expensive!
*Bed and Breakfasts- Often just a cheap (and sometimes rather unpleasant) down-market hotel, you may have to lodge uncomfortably close to the owners of a private house and other guests
*Short let commercial apartments- Cold and impersonal and the minimum stay of one week – no good if you want to stay less
We found the vacation rentals to be a great choice for the following reasons:
*Our short stay central London vacation rentals were at London apartments and houses of residents temporarily away from the city
*The apartments were thoroughly screened for location and hand picked, they were places were places where we would be happy to live ourselves
*We found a location with a 3 day minimum, minimum length of stay in most of the London vacation rentals is 5 nights; all other places we saw had a 7 night minimum
*Most of our London short stay, self-contained holiday rentals are no more than 10 minutes from a tube station, often less
*Our rental had a car to meet us at the airport and took us to our London self-catering apartment, it was by far the easiest way to get into town with lots of bags
*We were met by one of our representatives who let us in and gave us tips about the local area and answer questions. Our rental came with its own mini guide covering the neighborhood shops, local transport, pubs, restaurants and cafes
*Our beds were made up and towels put out, a weekly clean and change of towels and bed linen was included as is the end of stay cleaning and laundry; additional cleaning and servicing can be arranged on request
*We were also provided a starter pack of breakfast provisions to cover the first day or two of our stay
I just elaborated on this one example we found of at a very popular travel destination- London. Although for most all of our travels to rural, third- world destination we continue to stay at the highest star rated hotels we can afford. But given all of the above benefits I just described, we found that with most metropolitan cities, culturally rich locations, and tropical vacation destinations, vacation home rentals are an economical way to really experience a culture and new city.