When planning your next trip, whether a solo or family trip, you will need to consider where you want to stay for your accommodations. Some travelers swear by hostels and claim they are a great way to meet strangers and make friends. While this is true in some cases, hostels don’t make great experiences for family or friends who would prefer to have their own space.
To that end, there are two accommodation options that most travelers consider: vacation homes and hotels. Learn about the differences between these two accommodation options to see if one is better than the other for your travel needs.
Table of Contents
What is a Vacation Rental?
For those unfamiliar with the term, a vacation rental is a home, apartment, condo, or similar dwelling that is owned by an individual. That individual then rents out their home to travelers on a short-term basis to be used as their dwelling during the course of the trip. With the vacation rental industry having an estimated 5% annual compound growth rate through 2030 and a current market size of over $74 billion, vacation rentals are an established accommodation option to consider.
Sites such as Airbnb popularized vacation rentals, but there are a number of different ways to find potential options in your vacation destination. Travel sites such as Kayak also list vacation rentals online, which helps as you can read the various reviews people have left for the host of the dwelling.
Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels: What’s the Main Difference?
The major difference between vacation rentals and hotels is that, with a hotel, you only have access to a single room. With a vacation rental, in most cases, you get access to the entire dwelling which includes the backyard, if applicable, kitchen, living room, family room, and more. Nightly prices for vacation rentals can range from $80-$400, depending on the size of the dwelling you are considering renting.
In contrast, hotels charge an average nightly rate of $125, which has steadily been on the rise for a number of years. Another key difference between vacation rentals and hotels is that there is no cleanup service associated with vacation rentals like there is with a hotel. All guests are responsible for cleaning the majority of their mess up or they may be charged with a cleaning fee.
Benefits of a Vacation Rental
There are a number of key benefits to choosing vacation rentals over hotels, with the most notable benefits including:
- More space means larger families don’t need to spend money on multiple hotel rooms
- The ability to stay directly in the heart of wherever you are traveling to
- Easy check-in process
- The ability to view credible reviews for the vacation rental you are considering
Drawbacks of a Vacation Rental
However, there are a few downsides to vacation rentals as well that may make hotels the more viable option for your trip:
- Some travel destinations may not have a large selection of vacation rentals
- Vacation rentals can have hidden fees that aren’t listed
- Certain neighborhoods may have quiet hours which means younger travelers need to keep it down
Which Accommodation Type is Best for My Trip?
With both accommodation options in mind, any traveler would be left wondering which is right for them. The truth is, it depends on the trip you are taking. For example, there are a number of accommodations in Pigeon Forge for a relaxing getaway, but there aren’t as many vacation rentals. However, cities like Miami are far more likely to have vacation rentals in addition to hotels.
In addition to taking the location into account, all families should consider just how much space they need on their trip. Having a kitchen handy can help you to save money by taking away the need to order out food for every meal. However, you may be willing to splurge on food based on your budget. The choice of accommodation is personal preference, but vacation rentals offer a great secondary choice to the age-old hotel option.
The Bottom Line
For some people, staying in a hotel may be more convenient if that hotel is right on-site to the location they are visiting, such as those taking a trip to Disneyland. However, for other popular travel destinations, specifically in cities, vacation rentals can be an excellent choice that allow you to stay right in a neighborhood of that city while saving money on hotel fees. Figure out what your travel destination is and then see if any accredited and highly rated vacation rentals are in the area.