Hotel or vacation rental: which is right for you?
We all want to make the most of our precious vacation time. These days, the rise of property rental services such as HomeAway means that there is more choice than ever before when it comes to accommodation. Staying in a city apartment or a luxury villa can be the ideal way to make yourself at home—and it may even be cheaper too! But sometimes, nothing beats the creature comforts of a hotel, with 24-hour service, fresh linens, and a cleaning team. So is renting right for you, or will the convenience of hotel life prove too good to resist? Use our guide to find out how you'll be vacationing this year.
Do you want to live like a local?
Rental apartments can help you have a more authentic travelling experience, with the chance to live among locals and get a taste of their way of life. But it's vital to do your homework. Where is that chic apartment or lavish villa actually situated? An industrial suburb may not be what you had in mind! Google maps may help, as will reviews by previous visitors.
A hotel is likely to be in a good location for tourists, but the more central you get, the more expensive it could be! Research the area so you get to know the best shops, restaurants and things to do in your chosen neighbourhood. Look for tours offered by locals—and learning some of the language will get you a long way!
Is your itinerary crammed with activities?
After a long, exhausting day on your feet, you may find a hotel the ideal place to put up your feet and relax. A well-reviewed restaurant, spa or even a concierge service... they provide that extra touch of luxury you might be craving after a full-on sightseeing trip. Look for spacious rooms with king-sized beds for added comfort and check whether you have to pay extra to use any of the facilities.
On a budget?
Cutting costs often means staying in lower-star hotels, but you could get much better value for money in the rental market. Always use reputable sites and scan the reviews carefully. Look out for extra fees and taxes, and if in doubt, ask for a full breakdown of costs.
A crucial way to ensure that you don't find yourself laden with extra costs on your vacation is by organizing insurance before you go. Europ Assistance has teamed up with HomeAway to offer trip insurance especially for renting a holiday home, as well as other types of travel insurance.
Are you travelling with friends, children or pets?
Renting will definitely give you more space, privacy and flexibility. But don't economise too much; make sure the place is big enough to comfortably fit you all. A spacious garden or balcony will be crucial for avoiding cabin fever, particularly if the weather is very hot.
Want to get away from it all?
Sometimes you just want to treat yourself and book the nicest hotel you can find. An apartment may feel too much like a home from home if you want to have a total break, with no responsibilities such as cooking and cleaning to worry about. It may be worth paying extra (if you can) for a late check-out so you can sleep in!