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Renting a vacation home: More room, less money

SmarterTravel

You might think that stuffing your family into one hotel room with two double beds and a rollaway is an economical, albeit uncomfortable, mode of travel. But there is an alternative: Rent a vacation home.

Besides possibly saving you money, the benefits of renting a home are pretty easy to grasp. There will be a lot more room, both inside and out. You might even have your own beach or lakefront area, depending on where you rent. If you have a large family, or want to entertain visitors, you’ll have a kitchen, dining space, and perhaps a deck or patio with a grill. You’ll save money by cooking your own meals, and can avoid the hassle of waiting for space in a restaurant.

The cost of renting a vacation home can be cheaper than getting a hotel room. While there are certainly expensive rentals with amenities like pools and multi-car garages, there may be affordable multi-bedroom homes close to the area you want to visit.

Let’s look at some examples. Compare the cost of a hotel room with a vacation rental in the lakes region of New Hampshire. The cost of a week’s stay at the Lake Winnipesaukee Super 8 Motel in Tilton, NH, for one room with two double beds is $613. In comparison, a two-bedroom home with lake access in the same area costs about $600 per week from Preferred Vacation Rentals.

Or, look at the hotel rate versus a rental rate in Colorado, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. For a week at the Silver Saddle Best Western in Estes Park during the summertime, you’ll pay $973 for one room with two double beds. In comparison, we found a listing on OnlineVacation.com for a three-bedroom home with mountain views in Allenspark, CO for $840 a week. In both cases, you’ll save on the vacation home, and have a lot more comfort.

When it comes to finding a rental, there is a plethora of options. You can always rent from an individual advertisement in a newspaper or on an online classified site, but you may be more comfortable working with a rental company that operates in the area you are interested in visiting.

A benefit of working with a rental agency is having the assurance that a third party has inspected the rental property and made sure it meets customer standards. Agencies will make checking in and out easy, and will help solve problems that might arise during your stay. Most have websites where you can browse through property listings, which are usually accompanied by photographs and detailed descriptions.

Find rental agencies online by going to a search engine like Google, and entering the name of the destination and “vacation rental.”

That said, there are plenty of classified websites listing thousands of properties around the world. Individual properties owners pay a small fee for a listing with pictures, descriptions, and contact information. The benefit of these sites is that you can quickly search by price range, location, dates of availability, number of rooms, house type, or other specification, and can compare prices more easily.

Examples of vacation rental websites to check out include VacationHomes.com, Rent101.com, and 10kVactionRentals.com.

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