What’s best when on vacation: staying in a rental or a hotel?

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What’s best when on vacation: staying in a rental or a hotel?
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Wavering between a rental or a hotel for your next vacation? Here are some ups and downs of each to help you figure out what’s best for your budget and tastes.

When you’re ready to book your accommodations, it can be hard to decide between a rental or a hotel. Comparing a condo, vacation house, cottage and hotel room is like comparing apples with oranges, isn’t it? But when you pare it all down and factor everything in, it all depends on your meal budget and the kind of services you want to have access to.

1. Which has the most amenities?

At first glance, a rental offers the same advantages as a hotel. Most cottages are fully equipped with bed linens, towels and cable TV; they can truly be ready-to-enjoy accommodations that still feel homey and personalized. But if you want a pool, freshly laundered towels every day, and a vacuumed carpet after your late night munchies in the bedroom, you’ll be happier in the full-service setting of a hotel. Either way, you can pretty much walk in and feel right at home.

2. Is one more comfortable than the other?

A rental offers the possibility of several bedrooms, a private bathroom, and separate living spaces. A hotel room, on the other hand, usually offers more luxury and comfort in terms of value for price. But then again, luxury is no longer exclusive to grand hotels. You can find a rental that has a spa tub or a private beach or a fireplace in the living room. You may not have the means to buy the vacation home of a millionaire, but you’ll have no trouble finding a temporary dream house.

3. Which is less expensive?

Is a rental or a hotel more costly? If you enjoy preparing your own meals with groceries bought from the local shops, you’ll have fun cozying up at meal times in a rental cottage or city apartment. However, if being on vacation is synonymous with rich dining experiences and leisurely restaurant meals whose dishes you won’t have to deal with, then a hotel stay is best. You may pay a bit more per night, but if you decide that your time is worth good money, you won’t mind the compromise.

4. Which is more private?

Rental cottages and urban studios are often situated well away from noisy hotel districts. That has value if you like blending in and walking where the locals walk. In peak season, rentals are great for group travellers, families with children, or people who travel with their pets. On the other hand, staying in a hotel is stimulating and all the main activities are probably just a stone’s throw away.

Yes, but what about short stays?

If you’ll only be staying for a couple or three nights, what’s best: a rental or hotel? The answer is iffy if you won’t be staying for a full week. In fact, not many agencies have rentals for short stays. If you’re planning to go away just for a weekend, a hotel may be your best bet. That’s especially true if your plans might change, because it’s much easier to cancel your stay at a hotel than it is to cancel a rental contract. Some urban rental apartments can be booked for shorter stays, so it’s still worth doing a bit of research. But keep in mind that if you’re on a tight schedule, you may actually enjoy splurging for a few restaurant meals.


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