We used to automatically stay at a hotel when traveling, but now that our family has grown, we enjoy the convenience of a vacation rental property instead. Having the benefits of a home with fully-equipped kitchens, living rooms and multiple bedrooms to accommodate everyone, even two cribs, allows us to truly relax while on vacation. Having the extra space, privacy and often times the greater savings as a result is wonderful. Best of all, you get to experience a destination like a local!
More than a Room
Sometimes a hotel room just isn’t enough! In most cases a vacation rental can provide twice the space at half the cost of a hotel room. While Airbnb is a popular alternative service to booking a traditional hotel room, it’s not your only option.
Finding a service to book our vacation rental had me nervous, as I didn’t want to rely on an app. I also didn’t want to stay in someone else’s home that might not be family-friendly for my boys. I was new to this process, and I wanted a little more guidance along the way
Fortunately, I found some other vacation rental companies that provide additional services like a concierge as well.
For a recent summer getaway, we used Natural Retreats for the first time to book a two bedroom, two bath beach cottage in Tybee Island, Georgia. We had the upstairs unit with our own entrance and porch. Besides using Natural Retreats for booking great coastal lodgings, they also have a selection of stunning mountain and wilderness locations around the world from Colorado to Scotland.
What sets Natural Retreats apart from other property management companies is their “Xplore Team.” It serves as in-house travel expert to create ideal itineraries for guests, just like a hotel concierge would.
“Not only do they assist our guests in choosing the best accommodations for their group, they arrange activities, tours, make reservations, find reliable babysitters, and much more,” says Matt Spence, CEO of Natural Retreats “Our Xplore Team offers a personal touch and human voice. No request is too big or small. They are here to serve you.”
In fact, Liz from the Natural Retreats Xplore Team once arranged to have a bounce house delivered to a home for guests, who had originally booked a bouncy house on their own. At the last minute the company they booked through canceled. They then called Liz for help and she was able to schedule a new inflatable for that same day for the kids.
Also, I was told about another time when a groom forgot shoes for his wedding and called the Xplore Team. They were able to find a new pair and have them delivered. Wedding disaster averted!
In hindsight, I wish I had known about bounce house rental (lol) and the extent of their help. However, they did provide us with great restaurant recommendations in the area and even planned a sunset kayaking tour for us. We were also greeted at the rental home by the on-site retreat manager and a welcome basket that included Southern pralines, green tea and even a jar of farm-fresh local honey. Being a tea fanatic, I was stoked! We would definitely recommend Natural Retreats to our friends, and I’m sure we’ll use them again soon!
HomeAway Vacation Rentals
Another hotel alternative to use is HomeAway, one of the biggest names in online vacation rentals with more than 1 million homes around the world. I’m currently coveting a few of their listings in Block Island, Rhode Island, next year for my family.
Unlike some competitors, HomeAway travelers have access to the whole house – not just a rented room, apartment or half of a condo – so there is space for the entire group to come together. Also, renting a vacation rental through HomeAway provides benefits that some other accommodation options don’t, such as full kitchens, privacy, and separate rooms.
“A majority of HomeAway’s inventory is secondary properties instead of primary homes,” says Jon Gray, HomeAway’s Chief Revenue Officer. “These vacation homes are conditioned to welcome guests; you won’t find someone else’s belongings in the drawers or groceries in the fridge.”
Like Airbnb, HomeAway has an app to view listings as well. There are no hidden fees when booking on HomeAway’s site.
I haven’t had a chance to stay at a HomeAway rental yet, but you can read more about HomeAway here on Family Fun Traveling Mom’s post also, love these TMOM tips regarding using a rental agent when renting a beach house.