With websites that offer house swapping and home vacation rentals being all the rage right now, it begs the question: on your next family trip, should you stay in a hotel or a rental property?
Pros of Staying in a Hotel
1. Noise. It’s something hotels can’t control, but if you get a room with noisy guests around you, you have to suck it up, or re-pack and move to a new room. Which with kids, is not fun.
2. Valet parking. This is one of the new hidden cost of staying in hotels, and it can be a high one. I won’t name names, but there’s a hotel in Chicago that charges $68 a day for valet parking. And I bet that’s not even the most expensive one out there.
3. Space (or lack thereof). You probably will have to share a room with your kids.
Pros of Rentals
1. Privacy. There’s just something about having your own little place. The kids get excited to see who gets which bedroom, there’s a kitchen (which saves money), and you can make noise at any hour and not feel like you’re being rude to the people in the room next door.
2. Space. You usually get more square footage for your money. And when it comes to family travel, harmony increases with space. You can often get a few bedrooms and bathrooms for the same price as a hotel room.
3. A homey feel. This is a big bonus if you’re a family who prefers to stay in at night, or are traveling in a place with inconsistent weather. Hotel rooms can feel very generic and confined. You feel cozier in an actual home. The “Firefly” cottage at Crystal Mountain Resort in northern Michigan had a gas fireplace, leather furniture and an open floor plan with the living room and kitchen. We stayed in at night and played board games, read by the fire, and made ourselves dessert in the kitchen. Couldn’t do that in a hotel room.
1. What you see online can be deceiving. The photos look fantastic, the description sounds perfect and the online reviews gushed. But then you get there, and … wow, it sure is a lot smaller and run-down in person. And did they forget to mention that it’s in a dicey neighborhood? Or that it’s miles from town? It’s always a little bit of a gamble.