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Vacation Rentals vs. Hotels for a Family Vacation

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Depending on your budget, family size and preferences, renting a vacation home over a hotel room or suite for your next family vacation is entirely a personal decision. We’ve compared the facts for you in the hopes of making that decision easier when contemplating your family vacation ideas.

Family checks in to hotel.Cost and Length of Stay
Most hotels offer per night costs while a vacation rental has more flexibility with the length of stay, whether it be a few nights or a week’s stay. The longer the stay at a vacation house rental, the nightly cost could average out to be less than the average hotel night’s stay. Cost savings can also be found in a week-long vacation rental, which presumably has a kitchen and would allow guests to cook meals rather than eating at restaurants. So if your family wants to spend a week at the beach, maybe a vacation beach rental is your best option. But if a long weekend on a mountaintop is on your vacation agenda, then perhaps it’s a family hotel suite for your vacation stay.

The amount of space your family needs may be the immediate decider as to whether a vacation rental or hotel room is what you want. A multi-bedroom house with a full kitchen, multiple bathrooms and a living space (maybe even a theater room, game room or pool, too) is likely the better option for larger families or groups. Families could save money by vacationing with a large group in a rental house, which allows the cost to be split. But if you are a family of three or four who does not need an abundance of space, a hotel room or suite will suit you just fine. Many hotels offer one- or two-bedroom suites, along with kitchens, which give families plenty of room to spread out.

Location and Privacy
It’s all about location when choosing your rental or hotel. At a hotel, the beach, mountain or pool could be a few steps or elevator ride away, while a waterfront vacation rental could come with a higher price tag. But a rental house that’s removed from the local attractions may require the additional expensive of a rental car. If you rent a vacation home, however, it does offer more privacy over the crowds that could come with booking at a family hotel. If bonding and reconnecting with your family is a priority and you don’t want other tourists intruding on your family vacation, then rent a vacation home. But if you’d like your kids or teens to have the option of meeting new friends, then a hotel with plenty of other guests and new friend potential is ideal.

Convenience and Amenities
Families will have no trouble finding conveniences and amenities at either a hotel or a rental vacation home. The convenience of cooking can be cost effective for families on a budget. But being served each of your meals and not having to food shop or clean up can also be quite convenient, and it comes at a cost. Cleaning up versus hotel housekeeping is another thing to consider. If you want someone to pick up after your family so you don’t have to, then a hotel is for you. But you are on vacation, so it is OK to turn a blind eye to an unmade bed in a vacation house rental, too. A washer and dryer are usually available at rental homes at no cost, and that allows families the luxury of not having to cart home dirty clothes. On the other hand, a hotel may charge for any laundering services. Robes, toiletries, slippers, sheets and towels are often made available to hotel guests at no cost, but a vacation renter would need to bring those items along. A DVD player, movies and Wi-Fi can cost extra at a hotel, but at most vacation rentals, those amenities come standard. And let’s not forget about parking — sometimes it’s free and sometimes there is a fee or a parking meter no matter if you’re staying at a hotel or a vacation rental. However, the chances of finding free parking in a driveway or on the street are more likely in a vacation rental.

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