As I look back at vacations in the past, I now find it hard to believe that year after year, my vacations were spent with my three daughters in a 12 x 20 room. The five of us would share two queen beds. The kids would argue, not only about what bed they would sleep in, but in what order they would lie in the bed. The best places, were, of course, the sides of the bed. The worst was the middle. Usually the youngest got the middle. On day one of the vacation, they didn't know what they were signing up for by sleeping in the middle. But, by morning, the baby of the group made it well known that they weren't going to be sleeping in that spot the next night of the vacation! So every night became a battle of who was going to get the middle. Then there was the television set. Smack in the middle of the 12 x 20 room was the bone of contention! There were arguments over who was going to watch what. My husband and I wanted to watch CNN to catch up on all the news of the day, the little one wanted to watch Barney and the older girls wanted to watch their shows. Some nights on our vacation, we would solve the arguing by just turning the set off. No one got to watch anything!
Shower time! One bathroom for five people! It was beginning to sound a lot like home . . . far from a vacation. They would find things to argue about with the bathroom, such as who used up all of the towels , who used up the little samples of shampoo and conditioner, and of course, who forgot to flush the toilet. Yes, as I think back about our vacations in the "room," it was clear to me that our camping trips in a 8 x 8 tent were far more fun! We would listen to the night noises, see shadows on the tent, get cozy with each other just to keep warm. I am not sure if the Hilton's, or the Ramada's or the Motel Six's were responsible, but someone put the idea in our heads that fun vacations began and ended in the hotel room. Not.
I had came up to the St. Louis area to be close to one of my four daughters in 2005. In 2007, I had to make a choice about selling my Florida home or keeping it. I really didn't want to sell. I love Florida! But times were getting tough and the housing market was getting even tougher--especially in Florida! My youngest was in high school and didn't want to move back until she graduated. I had tried to rent by the year and it ended up to be a big disaster. I still don't know exactly where the idea came from, but it came! "Rent the home as a vacation rental." It surely couldn't hurt to try. I am now going into my second year renting my Daytona Beach area home as a vacation rental and I can truly say that from this experience renting to others, my hotel days are over. I will use the hotel stay for those one night stays during traveling. I have learned a lot from renting my own home to others. I now know that when I want to go back to Reno someday, I will look on popular vacation home rental web sites to find my perfect vacation home rental. The sites are endless and of excellent quality. Somewhere in the pages of available home rentals, you will find the perfect home away from home for you and your family. I am convinced that this is vacationing at its finest. Although, there are many reasons why, let me share some of the most important reasons why vacationing in someone's rental home might be one of the smartest moves you will ever make--at least when it comes to a vacation!
1. SPACE: Imagine this: Your family of five staying in the 12 x 20 room vs staying in a 1600 square foot home. Everyone has their own room, AND their own television set. If you decide you want to make a birthday cake, you can! If you decide you want to play the piano in the parlor, you can! The "can's" are endless in a home setting. You are very limited in a hotel room.
2. MEALS: The price of food has gone up dramatically, but not nearly as dramatic as the prices charged for prepared meals. A family of five having dinner at Red Lobster may run over $100.00 We have found that it doesn't matter if you share a meal. Somehow, it still seems to total over $100.00 You can cut a great deal of your vacation budget by eating meals right at the vacation home rental. It doesn't always have to include slaving over a stove either. Bagels for breakfast, sandwiches at the beach, fast dinners in the evening would save a family a lot on your their food budget. Decide on a few nice restaurants and treat your family to one or two nice restaurant meals. This is perhaps the most cost effective part of renting a vacation home rental. In our frantic world, think of the bonding that could take place while sharing a meal together on a pool deck in Florida.
3. SAFETY: Somehow, there is a feeling of safety when you stay in an established neighborhood. My vacation rental is located in a cul-de-sac. It is quiet. The only people who come into the cul-de-sac are those that live there. For those that have children, it is safe to let the kids ride their bikes or take walks around the cul-de-sac. You can keep your eye on them.
4. UNIQUE FEATURES: Every homeowner that rents their home as a vacation rental has built into their home something I call "unique features." For instance, I feel that my unique feature is the fish pond I built with my own two hands. It was hard work. It is not a model fish pond but one, nonetheless, which is home to goldfish and one which will bring delight to the young and old alike. Some homes may have a jukebox, some an in ground pool with special lazer lights . . . you never know what the uniqueness will be until you book because owners of vacation rentals can't disclose every quality about their home in an ad.
5. OVERALL COST: Although you may think that a room for $89 sounds like a steal of a deal, remember the space, the eating out savings, the safety and the unique features when you decide: hotel room or vacation home rental. The choice is yours.