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Hotels vs. Condos/Rental Homes: 4 Things to Consider

One of the first decisions made when planning a vacation is where to stay. As long as your family or group knows they have a place to keep their luggage, shower, and sleep at the end of the day – in other words, a sense of security – daily activities are easier to schedule. In fact, some people only make room reservations and decide what to do after they get to their destination.

While hotels are common choices for most travelers, rental homes and condos are quite popular as well. And, contrary to popular belief, condos and rental homes are not just for high-class people.  There are pros and cons of both, of course, but it’s largely based on the unique circumstances of each traveling group. Here are some factors that might help with making such a decision:

1. Points/Rewards/Cost

Some travelers will pick hotels based on rewards programs they are part of, such as Choice Hotels. They might even have free hotel stays to use on their trip, or get cash-back or points if they stay at certain chains or locations. Furthermore, it might also be a matter of preference or tradition. People who travel to the same location every year or so sometimes like to stay in a certain hotel while others are loyal to particular chains.

Just because you’re staying in a condo or rental home doesn’t mean you can’t find deals, however. Many of these lodging options offer package deals or other incentives based on the time of year, length of stay, or other variables.

2. Size of Party

Sure, big groups can stay at hotels, but that requires renting multiple rooms. Apart from being expensive, this divides everyone up and can stifle communication and bonding during the trip. If a family or group wants to play board games or watch a movie together, it probably wouldn’t be comfortable to have everyone cram into a small hotel room.

On the other hand, a condo or rental home allows everyone to share the same, comfortable living space. Privacy in rooms is still guaranteed, but dens, porches, and kitchens are shared and thus provide a space for everyone to mingle. In addition, people in rental homes (and sometimes even condos) usually don’t have to worry about obnoxious neighbors.

3. Length of Trip

Some hotels offer deals for staying a consecutive number of nights at one location – usually this number is 3, sometimes less, sometimes more. Hotels are also great if you plan on bouncing around to different areas during your trip and thus need the temporary setting.

If you are staying for an extended period of time in one spot, a condo or rental property might be more comfortable. For one, you can unpack all your things and don’t have to worry about stuffing everything back into your suitcase the next morning. Some locations have laundry facilities so you don’t have to worry about that (and doing your own laundry is a lot cheaper than paying a hotel to do it).

4. Meal Choices

This relates to the length of a trip, but it’s important enough to have its own category. If your party doesn’t want to eat at restaurants every night, prefers making their own meals, or likes having a standard kitchen where they stay, a condo or rental home might be the better choice. This also can save money; if you’re staying in one spot for a while, it’s cheaper to buy groceries and cook your own meals than pay for food at restaurants. Cooking your own meals also encourages healthy eating, as it’s easy to order not-so-healthy items when dining out.

Although some hotels do have continental breakfast, many do not, have limited choices, or charge extra for the service. For the hotels that have bars, restaurants, or even food stands inside, the prices often are quite high.

Conclusion

Although the topics discussed are not the only characteristics considered when making a lodging choice, they provide a great starting point. It’s important to get a great deal, but also to sleep in a place you know is clean, safe, and worthwhile. For a final tidbit, just like you can search for hotels based on specific preferences, you can do the same with rental homes and condos. Here is one example of such a search engine.

This post provided by a contributor to Seaside Vacations, a provider of North Myrtle Beach vacation homes and condo rentals.

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