Is a Vacation Rental Right for You

I’m not a traveler cut out for a location independent lifestyle.  I love having a home to return to.  A place to live and enjoy.  My home is a wonderful place where I have creature comforts that allow me to live, dream, plan, and have fun.  It’s a base of operations for the various parts of my life to come together to make me. . . me!  It suits my personalities and needs, and at this point in my life, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunflowers in Tuscany

The Tuscan countryside awash in sunflowers

I’ve found that the desire to have a base of operations carries over into my travel style.  While a traditional hotel might be great for a conference or a quick stay, more and more I’m leaning toward a home approach – somewhere with a little more room, privacy, and sufficient amenities that I don’t need to go out for everything.

As I’ve been researching accommodations for my extended stay in Italy, I find myself skipping over hotels, instead looking at apartments, vacation homes, condos, and other self-contained units.

Is renting a vacation property right for you? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How many people will be staying?  If you’re traveling with family and/or friends, you’ll want more bedrooms.
  • Is there a pool or beach access?  Many European beaches and pools require an expensive access fee, so having that amenity can cut down on other beach costs.
  • Do you want to cook?  I’m the first to admit that I don’t want to cook in for all the meals while on vacation, as for me, part of the fun of vacation is discovering new foods.  But it is nice to set in some supplies for breakfast and the occasional snack.  One of the first things that I do is to stock up on some wine, cheese, bread, olives, and some other goodies – all the ingredients of a perfect picnic.
  • Do you require daily maid service?  If you need a maid to pick up your towels every day, a hotel may be a better choice.  Maid service at vacation properties may just be at the end of your stay.  Of course, at luxury villas you can arrange for a fully staffed property, with butler, chef, and daily maid service.
  • What are your privacy needs?  One of the tough parts of traveling can be constantly being on top of one another.  Sometime’s that’s great.  But sometimes it’s nice to have a little space to spread out and enjoy personal space.
  • Will you have a car?  Parking at city hotels can be both challenging and expensive.  Most vacation rentals have room for at least one vehicle, and often more.
  • Do you need nightlife?  Most rental units are away from the city, providing a little more room and a little more quiet privacy.  If you need the throbbing music beat every night, look for something in the city, keeping in mind that it will likely be smaller.
  • Do you like the beach, vineyards, mountains or countryside?  You can find vacation properties in whatever environment you prefer.
  • How long will you be staying?  Vacation rentals are perfect for extended stays.  If you’re staying for a month, you can have a different set up friends or family members visit you each week.
  • Do you need to stay in touch?  Most vacation properties have telephone, internet access, and other communication options that let you stay in touch with the rest of the world.   Maybe you can extend your time traveling by working a little from the road.
  • What’s your budget?  Rentals can be available at nearly all price points.  Calculate out the rental charge, factor in savings from other expenses, and then divide it up on a per person basis (especially if you’ll be sharing the expense with others).  Finally, factor in any intangibles, and then you’ll have an idea of the true cost of a vacation property vs. a hotel.

Vacation properties are quite common throughout Italy, so if your plans take you that way, don’t dismiss renting a Tuscany villa as expensive – it may be more cost efficient than you think,

Photo credit:  personal collection

NOTE:  This post was sponsored by Abercrombie & Kent.  The opinions expressed herein are my own.

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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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