Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Day 21 - The joys of vacation rentals

Before I go on to the next vacation, I wanted to wax eloquent about the joys of vacation rentals. Previously, I'd been to hotels, resorts, plantation stays, bed-and-breakfasts and the like. But only after coming here did I experience vacation rentals, booked through airbnb, vrbo and such sites.

As opposed to a hotel where you rent a room/rooms, when you book a vacation rental through for instance airbnb, you're booking an entire house, along with everything that comes with a regular house (furniture, linen, kitchen utensils and essentials, electronics, etc). (Of course, airbnb also has options of renting a room in someone's house, etc., but I am not going into that now.)

It doesn't necessarily work too well for a couple, or a single family, but when you go in a group, with a bunch of families, then there's nothing like it.

I'll do a quick, informal comparison of a vacation rental with a regular hotel room.

1) The cost - Generally speaking, a vacation rental turns out to be less expensive. Even if you include the cleaning cost that is a part of the total cost of a vacation rental, it is less expensive (all other considerations remaining constant) for three families to book one vacation rental for three days than for three families to book three hotel rooms for three days.

2) The location - One of the biggest advantages of a vacation rental, especially in places of natural beauty is that you can get to live in the heart of nature, or in the natural surrounding of the place.

3) Hanging out together - In hotels, all the families have to book separate rooms, and then meet in each others' rooms if need be. You have to go out for meals, or at least to the dining room of the hotel/resort. But in a vacation rental, you are renting the whole house, and so each family has a room of their own, and you meet and hang out in the common living spaces, the kitchen, etc.

And it is really fun to hang out late into the night, or wake up in the morning and sit in the balcony having communal cups of tea.

4) Food - The obvious disadvantage of a vacation rental is that you have to make arrangements for your own meals. It is not such a big problem if the rental is close to stores/restaurants, but it is a problem if you're away in a secluded spot (Refer to point 2) away from civilization. But there are a lot of ways you can arrange for food if you plan ahead. In our vacations, we've carried store-bought frozen food that we've heated and eaten, we've taken home-made frozen food that we've supplemented with fruits/salads, we've ordered take-out, and we've even carried rice/lentils/spices and prepared food there at the rental. The arrangements we made depended on the kind of vacation, the location, the people we went with, and a host of other things.

I was very sure that whatever I do, I wouldn't cook on a holiday and I was strictly against carrying essentials and cooking at the rental. But in the previous vacation that I just finished documenting, we had to do that, and I realized it wasn't a bad thing at all, especially if you are not tired out after a full day of sight seeing. It is really comforting to come back to some home-made food, especially if it is a longish vacation.

5) Housekeeping activities - another disadvantage is that depending on the rules of the rental, you might need to load the dishwasher/take out the garbage/start the washer before you leave. But once again, it is not such a big deal. Also, you cannot be a slob and leave the kitchen/bathroom/living spaces messy just because you're paying for cleaning, so some time does go in just setting things right. But once again, if everybody joins in, it is not a big deal at all.

6) Risk - Of course it is a risk that your vacation rental will not be as good as you hoped it was. In hotels, you know what you'll get, or at least, it will be close to your expectations, but you can't be so sure about a vacation rental. But then on the other hand, it might surprise you.

I'm sure there are some other points I'm forgetting, and I'll add them later. But if you are reading this trying to decide whether to go for a vacation rental, and if you  need any inputs, or if you have any questions, feel free to email me on the address on this page.

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