Welcome to Home Rental Country: The Refuge of the Un-Hotel

Who Rents Vacation Homes?
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The short answer? Everyone. Urban travelers can find vacation rentals in big cities—perfect for museum-hopping, shopping, or simply relaxing in a café. Family reunions and other groups can spread out in countryside villas, and even solo travelers and couples can find small rural cottages to sink into the scene and drop off the main tourist track.

Vacation rentals can be much less expensive than hotel rooms, especially for groups traveling together, says Mario Scalzi, president of the Parker Company, which rents Italian villas. (www.parkervillas.com)

And people are more comfortable. Instead of several couples spending $300 or more a night on neighboring hotel rooms—and then being limited to spending their social time gathered around the bed, the price could drop to as low as $60 to $180 a night for each couple in a rental property like a two-room beach house. And with that, there's room to spread out and socialize.

Families can take advantage of rentals with yards and easy access to a beach, lake, river or ski resort, along with other family-friendly amenities like a full kitchen with a fridge, multiple bedrooms, common rooms, and DVD players for rainy-day entertainment. Do the research, and tracking down the perfect rental is a simple way to customize your accommodations.

That's not to say a vacation rental works for everyone. If you're looking for midnight room service, a valet to whisk your car off to the parking lot, or casual conversation at the hotel bar, a rental home might not be right for you. A rental isn't an upscale hotel with a house-like façade, says Scalzi, but a real place with its own quirks and charms.

But vacation rentals can also immerse you into the local community. They often require a minimum stay of one week, so you'll have time to get to know the surrounding area. You'll travel different paths than the hotel-based tourists headed for nearby sights and restaurants. You can stock your kitchen with ingredients from the local market. You might even become a regular at the café down the street.

"You're forced into interacting in a way that, as a tourist, you usually don't," says Kenny of Slow Travel.

Published: 13 Apr 2007 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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