How Vacation Home Rentals Stack Up vs Hotels

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Fifteen years ago the debate between home rental vs hotel didn’t exist. Sporadically vacation home rentals existed, but finding them was labor intensive. Travelers would book name brand hotel rooms because it was easier and more well known. Since the creation of social sharing platforms like Airbnb, VRBO and FlipKey, vacation travelers now have millions of new options to choose from. Now short-term visits can be booked in real homes, apartments, condos, fifth wheels and more.

What is a vacation home? A vacation home is an individual property being offered for rent at a nightly rate instead of a monthly long-term rate. Short-term vacation properties are as diverse as the owners who offer them for rent. Rooms, huts, tree houses, theme homes, igloos, tents, and more are offered for rent on social sharing platforms. You can visit 200 countries by renting space through VRBO. You can find the destination for your next getaway by visiting VRBO today.

Short-Term Rentals Are Here to Stay

Early adopters of home sharing have been making money from this market shift for over a decade. New vacation hosts are inviting strangers to rent their homes every day. Becoming a vacation rental host is easy. Minor changes to existing homes can make them ideal for travelers from all walks of life. It’s not hard to see travelers shifting their money toward home rental vs hotel chains.

Over 150 million guests checked into a vacation rental in 2022. Hotels are fighting against the short-term rental market with every trick up their sleeve. Sadly, hotel advocacy groups have successfully banned short-term rentals in numerous jurisdictions worldwide. However, it’s essential to realize that vacation homes will be around for a while. Here’s why vacation home rentals are better than hotels in a variety of vacation situations.

1. Solo Traveler

Home Rental vs Hotel Solo Traveler

If you are traveling alone, your sleeping accommodation cost is amplified since you have nobody to share the cost with. Transportation and lodging costs are the most significant expenses of most vacations. If a single traveler is looking at a home rental vs hotel, they will likely not have access to a kitchen in picking a traditional hotel. In a traditional hotel room, the guest will undoubtedly eat out at restaurants for every meal.

Another option single travelers have utilized historically is hostels. The hostel format gives travelers access to budget-friendly accommodations. However, many people, especially solo female travelers, are uncomfortable staying in hostels. When staying at a hostel, the traveler has little or no control over what other guests they may end up in close accommodations with. That can be problematic if other guests make the solo traveler uncomfortable.

Vacation home rentals are better than hostels because travelers get to vet their lodging situation before booking. A single traveler searching on a short-term rental website could look first in shared home accommodations. Shared home vacation rentals mean a homeowner is renting out an individual or communal room inside their personal home. The key benefit of renting a shared home experience is lower cost. Because of the sharing economy, you can read reviews on hosts and their homes before deciding if a particular property is right for you.

2. Traveling Couple

Home Rental vs Hotel for Couples

As a traveling couple, you have to balance necessary expenses with potential dream experience costs. Yes, you will need to eat and sleep somewhere, but couples often have their eye on more expensive activities to fill their days. If a couple is considering a home rental vs hotel, choosing a traditional hotel will result in a higher cost. Many couples prefer to save money on the sleeping portion of their vacation in lieu of making the waking hours extra special.

While visiting Paris, for example, a couple might consider the cost savings on their accommodations a necessary trade-off in order to eat dinner in the Eiffel Tower. A couple traveling to Tanzania could decide a once-in-a-lifetime safari would be a better use of their funds. Anywhere in the world, there is likely to be a trade-off that a couple could create a lifelong memory instead of over-spending on a hotel room that doesn’t suit their needs.

Vacation home rentals are better than hotels because they are more cost effective. Couples seeking a vacation rental can look for both private rooms or entire property listings. In a private room, the couple will share common areas with the rental host. Booking an entire property will ensure more privacy. An entire property might sound large, but it can be as small as a studio mother-in-law apartment attached to a home.

3. Traveling Families

Home Rental vs Hotel for Families

Anyone who has traveled with children knows how stir-crazy they can go in a hotel: children running down hotel hallways, jumping up and down and generally being loud with just a wall between you and strangers. Hotels don’t have the space necessary for family wind-down time after a day of travel adventures. If a family is considering a home rental vs hotel, choosing a traditional hotel will mean less room for kids to decompress from the day. Getting ready in the morning can also be a challenge since everyone needs to get up and be ready before anyone has breakfast. The schedule created by hotel living can make for cranky kids.

Many families enjoy the larger space associated with vacation rental homes. Vacation rentals give options for kids to be separated, pets to have outdoor space and possibly even some alone time for mom and dad. When searching for short-term rentals, most platforms allow you to look specifically for kid- or pet-friendly properties. By searching far enough in advance, the chances are very good that you will find the perfect accommodations for your family dynamic.

Vacation home rentals are better than hotels because families can save money by cooking a few meals at home and have more flexibility to have personal space. While it is true that vacation rentals rarely have the daily maid service we have become accustomed to in hotels, the trade-off is more than worth it. After a long day of hiking around beautiful waterfalls or touring ancient ruins, kids can crash in a bedroom while parents Netflix and chill in a separate living room.

4. Groups Traveling Together

Home Rental vs Hotel for Groups

Whether you are gathering together for a family reunion or taking a trip with your sports team, a vacation rental is much more conducive for groups. In hotels, a group doesn’t have a private communal living space like a home does. Groups that stay at hotels are always needing to eat out at restaurants, resulting in higher out-of-pocket expenses. Groups looking for home rental vs hotel options will find larger hotel suites to be incredibly expensive.

Gone are the days of needing connecting rooms for a group trip. (Side note: If you have tried to get connecting rooms in a hotel lately, it is nearly impossible. Even elite hotel travelers are given rooms on entirely different floors when they reserve two rooms on one reservation. So much for mom and dad sleeping in the same bed…) In order to keep groups together, vacation homes are the modern answer.

Vacation home rentals are better than hotels because all guests will have a central congregating space. If part of the goal for your vacation is quality time with friends or family, you will find a rental home to be an ideal solution. Your short-term rental is a home away from home. Sit around the dining room table and play board games or sit on the deck drinking wine. Gathering a group is much easier away from the big box hotel chains.

Home Rental vs Hotel

Over 640,000 hosts are granting travelers access to in excess of 4 million individual properties. The barrier to entry for converting your home into a vacation rental is low. For most property owners it isn’t the financial cost preventing them from sharing their home, it’s the emotional hurdle.

Some hosts struggle with the idea of letting strangers touch their things. The sharing economy is still new, and some people are still nervous about the concept. You know that you would be a great guest, but the owner may have media horror stories swirling around their head. As time goes on and more and more positive experiences are shared, access to more properties will pop up.

As a traveler, you can help the entire sharing ecosystem by being an amazing guest. Negative stories tend to fill the airwaves because they are more interesting. Every day there are over a quarter million success stories happening around the world. Take some time to spread your positive story on social media and to your real-life network. Your story is part of a larger global movement of connection. In all kinds of industries, we no longer have to rely on one industry giant to provide us with a product. We can find much of what we need on a peer-to-peer sharing network.

Have you stayed at a vacation rental? Share this post on your social and share your experience with short-term rentals.