Sandra Scott Travels: Vacation Rentals Can Be Less Expensive, More Fun

All aboard the party boat.

All aboard the party boat.

Last week I asked: Should you rent a holiday house?

Yes, it is a great deal for families.

Having fun at the beach.
Having fun at the beach.

Have you ever considered a vacation rental property?

HomeAway, AirBandB, FlipKey, and VRBO are some of the most popular sites for booking holiday rental properties.

It makes a perfect option when friends and relatives assemble for a wedding or some other event and when traveling with a group.

Recently, several members of my family visited from the West Coast to attend a family wedding.

Our house could not sleep everyone comfortably and hotel rooms to accommodate everyone would have been expensive.

Water fun.
Water fun.

So, we rented a three-bedroom place on the shore of Lake Ontario.

The rental was significantly less expensive than hotel rooms.

It was wonderful.

The children enjoyed canoeing, fishing and the campfire on the beach.

They extended their vacation by renting another property on the water on Wellesley Island.

All aboard the party boat.
All aboard the party boat.

Again, it was a perfect vacation.

They went diving on a wreck, rented a party boat to visit Boldt and Singer castles, and enjoyed fishing and kayaking.

Our family is spread out across the country so we planned a getaway that would be great for every one of all ages.

We rented an entire house for a week at Virginia Beach.

It was the perfect family reunion with family members arriving from four states to enjoy the beach and time together.


While at Virginia Beach, we explored the local area, went kayaking, swimming, hiking and bought a bushel of clams to eat.

Eating meals in restaurants is expensive especially when there are six to ten people dining together.

Not only are meals prepared at the rental property less expensive, home cooked meals are always better.

Also, meals can be planned to suit the tastes of everyone.

When renting a property make sure that the bedding is included and look for hidden costs such as booking fees, deposits, cleaning and costs for early/late departures.

Everything a diver could want.
Everything a diver could want.

Most places include everything needed for cooking and also basic things like salt and pepper.

Ask what is available so as not to end up buying things you don’t need.

Many properties can be paid via Pay Pal.

Check to see how far the property is from where you want to be: on the beach isn’t the same and as near the beach.

If people are flying in check on the ease of getting to/from the airport.

If there is a security deposit make sure it is refunded or credited at the end of the stay.

Inquire about a damage deposit.

Inspect the property immediately after arrival.

Note anything that isn’t shipshape.

If you find things missing or broken advise the owner immediately so you won’t be charged for something that was not your fault.

Most properties have a handbook that lists what is in the house, rules, emergency numbers, and things to do in the area.

There are times when it is cost-effective for two or three to stay in a vacation rental property.

This is often true in large cities such as New York.

Again read the write up carefully.

Derby time could be rental time.
Derby time could be rental time.

In NYC many of the places are walkup apartments some on the fifth floor.

When checking out places for two people in cities we have found that some involve sharing a bathroom and do not have a private access.

Rentals are also a good idea when there is a major event like the Kentucky Derby or Rose Bowl.

Vacation rental can make travel more affordable.

Travel Trivia Tease™: Where can you learn about the 10th Mountain Division?

Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!