Summer is just around the corner, and vacations often mean leaving the comfort of your home to cram everyone into a couple of spare bedrooms in a relative's house. If you don’t want to stay in a hotel, try Christine Karpinski’s solution--a rental home.
"Staying with relatives can be a huge drag," says Karpinski, director of Owner Community for HomeAway.com (the online vacation home rental marketplace) and author of How to Rent Vacation Properties by Owner, 2nd Edition: The Complete Guide to Buy, Manage, Furnish, Rent, Maintain and Advertise Your Vacation Rental Investment, and Profit from Your Vacation Home Dream: The Complete Guide to a Savvy Financial and Emotional Investment.
" You get to your relative's house and instead of making a beeline for the restroom and a much-needed catnap, you must endure a protracted 'greeting and catching up' time. Then, you spend the next few days piled on top of everyone as you help prepare meals and try to keep the kids entertained and out of the way. Bedtime is dictated by when everyone else wants to retire."
No matter how much you love your extended family, they can be hard to take in huge doses. Karpinski says there are reasons in addition to stress reduction to choose vacation rentals over staying with relatives.
Easy availability. More people are realizing their dream of owning a second home—and renting it out when they're not using it. In fact, there's a vacation home within a two-hour drive of most metropolitan areas in the U.S. By visiting respectable websites—such as HomeAway.com or its affiliates VRBO.com, CyberRentals.com, GreatRentals.com, or Holiday-Rentals.co.uk—you can find the one that's right for you.
HomeAway has more than one million vacation rental listings in 190 countries for travelers to choose from, says Christina Song, PR Specialist for HomeAway Inc. Additionally, CyberRentals.com and GreatRentals.com have been absorbed into HomeAway and its sister site VRBO.com, Song explains.
"If the biggest benefit of staying with a relative is that it's free for you, not to worry," says Karpinski. "You can find vacation rentals for as cheap as $400 a week. You'll love having peace and quiet with your own family in your own space whenever you need some time away from the relatives," she adds.
Rental homes have more space for you. Up until now, maybe you've been able to convince yourself that when you get to your relative's house and start settling in there will be plenty of room for you, your spouse, the kids, and all of your stuff. But you know it never works out that way. Consider the difference between piling your family into two extra bedrooms and having a whole house to spread out in—where the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living and dining areas are all yours.
They feel more like home than a hotel. If you have been opting to stay in a hotel, you'll feel more at home and enjoy more amenities in a vacation rental home. Kids can relax in their own space and feel freer to follow usual routines.
You might even be able to bring Fido or Fluffy. Finding a kennel to take your pets can be a hassle. "Many vacation property owners will accept pets, which saves you the kennel headache and saves hundreds of dollars on boarding costs. Just make sure the person you're renting from gives you the go-ahead," Karpinski says.