Difference Between Booking a Hotel and a Vacation Rental

by Online Hotelier on March 30, 2010

So you’re making plans to head out on a well earned vacation, to get away from the daily bump and grind that is your life. If you are heading to a Hawaiian island, one of the main things to think about is the accommodations you will have when you arrive at your destination. What do you look for? What location to do you want to be at? What sort of amenities do you want to have access to? With so many airline/hotel room/car rental packages your initial thought may be to just book it, after all it is very simple and non time consuming, and probably a bit cheaper. That being said there are a couple of different options available to you. More popular choices these days include Hawaii vacation rentals or Cheap Hotels New York. While usually not part of a packaged deal, more often than not, vacation rentals have a lot more perks to offer…

Corporate Owned vs Privately Owned

With so many vacation rentals being “ma and pa” owned this may be a better way to spend your money. You may see some upside to this; instead of giving your money to a big hotel corporation you may want to help out the the aforementioned “little guy” owned private vacation rentals. Many times the rate you will pay to stay in a vacation rental will be higher then what you will pay for a hotel room, but, the amenities you will get as part of staying in a vacation rental can far outweigh what you will get in a hotel room.

A vacation rental will often be located in local subdivisions or neighborhoods and will give you a more culturally integrated experience. You can often bike or walk around these areas. If you have a Hawaii rental car, you can park easily and have much shorter distances to haul any luggage or groceries. Hotels are often either in isolated areas that limit accessibility to the rest of the island, and make venturing out a trek, or they are in the heart of Waikiki and other hubs that feel overcrowded and hectic.


While paying for a hotel room is probably quicker and easier it by no means gives you the comforts of home. One of the biggest upsides to getting a vacation rental is the amenities that will already be included in the price you pay. You will get some of these added luxuries just to name a few…

  • Extreme privacy
  • More square footage
  • Multiple bedrooms
  • Full kitchen
  • Separate living room
  • Separate dining room
  • Fitness room
  • WiFi
  • Big screen TV
  • DVD player
  • Game/Movie room
  • On sight laundry
  • Your own pool and/or jacuzzi
  • Yard
  • Patios
  • Balconies
  • Gardens
  • A friendly more personable feel

Remember all vacation rentals are different, you may not get all these in one booking.

Pet Policies

For those of us who like to travel with our pets, some vacation rentals can be very accommodating to them; though sometimes an extra fee may be added to the final price. Some hotels may allow pets to stay, but in general not many guests enjoy seeing random animals in the lobby of their hotel. With a vacation rental you don’t have to worry about this. Your pet can run and play in the private yard. You will also savor the fact that you are not spending more money paying someone to feed and watch your pet while you are away.

Owner Knowledge

Hotels will probably have a directory and phone book to help you get around, and they may even have a person that will give you directions to a sight or attraction you want to see, but booking a vacation rental gives you the added bonus of having access to the owner’s knowledge of the area you are staying. Don’t be too shy to ask about these things, most times owners will share the ins and outs of the area. More importantly they can tell you the very best sights and attractions to go and see as opposed to the places that are just tourist traps and really aren’t worth your time. You can also get easy directions as well as a more personal one on one experience. You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of attention a vacation owner rental will give to you. Don’t be surprised if there are flowers or even some kind of local gift basket waiting for you when you arrive.

Choosing between a hotel room and a vacation rental does not have to be a hard task. Booking vacation rentals online has become much easier in the past few years, thanks to sites that consolidating listings. There are pros and cons for both choices. When it comes down to it, it is all about the personal experience you are looking to create. Staying outside the confines of a hotel and opening yourself up to a more private, personal trip could be the difference between a vacation and an experience you will cherish for years to come.

Cheap Hotels New York


Carl 09.14.10 at 2:13 am

It really depends how many people are coming with you for this vacation. To rent a villa for 1 person or just 1 family can be really expensive, but if you are going with family friends, renting 2-3 bedroom villa is cost effective and will make you feel like you are at your home.

Jake @Washington Vacation Rentals 09.14.10 at 7:24 pm

I agree with Carl that there are huge advantages to renting as a group. We operate a number of cabins, and our largest and most expensive cabin is probably half as much money on a per-person basis. But if you head that direction, make sure you get a cabin with enough bathrooms for your group to all shower in the morning…

david henry@cheap hotel rentals 09.18.10 at 9:14 am

With access now to the internet available to everyone research can be done quickly and quite indepth so finding details of a private rental is far easier and in most cases cheaper, however you are more likely to get the quality you are looking for by using an appointed agent specializing in providing holiday accommodation. Take a look at holiday rooms direct

leila 09.20.10 at 4:41 am

If you’re backpacking then its great to patronize the services of privately owned travel rentals because they are cheaper and not impersonal but if you are accompanied by your family, better choose the services of the big guys because they have better and clear cut policies that may be useful in emergencies.

Shail@Cheap Air Tickets 09.21.10 at 8:05 pm

There are several advantages of vacations rentals over popular hotels chains. With hotels you get almost same things no matter which part of the globe you are visiting. This can be fine for those who don’t want things to be changed, but if you desire to live somewhere that embraces the culture of the local area, you’re more likely to find that in a vacation rental.

couponboa 09.26.10 at 7:22 am

Excellent read! For obvious reason, the necessity is important. For a group of families or a big family with pets – vacation rental can give all the fun and entertainment. Kids have more space to play and they will surely love the idea.

Charles@Las Vegas Homes for Sale 10.09.10 at 7:15 pm

Your dollar will generally stretch farther if you rent as a group. The big thing here in Las Vegas are condo hotels. The rooms are individually owned but can be rented out. Some are rented out through the property management company of the hotel but there are some that are not. So for those, you might be able to get a much better rate for basically the same room. Prices will vary of course depending on what time of year you are coming to Vegas (just like everywhere else).

JUANNA_MARIE @ Calgary Rentals 11.10.10 at 4:06 am

Before moving on a such place of vacation or destination, accommodations should take the first place. It is important because after you have arrived on your destination, your place to rest is ready and no more things to ponder. And pf course you have to think of the things that qualify your taste in vacation places.

Irina 11.16.10 at 8:12 am

I prefer to stay at corporate accommodation
private owners are not responsible, and you will have to deal with problems yourself

Hotel Daniel 03.07.11 at 4:31 am

It is important to read reviews from actual guests. Many sites offer reviews but it is not clear if they have actually paid for a stay at the hotel.
Other advantages a site can offer is 24 hour customer support and a clear cancellation policy. Keeping in mind that it is not a perfect world so when plans change last minute you are not penalized. That is why I recommend hotel.info

Peter @ Kissimmee Vacation Rentals 04.29.11 at 5:11 pm

A one bedroom condo can be just as cheap as hotel room located in the same area. Privacy and security is a substantial consideration when contemplating accommodation, which makes vacation rentals an ideal choice for both individuals and families.

Bob@Luxury Vacation Rentals 09.26.11 at 9:07 am

Vacation rentals can vary in quality, however, renting a private villa can be just as cost effective as renting a hotel room and the benefits are numerous, including more privacy and better amenities. If you are looking for some great villa rentals there are plenty of sites online that offer great deals.

Gatlinburg Vacation Rentals 02.21.12 at 8:47 pm

I think the ma and pa places in general try harder than hotel chains. The small vacation rental establishments don’t have much of an advertising budget so word of mouth is so important. Plus a vacation rental is more like being at home than a hotel room.

Jogos de Motos 02.22.12 at 5:54 pm

I prefer to stay at corporate accommodation… 😉

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