Spring Break: 10 Things to Consider for A Family Vacation Rental

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When you’re planning an extended family vacation, a rental property is often more economical and more convenient than a long stay in cramped hotel quarters. Selecting the perfect short-term vacation rental, however, is far from a simple process if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. When you’re adequately prepared and have a firm idea of your needs in mind, however, finding the perfect vacation home is far from daunting. Armed with the items detailed on this list, you’ll have a strong vision of what you need from a vacation home and amenities to be on the lookout for as you browse through rental listings.

  1. A Functional Kitchen – One of the primary amenities of a vacation home over a hotel room is the ability to prepare meals at your home away from home, rather than springing for restaurant meals at tourist-destination prices. Make sure that you’re taking the functionality of the kitchen into account when you book your rental; a hotplate and a dorm-sized refrigerator in a garage apartment won’t be worth the money saved on the rental when you’re forced to drop a bundle on three meals out each day.
  2. Smoke and Pet Free Houses – Smoke and pet dander not only leave unpleasant smells that linger for weeks, they can also be triggers for family members that are prone to allergies. Make sure that you’re keeping an eye out for smoke-free, pet-free vacation rentals. Unless, of course, you plan to bring Rover along for the ride.
  3. Ample Sleeping Space – Vacation home owners know that the appeal of a rental over hotel accommodations is that they can reasonably house more people than a hotel room and, as such, can prove to be a more economical choice for large groups. Your teenager will get tired of sleeping on the pull-out sofa in a main area, though, so make sure that there’s enough privacy to go around. And if you don’t feel like lugging along the portable crib, be sure to inquire as to if you can get one on location.
  4. Multiple Bathrooms – Unless you’re traveling as a single family and are accustomed to sharing a restroom, it’s a good idea to look only at listings that include more than one bathroom. Waiting in line for a shared, single restroom is enough to rain on anyone’s parade, and will make for hectic morning ablutions.
  5. Full-Sized Bathtubs – In order to maximize available living space, many vacation rental owners opt to build smaller bathrooms with only a standing shower. This might not be an issue if your kids are older, but bathing a frightened toddler in a standing shower is no one’s idea of a good time.
  6. Dining Space – Those home-cooked meals that are going to save you big bucks aren’t as much fun when half of your group is balancing plates on their knees on the back porch. Make sure that there’s seating for everyone in your group, or you won’t be sharing many family meals while you’re traveling.
  7. Close Proximity to Area Attractions – In an unfamiliar area, the last thing you’ll want to do is navigate a maze of back roads and residential streets to find the beach or the amusement park. A centrally-located, easy-to-find home is your best bet when you’re visiting a new town.
  8. Safety and Security Features – Pools are an attractive amenity for travelers, but can pose a hazard for families with little ones that aren’t yet strong swimmers if the proper safety features aren’t in place. Modern furniture with glass tops and sharp corners also aren’t safe for little ones that aren’t steady on their feet. A place that offers childproofing or at least safety gates can be helpful. Keep an eye on safety while you’re looking for a vacation rental so that your trip isn’t spoiled by a trip to the emergency room.
  9. Laundry Facilities – You won’t want to deal with enough luggage to keep your entire family in clean clothes for the duration of the trip, and you probably won’t like the idea of spending your vacation in a Laundromat much more. Homes with on-site laundry facilities should probably take precedence over those without them.
  10. Access to Childcare Services – One perk that the major resort chains have over small, owner-operated vacation rentals is that those big-box resorts typically have childcare services on-site or a concierge that can direct you to a reputable service. Unless you plan to never have a grown-ups night out, you’ll want to inquire about childcare services and temporary nanny agencies in the area, or line up a local sitter.