Traveling with a large crew of 6 makes hotels almost a none starter. With the exception of mid price chains with suites, vacation rental sites like Air BnB need to become your new best friend. Not only do they offer the comforts of home, but also daily rates that won’t break the bank. However, here are some things to consider before booking:
Know Your Standards and Then Set Your Budget
We aren’t a very fancy family looking for high end amenities. However, we do prefer a clean, modern aesthetic in safe areas within walking distances to key attractions. Our per night target rate is usually $250 US. This ensures a decent place in a good area with enough sleeping space for everyone. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the types of rentals we find at this rate. They’re not mansions, but sometimes nicer than our own crib!
Our very first rental was in San Francisco on a very high end side of town. The accommodations offered great views putting us close to a variety of fun restaurants.
Mind the Fine Print
After fixing your sights on the target rate, be mindful of a few factors that are travel budget landmines:
- Fees and Service Charges – Online vacation rental companies charge a guest service fee for all reservations. This fee ranges from 5% to 15% of the reservation subtotal. For our San Francisco trip, the initial rate was $250, but quickly jumped to nearly $300 in the end.
- Amenities Not Always Included – During our trip to Europe, we booked 4 different rentals in 4 different countries. Some had toilet paper to serve an army while others only enough for one pit stop each. Basic kitchen/cleaning supplies were hit and miss as well. So plan a little extra in the budget for these necessities.
- Proximity to Attractions – The main reason for travel is to see new sites be them iconic or hidden gems. Your rental’s location could mean the difference between a free 10 minute stroll to Fisherman’s Wharf or Uber draining your pocketbook multiple times a day. For trips to major cities, make a list of your top visit spots and then find a rental that allows you to leverage public transport or your family’s feet as much as possible.
No matter where your travels take you, make sure to set your standard, budget accordingly and beware the hidden costs when booking your home away from home.