BY SUSAN ADCOX
I’m lucky. My daughter and her husband were early adopters of the rent-a-home concept. Long before Airbnb was a thing, we were on the Big Island of Hawaii, looking at the Pacific Ocean and enjoying the three-bedroom house with pool that was ours for the duration. Since then, we’ve shared condos, beach houses, and mountain cabins with our children and grandchildren. The grandkids’ favorite was the house we rented beside Louisiana’s Cane River. It had a swimming hole shaded by giant oaks and a rope swing they used to fling themselves in giant arcs over the cool water.
Wired for fun
Rope swings aren’t the only bonuses we’ve enjoyed. We’d had houses with boats, canoes, bikes, and pool tables. Still, renting someone else’s house isn’t for everyone and every situation. If you like having a standard room when you travel, reliably equipped with certain amenities, by all means stick to Hampton Inn or Sheraton. But when we want to stay in one spot for more than a day or two, we almost always go house hunting.
Here’s what we love: having extra room, exploring the unique features of each residence, and cooking our own meals when we are so inclined. And since two or three families can share one rental, the cost is usually comparable to or even less than motel rooms would cost. If you don’t mind doing some food prep, you really can save money.
“Here’s what we love: having extra room, exploring the unique features of each residence, and cooking our own meals when we are so inclined.”
A precautionary tell
Two disclaimers are in order. First, finding the right fit for your family can take quite a few hours of online looking. Second, you may occasionally encounter a less-than-ideal situation—a lumpy mattress or a cranky coffee maker. Before you book, read the posted descriptions carefully, including the comments or reviews, and contact the owner or rental agent if you have any questions.
I always tell my grandchildren that travel is an adventure, and that’s certainly true when you rent a home. But until motel pools come with rope swings, we’ll continue to take our chances!
Resources for Home Rentals
VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) https://www.vrbo.com/
Trip Advisor http://www.tripadvisor.com/Rentals
About Susan Adcox
usan Adcox is the Grandparents Expert on About.com and the author of Stories From My Grandparent: A Heirloom Journal for Your Grandchild. A former teacher, she has seven grandchildren.