Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Privately and Save a Bundle

Our family first booked privately owned accommodations when we discovered that my eldest son had serious food allergies. We needed a kitchen.

Privately owned accommodations can be houses, townhouses, condos, apartments and sometimes timeshares.

It didn’t take long to realize that we had just found one of the best ways to save money on accommodations and food. Not only do we pay less than by booking a hotel room, but we usually get more space and save hundreds of dollars by preparing some of our meals. Instead of sharing two beds with the kids in a one room hotel unit, we can get a one bedroom apartment that sleeps four and has a kitchen and family room for the same or less cost as the hotel.

There are many sites where you can find these accommodations. One of the best known is Vacation Rentals By Owners (VRBO), where we found Carolyn Banfalvi’s apartment that we rented in Budapest. We’ve booked accommodations including Hawaii, Florida and across Europe from this site alone

Other fabulous sites are Home Away, Flipkey, Only-Apartments, OMGtravel and Vacation Rentals to name a few. Once you have chosen a destination, just Google search “Vacation Rentals by Owners and the name of your location”. You’ll find many local sites this way.

Thoroughly read the descriptions and when you send an inquiry for your dates, make sure you ask for the TOTAL cost to rent including all taxes and any extra fees. You can often find reviews of your accommodation on line.

Most private accommodation will rent for as little as 3 nights and you can usually negotiate better prices if you rent for more than a week. If it’s a slow time of year or the renter is trying to fill a period of odd days between rental periods, you can also work out lower prices or get cleaning fees or taxes waived.

Check it out. For our family, it is the way to go.

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