Kate in the Middle: Check Out of Hotels, Check In to Airbnb Continued

Writer / Kate Rhoten

Last month, this column introduced readers to Airbnb. This month, I am providing more information about the costs of our rentals and presenting some things to consider when booking through Airbnb. This is my “Top 6 Reasons to Consider” list:

6. Space. Lots more of it. Hotels are small; they do not provide enough room for a family of four to spread out. The average hotel room ranges from 300 to 350 square feet, sometimes a bit more if you’re lucky.

18276673534_de1d7ef1b2_oHaving space is nice if the weather doesn’t cooperate or if a family member doesn’t feel well. It’s good to be able to spread out — plus the added benefit of reduced sibling bickering.

5. Convenience. The proximity to the beach was our main focus. Both places we rented were an easy walk to the beach. We don’t enjoy the hassle of driving to the beach, so we found places that made it easy to get to the beach whenever we wanted. Oftentimes, we would go out for a few hours in the morning and again for a couple hours in the late afternoon. Restaurants and shopping within walking distance were a bonus.

4. Meals and snacks. Dining out while on vacation can add to the expense. We learned we could keep our costs down by dining in for some of the meals, which lessened the pressure on the budget. Breakfast at “home” was leisurely; we could sleep in a little bit if desired before heading to the beach or another activity. Doing this simple thing really can help the savings add up.

3. Cooking tools. If you choose to dine in for a few meals at the rental, take 10 minutes to review what kitchen pots, pans and utensils you have available to cook meals. Taking inventory before grocery shopping will allow you to plan accordingly. Think about what your family likes, keep it easy and be realistic. Resist the temptation to buy a lot of groceries; keep it simple.

2. Cost. Sometimes renting is as affordable as a hotel. This seems to be especially true with beach rentals. With a little time and effort, you can find a variety of places that, when you consider all the costs, are reasonable.18893983852_47a1afe061_o

The Solana Beach cottage where we stayed six nights averaged out to $316 per night. The Hilton hotel we had originally booked was going to run approximately $2,200 for six nights. That averages out to $366 per night.

Hotels in the North Miami area were running approximately $350 per night. A recent search resulted in the nightly rate being slightly higher now at $359. When you factor in resort fees and taxes, the total cost would be over $2,100. The nightly rate of the condo in Sunny Isles was $249 per night.

1. The owners. I found the owners to be super responsive. I sent inquiry emails asking about things such as the location, the time it takes to walk to the beach and the amenities in the area. Once I booked, the owners were still more than happy to assist with additional needs or concerns.

All things considered, Airbnb rentals have become our best option. When planning your next trip, I encourage you to spend a bit of time looking into your options on Airbnb. Our next plan to use Airbnb may be an international trip. It’s a lot of fun looking into the options and messaging the owners. Where will you go?

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