Although money isn't everything, this decision is often made on the basis of price. For a single person or a couple, the prices of hotel stays and small rentals are comparable. As soon as the numbers of people in the party reaches 3 or more, a hotel becomes a more costly option.
Not only that, but consider your living costs while on vacation: the option of self catering and eating in cuts the cost dramatically.
But, as I say, money isn't everything! What kind of vacation do you want (or need)? Do you want to be looked after, do you like all the services and facilities of a hotel? Then perhaps that outweighs the cost. On the other hand, if you value privacy and don't need to be welcomed by permanently smiling faces, you're better off in a rental.
It's your vacation, so you're the only one who can choose.
If you choose a rental, to make sure that your expectations are realistic, here's a brief guide
- Make sure that your entire party is included in the booking. Children, toddlers and babies all count as people. If you are in a pet-friendly rental, make sure that your pet is booked in too. Then, there are no surprises.
- Make sure you know the key handover arrangement before you set out.
- If you find anything wrong, call the owner or manager immediately. They will be delighted to put it right and delighted that you took the trouble to inform them. Think about it for a moment: If the WiFi keeps stalling, the owner or manager won't know until someone tells them. There are so many things that can go wrong without any visible sign.
- On arrival, make sure that you get familiar with the exits and how to escape in case of emergency. Take note of the position of any fire blanket and make sure that everyone in the party is aware that doors should be closed at night.
- Most rental homes come with instructions. It's worth taking a few minutes to read them. It's usually a folder that's kept inside the accommodation. Sometimes these days, it's a web page.
- Check with the owner/manager before you set out whether you need to bring cooking basics like salt, sugar, pepper etc. Some rentals have a cupboard with a wide variety of ambient basic ingredients and others are kept spartan, so be prepared!
- Unless you've been told otherwise, the accommodation will be professionally cleaned after you leave. The cleaning regime is thorough but it is always scheduled to be done in a fixed time span. That means that any exceptional cleaning needs can upset the schedule and possibly delay entry for the next guests. If your party has had any spills or has made any unusual mess, then it's your job to clean those things. We call it "Leaving the accommodation in a reasonable state".
Personally I pick a rental more often that a hotel, though we enjoy both. In a hotel, it's great to be able to walk into breakfast and get started and not to have to bother with preparing or washing dishes. It's great to walk into the bar and end up in conversation with a new friend. In a rental, we enjoy the privacy and living like a local. It's different but both are great.