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When you go on vacation these days, you often have the option of choosing between a traditional hotel or a vacation rental. Each one has their pros and cons. Your best choice will depend on your circumstances, your expectations for your vacation and where you want to vacation. Here are some considerations to keep in mind before you book your next accommodations.

1. How Definite Are Your Plans?

Certain accommodation types can be more flexible than others. Generally speaking, hotels may let you cancel within 24 hours of your arrival date. Vacation rental cancellation terms will vary by property. You will need to read the cancellation policy very carefully if you decide rent a house or condo rather than stay in a hotel. Luckily, in either case, if you purchase travel insurance, your non- refundable deposit can be covered if you cancel for a covered reason.

2. How Much Attention Do You Want?

You can expect different levels of attention, depending on where you choose to stay. In a hotel you can remain fairly anonymous or you can be greeted by staff at every turn. In some hotels you can check in and check out without ever speaking to a soul and in others you will be taken on a tour of the property, have twice daily room cleaning and a butler to see to your every need. With a vacation rental you are more likely not to see anyone on property unless you rent a room in someone’s home or a guest house adjacent to an occupied main house. In these cases, you might be invited to join in on family activities or dine with your hosts and generally encounter the owners for the duration of your visit.

3. How Many Services Do You Need?

As a hotel guest you may be entitled to a variety of paid or free service amenities such as shoe polishing, dry cleaning, room service, morning coffee and newspaper, spa treatments, concierge, fitness center and more. As a guest in a vacation rental you may or may not have any services available. In many cases, you might just have a selection of local tourist brochures in a rack by the door. You will most likely be left to your own devices at a vacation rental property, so be sure you are comfortable with the location where you are staying and are ready to be self sufficient.

4. What Kind of Assurances Do You Need?

Most people book their own travel through online websites. While you can get a pretty good idea of the quality and safety of a hotel or vacation rental, you can also be deceived. Photos can be manipulated to make it look like the place is much better than it really is. Descriptions can be general to the point where the owner can never be accused of blatantly lying. But when you arrive, you might discover you’re in an unsafe neighborhood or the pool is permanently in need of repair. For both hotels and vacation rentals, it is wise to check reviews to ensure that other recent travelers have enjoyed their stay.

Make sure you consider all four of these points whether you decide on a hotel or vacation rental. And be sure to cover yourself with trip insurance. You’ll be glad you are insured if anything goes awry during your trip. Safe travels!

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