9 Advantages of Renting an Apartment
Meet Local People, Eat Native Foods,
| There are many
unique vacation rentals in Italy and across Europe.
When our son came along our travel
plans changed drastically: no more affordable, albeit
tiny, hotels. Our family needed more space. Hotel suites
were shockingly expensive. Two rooms at a cheap hotel
were too costly. I took the advice of a European friend
who said, Rent a self-catering apartment.
An apartment might be more
than the price of a small hotel room, though in many cases
a vacation rental can end up costing less when rented by
the week. When I think of all we gained, the price
has been a good value for the money. These are some of the
things you can do when you rent an apartment:
local delicacies. Ever wander the markets
of Europe and think, Oh, if I only had a kitchen?
If you rent an apartment you will. When we stayed
a week in Colmar, France, we visited the local shops
for cheeses, breads, and sausages. With a bottle of
Alsatian wine (sampled and purchased from a cave)
dinner cost about $15 for two people.
affordably. Read your guidebooks and locate
a famous restaurant and enjoy a midday feast. Lunches
in Europe are an affordable splurge. In addition,
the pace is slower, the restaurants less crowded,
and the waiters more talkative. And for those of us
with families most restaurants are much more welcoming
(and forgiving) during the day.
like a local. When you shop for your dinner,
you mix with the local people. Markets are the common
ground of a community. Youll come to understand
a cultures culinary priorities. In Italy, a
piece of Parmesan is cheaper than a pack of M&Ms.
out. Apartments tend to be in the residential
areas of a city. During the day your children can
play in the neighborhood playgrounds while you meet
other parents. And perhaps that night youll
see these new friends at the local pub.
lighter. You can carry fewer bags by packing
less and washing more. Some apartments offer laundry
services, others have washers and dryers. You can
hand wash all the small things and leave them to dry.
out. Children must nap, play, and go to sleep
in the early evening. An apartment offers you a place
to relax while the kids sleep in the next room. Those
without children will be happier with a bit of breathing
host. An apartment allows you to live like
you do at home: you can invite people in for a visit,
and you can also get out. You can hire a baby sitter
(ask for recommendations from your landlord). In an
apartment she can sit in the next room and do her
schoolwork, just like at home.
down. Most cottages and apartments have a
minimum stay requirement ranging from a few days to
a full Saturday-to-Saturday stay. Slow immersion travel
allows you to make friends and learn about where you
in traditions. When you live where the locals
live, you serendipitously bump into neighborhood events:
boules matches, rugby games, farmers markets, fetes,
church socials, and free concerts.
As an example of the benefits of holiday
apartments I offer my familys most recent European
vacation. We rented an apartment in the notoriously expensive
Icelandic city of Reykjavik. Located in Old Town, our one-bedroom
flat had harbor views, a balcony, and a hot tub. It was
twice as expensive as a single room at a 2-star hotel. However,
a home is worth the price:
- Many landlords offer
a discount for a longer stay. In Reykjavik, the discount
of 10 percent saved us $165.
- Many apartments (like ours) include CD players,
TV/VCR, full kitchens, robes, spas, free locals calls,
concierge services, parking, and travel suggestions.
to the Icelandic Tourism Board, the average prices
for meals without alcohol are $8-$10 breakfast, $10-$20
lunch, and $30-$50 dinner. If you add that up and
then multiply by the number of people and days, the
price is shockingly high. However, if you eat in for
breakfast and lunch (or dinner), youll
soon see great savings.
In your holiday apartment youll
meet local people, eat native foods, get along better with
your travel companions, see unusual sights, and sleep well.
Youll feel like a local, even if you stay just a few
days. If you truly want to see a country, its people, and
its customs, rent a holiday home.