Aloha! Nate and I returned home from Maui on Friday. We had a fantastic time! Maui is full of beautiful scenery and definitely kept us busy. We're currently working on trying to remember how to live non-vacation life. Alarm clocks? Work? Feed the dog?
Take me back! But let me bring the dog. (He stayed with his grandparents and had a lovely treat and snuggle filled vacation.)
We're currently finishing up editing our 1 trillion vacation photos. Of which I will share 1 billion of them with you this week. Get excited.
Today I thought I'd share with you the rental condo we stayed in. Not because it's beautiful but because I don't think a lot of people realize the benefits to renting a condo on vacation. Rental condos are our preferred choice of stay for trips in the United States. (We need to work up a bit more travel confidence for outside of the States.)
We have used vrbo.com six times now. (There are other sites like HomeAway that I've heard good things about.) We prefer VRBO mainly because we've found the best prices using them.
Here is our Maui condo. (VRBO lising here!)
It's clearly needs an upgrade but look at that view.
When choosing a condo we first consider location and price. We try to research if the condo is located in a good neighborhood and centrally located for the activities we want to partake in while on vacation. We also figure out our budget and stick to it. Keep in mind with renting a condo there are also taxes and cleaning fees added onto the price. We have had good luck getting discounted rates just by asking. We find that condos are much less expensive that resorts or even most hotels.
We also keep in mind that this isn't a condo we are buying. It's a condo we are staying in for 1 week. Nate and I don't need top of the line. Most of the time we only use the condo to sleep and shower because we're too busy exploring or laying by the beach. Our main criteria for appearance is cleanliness and safety. I'd prefer to put the extra money we'd spend on a super nice condo into the home where I spend the other 51 weeks of the year. We prefer things like amazing views over granite counter-tops while vacationing.
Yeah, that was taken from the condo balcony. It was sort of like an Iowa sunset. Sort of.
A major benefit to renting a condo on vacation is that you have access to a kitchen. We know that a lot of people don't enjoy cooking on vacation but it's a great way to save money. We usually eat in breakfast and lunch and enjoy a nice supper out. We dine on foods that we don't normally eat at home (powdered donuts and Oreos) to make it a little more exciting. Clearly we keep it healthy but that could be an advantage if you aren't us. Actually there was a Farmer's Market a few blocks from this condo where we purchased pineapples, papayas and apple bananas (a new favorite). We generally only eat out one or two meals a week at home so even eating out suppers is quite a treat for us. We're also usually sick of eating out by the time we get home and we can't imagine how we'd feel eating out every meal. The food in Hawaii was pricey so having a kitchen kept our vacation bill lower.
One of the cons to renting a condo is that you don't have someone to clean up your outdated bathroom on a daily basis. We dealt with it by not caring because we were in Hawaii!
Having a separate bedroom is also nice. Nate stays up late. I get up early. That combo doesn't work so well in a hotel room but works beautifully in a condo. He stayed up late watching tv (Like 9pm late! That time change was a killer!). I got up early and read by the beach. Winning all around.
We didn't snap a photo (because it was in a closet) but having a laundry area is also an extra benefit. Having laundry access has sort of helped with my over packing ways. Sort of.
Each place we've stayed in definitely has some quirks. This condo had mirrors EVERYWHERE. It was borderline creepy. I kept thinking I was being watching. The insane amount of mirrors was perfect for a classy couple selfie.
There are definitely concerns when renting a condo. Is it safe? Is it clean? Is someone going to steal my money? We have had great experiences so far. Half of our rentals have actually ended up being through a rental agency which gave us a bit more piece of mind. If there are too many hoops to jump through or something doesn't seem right, skip that condo and move on!
We're already thinking about our next vacation! Suggestions?
Do you like to live the luxurious life while on vacation or like to keep it simple and enjoy your new surroundings?