What's best for a Florida Vacation? A Hotel/Resort Holiday or a Private Villa?
We tried both and have rented for years now and here are some of the reasons why it we found it much better than a hotel or resort based holiday;
1 It is a Home from Home. Staying in a hotel room as a family can be a nightmare; trying to watch TV with the sound down low so as not to wake the kids, no privacy and no space. The latter gets really important on those wet days (and Florida does have some) when you have a couple of hours to kill.
Having a villa means you can use separate bedrooms. Most decent villas have a TV in all rooms, with a better cable package than you'll find in a hotel, and many also have VCR/DVDs. Owners often leave out our videos and DVDs for renters to use, so the kids can go and watch something in their bedroom while you catch up on Desparate Housewives or whatever.
2 You get your own Pool! No trying to fit in around hundreds of other families, trying to spot your kids in the crowd and so on. You'll get a nice pool and an area to sit out in with reasonable privacy.
Chill out by the pool with a drink or listen to your iPod.
It's also nice to be able to get a pass out from the theme park mid afternoon, go home and relax by the pool for a bit then freshen up before heading back to the theme park for the firework displays or going out for a meal. It gives younger children the chance to have a sleep as well.
3 Eating In. Eating out in Florida is great, and there are places to suit all pockets, but hotel and resort eateries can get very crowded; fighting your way to the all you can eat buffet counter and all that. You also have to dress appropriately. In a villa you can wander through from the bedroom, grab some grub and eat in your jammies out by the pool. How good's that?
The same in the evening. If you've had a long day at the theme park, stop off at one of the excellent supermarkets and come home for the evening. All villas have a decent kitchen and at least basic utensils so you can eat in front of the telly, our by the pool or whatever. If you've got teenagers who are having one of those moments where they don't what to eat what you're having or when you want to eat then they can make themselves something when they want to.
Another alternative is to order a pizza, Chinese or similar for delivery. You've seen it on the US TV shows and films, so try it out. Most villas provide free local calls from the house and you can have your food delivered to your front door in minutes.
4 The Laundry. You might not want to think about the washing and ironing when you're on holiday, but why have to take a case load home and have to catch up on it then? Villas have a washer, dryer and ironing facilities so you can stick a load on and go out to the pool for a relax. Keeping on top of it daily means you don't have that smelly pile to unload as soon as you get home.
5 It's Cheaper! It doesn't cost much if you book direct with the owner. Book with a travel agent and you will pay under occupancy and all sorts of hidden charges, but book with the owner and you pay one price for the week regardless of how many of you there are (as long as there are enough beds).
Villas come in all sizes, and a 4 or 5 bedroom one will take 2 families, so share the costs with family or friends and get an even better deal.
We hope that this helps. Please feel free to contact us if we can help you with other advice. We've been holidaying in Florida for over 15 years now and have a wealth of experience we'd be happy to share. Follow the eBay links for contact details.