Have you seen the price of a hotel room these days? The scummy cheap ones are close to $50 a night, while the kind you’d actually want to stay in start at $100. Outrageous when all you want is a clean bed, shower, and some TV time.
And that’s just in cheap old America. Imagine the lodging costs in London, Rome, Sydney, or Dubai. Depending on the length of your trip, hotel stays are typically the most expensive part of your vacation budget, even more than airfare.
Want to see some scary numbers? Here are the average room rates in these cities:
- Moscow — $405
- New York — $319
- Sydney — $311
- Paris — $304
- Oslo — $283
- Rome — $262
But there is another way. You don’t have to stay at the budget chain in Paris. You could go for an apartment, condo, or vacation rental instead. These multi-room alternatives are particularly attractive if you have a family since they can often accommodate everyone without having to book separately. You also get the advantage of staying in someone’s actual residence, which means it probably has cooking facilities and a regional flavor hotels can’t match.
Stay in a home, not a hotel
As with many things these days, the Internet has made the job of finding these places much easier. One company, World Escape, hosts listings for 30 cities. You can look for apartment and vacation rentals, villas, condos, suites, and other non-traditional lodgings. New York City vacation rentals are another great way to curb the high cost of hotel rooms in New York and offer a wide range of accommodations suited to each traveler’s needs.
Select “Moscow” on the World Escape site, for example, and it brings up a page where you can specify your arrival and departure dates, plus the number of people in your party, then it displays available properties for you to rent. Let’s say you and your family want to go during summer vacation, an educational trip for the kids. A 2-bedroom, 1-bath apartment in the center of town will run you $1,633 for 7 nights, a far cry from the $5,670 a couple of hotel rooms would cost you! And you get the added bonus of seeing how a real resident of Moscow lives.
And let’s not forget food. Many of these places come with kitchens so you can cook for yourself and avoid at least some of those expensive restaurant tabs. An average meal in a Paris eatery will cost you about $63 — each! The kids may be a little cheaper, but you’re still looking at around $200 per meal. Perhaps a couple of scrambled eggs in the morning, plus a few homemade sandwiches for lunch would help put a dent in that food budget.
Nothing is perfect, of course. You give up room service, housekeeping, and whatever hotel amenities you typically enjoy, like the pool, gym, wifi, or an on-site restaurant, but the savings can be immense. It is possible to still get some of these services depending on what you rent, but it’s very hit or miss (mostly miss if you really want to save money).
Unless you’re one of those backpacker types, traveling will always be expensive, especially with a family in tow, but there are alternatives worth investigating that can make the difference between visiting another country or just wishing you could.