Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Beach House - Our Hawaii Vacation Rental Experience

When we decided to take a family vacation to Hawaii, we knew that accommodations for all of us would be the biggest challenge.  We were able to rent a house right on the beach.  We found the house on the internet.  While obviously, it is difficult to verify the facts about a vacation rental that you find online and therefore, caution is advised when booking using the internet unless you book through a reputable company or realtor, for this private listing, we took a chance and saved a fair bit of money by booking it this way.  In the description of the house, it said that the house was located right on the beach, but in the pictures, there was something in the yard that looked like it may have been a road between the house and the beach.  We knew that even if it wasn't right on the beach, it was very close and decided to risk it.  When we arrived, we discovered that what had looked like perhaps a small road in the pictures on the computer was actually just a tiny seawall.  Our yard was bright green grass, exotic flowers, the seawall, a virtually private sandy beach, and the ocean!  What a pleasant surprise!

It was like our own tropical paradise!  As you can see from these pictures, the yard that we found upon our arrival was more than we could have hoped for in our wildest dreams!  
The inside of the house was also nicer than we had expected given the pictures.  It had the feel of a luxurious tropical vacation property.  

By choosing to stay at a house instead of a hotel, we saved an enormous amount of money on food and on entertainment.  In the two weeks that we spent in Hawaii, including our travel days, we only ate in a restaurant three times.  We went grocery shopping and bought all the food needed for snacks and meals. We also purchased sand toys for the kids at W*l-Mart and some boogy boards, which entertained them for hours on end every day.  
The house came with all the dishes and appliances that we needed and had a washing machine and a dryer so I was able to stay current on the laundry as well.  The house also came with a double kayak and a dingy which also got used every day.
By eating almost all of our meals in and having entertainment right in our own backyard, we were able to save money and have a relaxing vacation.  As some of our children were still very young, we did not have to worry about them waking so early in the morning and disturbing other guests, as we were in our own home.  My husband and I were also were able to rent movies or watch cable television in the evenings once the kids were asleep while we munched on nachos or popcorn or sat outside together in the yard overlooking the ocean.  It was quiet and somewhat secluded and soon began to feel like home.
All of us have the fondest memories of "our" beach house.  It was the perfect accommodations for our family given that we would not have fit in a standard hotel room (at the time of the trip, there were seven people in our family) and that it allowed us to be able to relax by eating our meals in and going for walks along the beach and lazing around in the yard.  Also, traveling with young children at the time, one still in diapers, having our own place enabled us the space and freedom to truly unwind.
Though certainly not all vacation rental stories turn out as well as ours did, we were able to save money and have our own little piece of paradise.  For us, even if the home had not been right on the beach or exactly as described online, the price (compared to staying in hotel rooms and eating out) would have made it well worth it.  I think the important thing to remember when booking a vacation rental online is that it is always a risk and you cannot go into it expecting too much.  If something sounds too good to be true, chances are it is!  In our case, we were just incredibly lucky.  Perhaps the next time we book a vacation rental online, we will not be as lucky.  I'll be sure to let you know either way!

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