Rental Apartments Vs. Hotels

One of the potential pitfalls to traveling with children is being cooped up in a small hotel room, tiptoeing around the room while they sleep or keeping all the lights out while you’d rather be doing something else. We have nearly given up on hotels when we travel because of these downsides. Instead, we have found it is more economical and spacious to rent an apartment, something the web has made quite simple.

Imagine these choices: get a hotel room in Buenos Aires for $150 a night with limited space and requires eating all your meals out, or spend about $120 a night for a two-bedroom two-bath apartment with a kitchen, living room and beautiful views which offers all the freedoms of living at home while traveling. You can imagine which one we chose. We have rented apartments in Vancouver, BC, Turks and Caicos, and Buenos Aires and have never regretted it. Apartments are often rented by a management company which provides additional services such as 24-hour emergency assistance, concierge services, and transportation.

In Buenos Aires, our daughter had her own room complete with crib arranged by the rental agency, and space for her to toddle around while we could read on the couch or use the wireless internet connection. Argentina is a perfect place to find a rental for your stay. There are many interesting parts of Buenos Aires, and easy access to supermarkets and restaurants makes choosing an affordable place to stay relatively simple.

We usually start looking for an apartment on the Vacation Rentals By Owner website, which has listings for apartments and homes all over the world. Many of the listings will link to a rental agency with their own website, which provided a good launching point for research. Other recommendations came from forums on Frommer’s website, which led us to ApartmentsBA.com. This is a well-regarded company with many rental options and helpful additional services such as arranging airport transportation and tracking down a Pack-and-Play (apparently not an easy task). The apartment we chose was half a block from a beautiful park where dog walkers being towed by 15 dogs at once entertained our daughter. It was also easy to walk 3 or 4 blocks to two different supermarkets, half a block to the laundromat (never more than US$5 a load), or countless banks and ATM’s. Most apartment buildings in Buenos Aires also have security guards, and our night watchman was friendly and helpful as well.

Our trip to Argentina provided a perfect contrast in lodging to reinforce our belief that renting an apartment is the best way to go. We chose to overnight in Mexico City on the way to avoid a red-eye flight, and the cramped quarters, hassle of getting a crib, and tiptoeing in the dark were good reminders of the benefits of more space in an apartment.

Have you had good (or bad) experiences renting your accommodations when traveling internationally? Any tips or good companies to work with?

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