Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Getting a good deal

Last November, we went to Florida to bring Cindy Jae back to her guide dog school and then we stopped back in Orlando for a little family vacation. When I was looking for somewhere to stay, I remembered that a friend had highly recommended, Vacation Rentals by Owner. We found a great condo in a great community and had a fabulous experience.

This July will find us *back* in Orlando (well, Kissimmee) for L's dance nationals. We have to be there for over a week, Mr. at Home will be working remotely, there will be lots of downtime between dance commitments - all things that mean a condo would be waaaay more comfortable than a hotel room, but potentially waaaay more expensive.

So I started researching both. Hotels could be very cheap, but there were lot of extra costs to think about. Extra charges for wifi. Having to go out for every meal. Living in one room for a week resulting in cabin fever/letting Dad work that would mean we'd have to go find something to do. Small pools. Less security. That "cheap" hotel room becomes expensive. I checked the same company we used back in November for the condo, but their rates put them out of our budget and they weren't really that expensive.

I hated to let go of the condo idea as it would be so much more convenient and I really liked the community we stayed in with it's huge pool with slides and fountains. I liked the nice play areas. I liked the idea of having more room (and rooms!), including a kitchen to cook our own meals and space for Mr. at Home to do his work in peace. So I found a website for the community where I could request info on rentals available.

After I submitted the request, my email went NUTS. Emails from property owners and managers with tons of available condos and townhomes for our dates. Prices were all over the board, but everything looked very nice and everyone was trying to outdo the others. We finally settled on a 3-bedroom, 2 bath, 2-story townhome with it's own "south-facing" splash pool. (I'm not sure what the appeal is of "south-facing" but several places were boasting of it.) The price is cheaper than most hotels, and in fact, was even cheaper than the rates they advertised on their website.

So because I asked, I got exactly the deal I wanted and I can stop worrying about securing a place to stay during the super-busy July 4th week. It's always a good idea to ask.

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