An Alternative to Hotels

I have come to the conclusion that hotels don’t work for my family of seven.

Actually I realized this a few of years ago when we started the 15+ hour drive from San Antonio to Denver in one day,  just to avoid spending the night in a hotel. We no longer fit in one room and two rooms are pricey. Ditto for suites in terms of price–and someone is still sleeping on the pull out couch that doesn’t work. And then there is the mini kitchen that is good for a bowl of cereal but not so good for any type of real meal.

VRBO

This past weekend Luke and Will had a class trip to Moody Gardens in Galveston, Texas and we decided to make a long weekend out of it. If I’m driving 4 ½ hours somewhere with seven people I’m staying longer than 24 hours there!

When I called to get room at the hotel, the reservation person, who was less than empathetic to my plight of needing affordable housing,  said that for my family we’d need TWO rooms. What?! Even at the reduced rate of $159 (sans taxes) two rooms was over $300 a night! A suite? Sure. $600 please.

Frustrated with the process and the price, I typed in www.homeway.com into my browser and scanned for a rental in Galveston that might work.

Best.Decision.EVER!

This charming cottage popped up and the reviews were glowing. I emailed the owner with a few questions and she responded right away. For slightly more than the price of one room at the hotel, I was able to book a place that slept (in real beds!) all seven of us, and included a full kitchen and wifi!

We arrived at the cottage late on Thursday night. The owner made it so welcoming with all of the lights turned on and a plate of homemade brownies on the counter and a half gallon of milk in the frig (plus oj for the next morning!). We immediately felt at home and welcomed!

Built in the early 1900’s, the original hardwood floors and wavy glass windows made the cottage feel like we were stepping back in time. The children had never really seen or stayed in a house this old and were immediately enchanted with its charms. While the renovations the owner had made, combined with the tasteful yet child-friendly decor, made it so easy to just relax.

This was one of two sitting areas in the rectangular front room.

charming cottage

My family (and mostly me) felt like we could just relax. Since we weren’t staying in a hotel or condo that had people above, below or next to us, I wasn’t constantly “shhing” my usually noisy crew or warning them to stay in the room! They wandered from room to room and outside on the front porch and fenced backyard.

Galveston Cottage

We spent most evenings, even the couple of evenings that it rained, on the long front porch. At one end were the adirondack chairs and at the other end a much enjoyed porch swing.

Galveston Cottage

Goodness the charm just didn’t stop–even with  the white picket fence!

Galveston Cottage

Next door to the house was lovely Garten Verein.

Verten Gardens

Combined with the beach a short 10 min walk away and a skateboard/playground/splashpad park also a quick walk, my family literally did not want to leave. In fact, Marc wanted me to call the owner and ask if she wanted to sell the place to us! (When you’re 10 years old buying a house is as easy as making a phone call!)

Have you tried Homeaway or VRBO yet?

 

 

 

 

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