Life seems suited to a family of four. A family of four can fit comfortably in a mid-size sedan and four is the maximum occupancy for a hotel room. Many daily deal site deals are created for the family of four.

So what happens when you travel and are a family of five?

Last year we discovered that meant either renting a hotel suite or renting two rooms, neither of which is easy on the pocketbook. Our kids are also quite young so we don’t want them in their own hotel room, and with our family’s dairy and soy intolerances we need to bring all of our food with us when we travel. Since refrigerators are not a standard feature of most hotel rooms, it has become clear to us that if we want to save money and travel comfortably, we have to think outside of the box.

We tried a vacation rental by owner this spring and found that it worked well for us. Our only complaint was that we had to clean so thoroughly before we left and that many parts of the condo were outdated.

Another option that we are interested in trying is a timeshare rental by owner. Until recently I thought timeshares were just available for purchase, but it turns out there is a thriving rental market too. The person who owns the timeshare may not be able to use it on their specified week, so rather than losing their money, they rent out their timeshare much like many homeowners rent out their second homes as vacation rentals when they aren’t using it.

Unlike our experience with a VRBO, from the looks of it most timeshares are not out-of-date. Timeshare rentals are available at gorgeous resorts and the rental units usually include the most modern appliances and furnishings.

One thing we really liked about our VRBO is that the kids had room to play and spread out as compared to a small hotel room. The same would be true for a timeshare rental which can have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, a full kitchen and spacious living areas. For a larger family or a family that needs to cook many of their meals like we do, renting a timeshare may be a terrific alternative.

One thing we are excited about with staying in a timeshare is the additional amenities that would be available to us that aren’t available in most vacation rentals by owner. Timeshares are located on gorgeous resort properties, so we could enjoy things like swimming pools, health clubs, and golf courses. For those who do dine out on their vacations, there are on-site restaurants at these timeshare resorts too.

Now that we know you can rent a timeshare or use a VRBO for less than a hotel suite, giving us more room and a full kitchen, we will likely never go back to staying in a regular hotel suite again.

Has anyone ever rented a timeshare before? How does it compare to the VRBO experience?

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