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Did you know that the best time to plan your next vacation is right after you return from your last vacation?  Not only does planning ahead save you money, but the reality of returning to your daily routine after a nice vacation can be a bit of a downer sometimes, so this gives you something to look forward to again.  Plus, right after returning from a vacation, you have a clearer idea of what you did or did not like and what you might want to do differently next time.

Whether you are trying to decide if you want to spend your next vacation on a waterfront, a beautiful beach, or near a small town, you might want to consider lodging at somewhere other than the typical hotel chain. Actually, renting can be the easy and stress free way for you to save both time and money.

Unlike impersonal hotels, often vacation rentals include many make-you-feel-at-home conveniences.   Especially for those of you that want a break from being around crowds and strangers, and if you love your privacy, staying at a private rental means you are always first in line, get to pick the best seat in the house, and you don’t have to share anything with strangers.

While it is fun to eat out, eating in when you are on vacation can be quite the cozy treat, too.  Many vacation beach rentals come with fully-equipped kitchens, which can be a little nicer than having to ask a hotel’s concierge desk for a tiny fridge, microwave, or toaster oven, which they may not have handy or available for an extra charge anyway.

Even if you aren’t the greatest cook, dining-in has its benefits.  Unlike a restaurant, when you cook your own feed, you will know the ingredients in your meal, e.g.,, how they are prepared, and how fresh they are.  You can even stretch your food budgets by cooking ahead or saving leftovers to enjoy the next day for a quick bite before heading out.  And, no tipping needed.

In some areas, you can even get on-site grocery delivery from local grocery chains that offer than service by ordering online in advance.  Ask about it.

There are other benefits to the dining-in experience, too.  You can choose your own background entertainment whether it is romantic music, a movie, or any combination.  Private conversations remain private to just those in the room.  If you invite friends over, it is easier to get up and “work the table.”  Turn up or turn down the A.C.  Get dressed up, or don’t.   Feel free to unbuckle your pants, take your shoes off, put up your feet, or whatever you want to make you and your guests feel comfortable, like at home.

When planning your next vacation, get clear on which amenities are important to you.  Research which vacation rental options are available at the property you are interested in.  To get started consider properties like these Balboa Beach rentals in Northern California.

Helen Hoefele is a professional content writer who enjoys writing on a variety of topics. Follow her: @figmentations.