Orlando Vacation Homes – Comparing Homes to Hotels

When staying in Orlando, you really do have a lot of choices … sort of. One of the big decisions that the travel sites and the travel books will alert you to is whether to stay on property or off.

And to be perfectly honest, Disney hospitality can be very nice. We like the hidden Mickeys and the themed swimming pools, but on our last trip to Disney World, my wife and I looked at each other and asked, “We paid $250 a night for that?”

A Little Perspective

Did you know that you can get a room at the The Waldorf-Astoria® for less than $250 a night? It comes with neato robes, too!

Florida Lemons

The fact of the matter is, you have many choices, and not all of them put you into 250 sq feet or so of living space.

I compiled this chart for a 1st week in March stay for a family of six …

                 Price/night      Sq. feet       Sleeps 

Doubletree          $ 168             608         4-6  

Holiday Inn         $ 190             485          6 

Caribe Royale       $ 166             500         4-6 

Caribe Royale 

(big suite)         $ 316           1,260          8 

Sheraton Vistana    $ 218         497-910          8 

Disney Value Resort $ 218 (2 rooms)   260          8 

Disney Moderate     $ 338 (2 rooms)   314          8 

Disney Deluxe       $ 578 (2 rooms)   400          8 

Beach Club Villas   $ 350           1,080          8 

3 BD/2 BA 

Vacation Home       $ 150           1,600          8

When you look at how much you pay, the hotel option leaves you wondering what the differences are.

Hotels – Tried and True

Hotels offer a standard quality of accommodation. They’re centrally located – and this is especially true in Orlando. Disney’s hotels are right on their property, and therefore the closest you can get to the “Magic.” However, they’re small, don’t offer cooking facilities, and it can be difficult to get off of Disney property easily (say, to visit another park).

The Vacation Home Alternative

Orlando boasts an amazing number of vacation homes. These are detached homes that are individually owned. They have full size kitchens, several bedrooms and bathrooms, and many have private pools and/or hot tubs.

You do need to have a rental car. The homes in Orlando are between 10 to 15 minutes away from the parks at Disney World. My vote is that it’s nice to get away in the evening to your own private home and pool, but some people prefer to be surrounded by the theme parks 24/7.

In addition, there is no room service at a vacation home. However, most homes are within several blocks of a grocery store, so stocking up on your favorite foods (both fast and not-so-fast) is easy.

For a family of six, these two differences add up to serious savings, both in terms of time and money. Having a car means we have choices in terms of getting to and leaving the parks. On a busy evening, we may choose to have dinner at one of the resort restaurants and pay for valet parking (or skip dinner and just pay for parking anyway). At the close of day, we can then skip the long monorail/bus/boat lines, and take the much shorter resort monorail.

In the morning, having a ready supply of breakfast foods means the younger members of our family don’t have to wait until everyone is showered and ready to go before being able to eat breakfast.


If you’re looking to take a group or a family larger than five people on a Disney vacation, and if having a rental car and a full size kitchen appeals to you, then you owe it to yourself to try a vacation home.

Owning a Poconos Vacation Home

Thinking of owning a second home?

Owning a Poconos vacation home is now easier than before because it is so affordable. The most you’ll probably pay for a property, whether mountain or lakeside, could cost between $85,000-125,000.

The Poconos offer homebuyers lots of pluses for their small investment. Imagine a visual bow of lakes and rivers, well-constructed roadways; close proximity to all that nature has to offer and easy access to shopping, dining and leisure activities.

In fact, The Wall Street Journal named the Poconos as one of the three top places to retire. And rightly so, because the living there is easy. Just imagine breathing in fresh air as you sit on the porch for a quiet chat with your family, with the birds on the ledge providing the musical score. There’s nothing more ethereal than hearing the rain doing a river dance on the rocks outside while you and your lover sit by the fireplace in silence.

Indeed, this is fine living at a price many can afford. Buyers can choose a particular area for their Poconos vacation home that suit their lifestyle and taste, whether it be in a gated community, an acre in the country or perhaps a town-styled neighborhood. The houses, which are either cabin-styled or cottages in the woods, are very spacious; some boast of having decks, a fireplace, skylights. Some owners have added whirlpool tubs and Jacuzzis.

With Pocono rentals, on the other hand, you also have a choice of cabin, house or cottage. One of the more popular rental homes charges $625 per week – or $100 per night — while others charge a fixed fee for half-year rental.

Vacation Home for Profit!

If you have a favorite vacation spot, you enjoy visiting; it is time to consider setting up a vacation home. There is a huge profit in Real-estate properties buying and selling properties is big business with huge returns if done right. Vacation rentals are also a nice way to have the best of both worlds. Purchasing a property as a vacation home and renting it for profit can bring in a nice cash flow if done correctly.

The first line of business would be to find a nice piece of real estate in an area you enjoy vacationing. Next is fixing it up and furnishing it to your level of comfort without putting too much high-end furniture in it. Keep your cost down by moving items you already have that are in pristine condition. Make sure you have all the comforts of home. If you still have little juniors, high-chair or buster-seat these are ideal to move into your vacation home.

The next decision you have to make is whether you want to manage the rental process yourself or get a management person with an established client base. There are hundreds of online places to market your property with more sites popping up each day. Vacation rental properties can bring in as much as $1,500.00 a week in the right area. One thing to remember is that most vacation rentals have a high and low season.

I was introduced to vacation rentals when I came across a condominium my cousin had for sale right in front of the beach in Dorado, Puerto Rico. When I first saw the place and the area, I immediately wanted it. The price she was offering it to me was right for the area. I had to have it and I really did spend at least two weeks out of the year in Puerto Rico, I love visiting the island. The banks were offering 100% financing, rates were down, and I did have some money saved up for a real-estate venture I was planning but had not found the right property. That is when I started looking at vacation rentals; my cousin’s daughter was renting her place out at least once each month. I did my homework and starting looking around for someone to manage the place for me since it was so far away from my principal residence in the states.

I found a young woman who had her own business and was managing a few vacation rentals in the area. We spoke a few times and I singed a contract with her to manage the place for me. A great source of information is this book: How to Rent Vacation Rentals by Owner, by Christine Karpinski.

I have been working for a Wall Street financial company for over thirty-five years and this was finally my paradise. I love staying in my little piece of paradise as I call it.

Belize Vacation Home Buyers Alert

Many vacation homes for sale in Belize are not listed in the traditional manner with a real estate agent/broker. They are on the market “For Sale By Owner”. Locating these property listings can be challenging, but well worth the trouble in monetary savings as well as finding your tropical vacation dream home in Belize.

In Belize, real estate agents are unregulated. On the island of Ambergris Caye, the most popular tourist destination in the country, there is no “Multiple Listing Service” (MLS), where the existing agents share information on the properties listed with their office. This creates an atmosphere where many agents only show their listings to prospective buyers. So the buyer, many times unaware of this practice, may buy a property that was not exactly what they wanted, but were told that there was nothing else available.

Another very important fact that most non-Belizean buyers are unaware of is the commission rates charged by the agent/brokers to the sellers. The normal commission on a home or property sale is 10%! You may think that as a buyer it doesn’t matter to you what the seller has to pay, but how do you think they pay it? By increasing the price of the home/property to you, the buyer.

For these reasons more and more owners in Belize are turning to selling their homes and properties themselves. With the internet becoming easier for anyone to use, the only challenge is to find these offerings. There are many commercial web-sites available servicing this growing need for “For Sale By Owner” exposure, as well as some newer, grass-roots sites such as:Ambergris Caye Underground Listings

I wish everyone good luck in finding their vacation deal of a lifetime.

Orlando Vacation Home Ownership

So you have selected an area – Orlando – entertainment capital of the world and home to Mickey Mouse and all his friends. First thing is to contact some realtors to show you around some properties. You should look for communities which are centrally located with easy access to all that Orlando has to offer and which welcome homeowners renting out their properties on the short term to holidaymakers.

Better quality furnishings last longer

Having chosen and bought your perfect property abroad, you must then (if it is a brand newly built house) turn your thoughts to furnishing it throughout. You would be well advised to stay neutral and select colours and styles, which will not go out of date too quickly and easily. Also it is not the best idea to pick any hues that are too outlandish or purely to suit your own personal taste. You wish your Orlando vacation villa to appeal to the broadest spectrum possible to ensure interest and repeat bookings for your vacation home, thus turning it into a profitable business venture.

With regards to furniture for the home, the cheapest may not always be the best in the long run. If the furniture is so cheap that it does not last and needs to be replaced regularly then this could prove to be a false economy. You may get longer life out of a slightly higher priced set of furniture.

Be careful when choosing a management company

You will need to turn your thoughts to some form of caretaker or management firm to look after your investment in your absence. Never just settle for the first or only one you speak to. Contact several as their styles (and prices) vary. These people will represent you if you do not live locally so they must be someone you can get along with and trust to look after your vacation rental villa in the manner you would like and expect.

Beware guaranteed rentals

Naturally a burning question on homeowner’s lips concerns bookings. A word of warning: – beware companies who “promise” you a set number of “guaranteed” bookings per annum. This promise is rarely upheld. Also do not rely heavily on family and friends to rent your Orlando vacation villa. The reality is whilst they may seem willing, extended family often look for a bargain and a reduced rental rate from the one you advertise and as you set up your new venture in the vacation rental market you are aiming to achieve maximum exposure in order to optimise your rental potential.

Finally, you want to do all you can to promote your Orlando vacation villa. You can do this through word of mouth, good photographs of your home, a website, advertising and subscribing to websites which display vacation rental properties to those wishing to rent a home in the sun.

If you put in the effort we are sure you will reap the rewards and see your vacation villa fill up with bookings – just remember to keep a couple of weeks for yourselves to enjoy all Orlando has to offer. After all your hard work, you’ll deserve the break!