The week after Christmas was busy for the Kordatzky Family. We had family visitors in town from Wisconsin and North Carolina, and instead of packing everyone into our little house, we decided to get a rental 5 miles away using HomeAway.com.
My husband kept calling it a condo from the moment we booked it.
“Honey,” I told him, “it’s not a condo. I’m pretty sure it’s far from that.”
But alas, he insisted on calling it a condo, and then he stopped–as soon as he walked into the space.
Wood-panelled walls greeted us upon arrival, a crowded living room was smashed with three futons, and green plastic shelves were placed strategically throughout the rental. The kitchen was fine, but it wasn’t as spacious as we had perceived it to be. The bathroom was well supplied with towels and working plumbing, but the heater looked to need replacing and all the towel racks were well above my head including the one for a hand towel.
It had three spacious bedrooms; two of them with sleep number beds although one did seem to not work properly. And it was warm. Very warm, in fact which was nice because our house is not known for retaining heat, and with family from North Carolina, the warmth was very welcome on the bitter cold days after Christmas (the North Carolinians were able to escape the artic BLAST by leaving on Sunday morning).
It was nice not to have twelve people packed into our house for four days. And it was nice to have a bigger kitchen to use besides our little galley kitchen. It was especially nice to be able to be warm, and it was clean. Most importantly we were together.
However, I came away from this experience with a few of recommendations.
- If you are going to rent from Homeaway.com or other sites like this, and you have the ability to look at the space in person, do it before making any financial committments. Like I said, it wasn’t bad, but it was a bit crowded–much less room than we were hoping for.
- If the owners ask a favor of you like showing the space while you are occupying it (hypothetically, of course), and it’s going to disrupt your plans, be upfront about it. I am so Minnesotan (married to a family of other upper Midwesterners) and instead of just saying that it would bother us, I grumbled and shot them an email saying, “sure! This is when we will be out of the rental….” I should have said, “That’s not going to work for us because we are coming and going throughout the day.” I suggest being completely honest. What’s the worst that could happen? They never rent to you again? I highly doubt that would happen.
- If you are uncertain about a property because of its location, it’s photos, or other reasons and you are unable to personally see the space, it’s okay to go with your gut. Unless it’s the last space available (which for us, it basically was), there will be other choices, and it’s okay to say no.
- If you are dissatisfied with the accommadations, make sure you contact the property owners to let them know. But be kind. More than likely, they are managing many properties or this is their personal home. Either way, they need to know about your experience to make necessary changes for the future. (Disclaimer: I have yet to do this).
- Remember what’s most important is being together. My husband and I have stayed in some pretty interesting places, together and not together, and I can tell you that the times we were together were much better and more memorable/special than the times we have been apart.
Our time together was fantastic making some great memories and celebrating the season and family. It meant so much that everyone came to visit us in Minnesota, and it was a blast taking them to places around town that we have featured on Family Fun Twin Cities. Ultimately, I am glad we were able to find room and more space for everyone at a “decent” rate, and we were able to learn so much from this experience.
images courtesy of Ruhama Kordatzy Bahr