I don’t think I have ever met anyone who has never been to Florida at some point in their lives. We always did the tourist “thing” as kids and later when our kids were very young, stayed a local resort to Disney to see Magic Kingdom, Epcot Centre, Typhoon Lagoon…. It was always a big pleaser for the children, and we had fun as grown-ups too.
In the last couple of years we had the opportunity to expand our vacation experience and stay at a privately owned condo rentals, and then a timeshare. The experiences were both a lot of fun, but very different. Sharing them is hopefully going to help families make decisions about their next get-away during the cold and wintery months.
Condos and so many of them! There are 100’s if not 1000’s of condos to choose from in Florida for weekly and monthly or even seasonal rentals. And you wouldn’t believe it, but a lot of Canadians have bought condos as investments after the big Hurricane hit the southern US and the real estate market bottomed out. They stay there for a few months at a time, and then rent them out the rest of the year to other fellow Canadians travelling in Florida. The best ones for families are located close to the beach and will often have a swimming pool for the building residents. Laundry in the unit is always best to have for families. And they generally will come equipped with a useable and stocked kitchen, one to two bathrooms, more two sometimes three bedrooms, and a balcony. If you’re lucky you’ll get an ocean view. I often suggest you opt for one that is not too high up for safety with young kids. *One thing to remember, there are a lot of condo complexes that do not allow children. Make sure you ask. We had a not so pleasant experience renting from a retired Canadian couple that didn’t know we had kids and the seniors in the building raised a fuss with the superintendant. A “No Kids” Policy is quite common in certain types of buildings.
Private Beach House Villas are your ideal luxury for vacation rentals. Beyond the obvious large size and being situated on the beach, you’d also be impressed to know that for the right amount of $$$ some even come equipped with your own housekeeper and chef for the week. No, sadly, we’ve never had the pleasure of affording such an incredible experience, but I did have a boss a few years’ back that surprised his wife with a 25 year anniversary at just such an excursion. He said it was like being a celebrity. Upon arrival the housekeeper had drinks for them both on the terrace overlooking the ocean. The private chef had prepared a delightful dinner that first evening. They had a hot tub on site, private gym, a large games room, and enough food and liquor for the week that made it very difficult to go home! These types of vacation rentals are not easy to afford, so make sure you do your homework and know what the total cost is. Remember, you have to get there too, so don’t forget about your travel expenses.
Then there are Timeshares. Many people do not know what they are and cannot really wrap their mind around the idea of “buying a share” of something. They are actually becoming more and more popular now with cottage resorts in Canada. It makes having a cottage experience possible, without the hassle and expense of year long maintenance. Well, in Florida, it’s the same thing, only you are more often in “Condo-Style” buildings, usually no more than 4 or 5 floors high, in a very large and secure compound. There are usually pools and sports on site. 24 hour Security is also accessible, as well as laundry, linens are provided, and most units come completely equipped like any condo home would be, for cooking and living. There are a smaller sized shops located within the compound. And often you have access to “resort” style services at the main reception area that will enable you and your family to buy into packages that are within a drive’s reach of enjoyment, i.e. Disney, Epcot, Daytona, Swamp Tours, you name it. The possibilities are endless. Timeshares offer a unique experience to the busy family, that does not have time to plan, and likes the idea of someone else looking after the details. Many of these timeshares are purchased by one couple or family, and then they are offered up through-out the year as an option for a vacation rentals.
Whatever your preference, you can count on Florida to provide you a nice vacation for you and your loved ones, with gorgeous weather, US currency, and ample options for the buffet lover. Just take some time to understand what your needs are and have a look on www.cottageme.com for your perfect search and discovery. Good luck hunting!Author: SweetMarie
October 12, 2012