Vacation rentals are perfect for families that like to enjoy home-cooked meals

A family enjoying the kitchen in a Homeaway vacation rental
A family enjoying the kitchen in a Homeaway vacation rental

By Eileen Ogintz

The bet laid plans….

My husband, son and I had planned to visit Crested Butte, Co  where my daughter and her boyfriend live. She had asked my husband to join her competing in Crested Butte’s annual Chili cook off.

We planned to stay in a condo rented thru VRBO.com which my daughter knew would be  great bet for cooking 10 gallons of chili.

But less than a week before our trip, I fell down the stairs at home and broke nine ribs. We had to cancel the trip (no, I didn’t have travel insurance… I wish I had.)

My far flung family loves to cook when we are together on vacation so we like to stay in condos where we can spread out, mix our own drinks, not pay $$$$ for a glass of wine or a martini, and enjoy homemade meals—whether chili and just baked corn bread, spaghetti bolognese, or steaks cooked over the condo grill.

A vacation rental kitchen that can feed the entire familyMel after winning the Crested Butte Chili Cookoff for Best Amateur Chili
A vacation rental kitchen that can feed the entire familyMel after winning the Crested Butte Chili Cookoff for Best Amateur Chili

We especially like the option to “eat in” during annual family ski trips. We used to think condos were the ticket when the kids were young and too pooped after a day on the slopes to do more than move from the couch to the table for dinner.

Now, they are grown and just as pooped from skiing the steepest terrain they can find and still don’t want to do more than move from kitchen to couch, this time with a beer in hand. To watch a movie or play a board game.

We like the option of not having to wait to be served in a restaurant for breakfast, especially after it has snowed, so those who can’t wait to hit the slopes when there’s fresh snow can head out for first tracks.

I was surprised to learn that according to Homeaway.com, people typically book condos for snow vacations by the end of October.

I also learned that according to a new HomeAway survey, family reunions around the world continue to remain popular—more than half  of those surveyed saying they had attended a reunion in the last two years. Sixty percent said they had traveled more than 100 miles to get there with most people either staying with family members or in a vacation rental. Planning and booking typically starts a year or more out.

HomeAway, with more than two million properties in 190 countries, says you can rent twice the space at half the price of a hotel room. It makes sense that the earlier you book, the more choice you will have.

In fall and summer, there’s the extra plus of perusing local farmer’s markets and being able to “cook local,” in the spirit of the trendiest farm-to-table restaurants. Many in ski country suggest there is no better place to enjoy fall foliage biking, hiking and of course, cooking.

Mel after winning the Crested Butte Chili Cookoff for Best Amateur Chili
Mel after winning the Crested Butte Chili Cookoff for Best Amateur Chili

I’m pleased that I am on the mend, albeit slowly and painfully, and that my daughter Mel Yemma won the chili cook off, with some long distance advice from my husband Andy. She promises to cook it for us next time we’re all together in a vacation condo.

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