Gathering the family rates high on any mother’s wish list but the experience improves when she doesn’t do the hosting herself. Even when you and the family promise to do all the work, mom may find it hard to sit still in her own home. After all, she knows where the roasting pan is stored, what closet contains the extra pillows and how to open the window that sticks in the guest bedroom. Not to mention that prior to your arrival, she makes space in the closets, purchases groceries and childproofs her home for the grandkids.
With a vacation rental, mom can forget about the prep work, the entertaining and also the cleaning up. She gets to be a guest at her own party. Another bonus: early May, which is typically still in-between season in many areas, means good values on rental homes and condominiums.
Here are some planning tips:
Pick a destination with activities mom likes. Is she a golfer? Then consider Hilton Head, South Carolina; Palm Springs, California; or Myrtle Beach, South Carolina—places known for the quality and diversity of their courses. Does she prefer beach strolls? Look for rentals in South Walton and Destin, Florida, as well as Bethany Beach, Delaware; the Outer Banks, North Carolina; and the Gulf Coast of Alabama. Does mom like hiking? In May, wildflowers lace the slopes of Park City, Utah and Beaver Creek, Colorado.
Book a big enough rental. The larger the rental home, the less tension there’s likely to be. Make sure it comes with enough bedrooms and bathrooms so that sharing is limited and family members have enough space to be both together and apart. This rule applies even if just you and your sister take mom away for the weekend.
Decide who pays for what ahead of time. As an added gift to mom, don’t get her involved in the finances. Figure out ahead of time how rental fees, groceries, activities and even the cost of the rental car, if any, will be shared.
Celebrate mom with a special meal. Take advantage of the kitchen facilities in your vacation rental home to surprise mom with a special dinner. Decide ahead of time what to cook, who will be the chef and who cleans up—and bring any special condiments or ingredients with you, so you don’t have to search for them in unfamiliar food stores.
Make mom the star. Videotape her talking about her life, including her childhood and her friends. Have each member of the family appear on camera asking mom a question. The video serves as a meaningful souvenir of the trip, and as the years pass, a treasured keepsake.
Start your search for the perfect rental home for mom here.