Home Away From Home

How do you book a vacation?  Do you pick a place then search online for good flight and hotel deals?  Me too- until a year ago.

The first time we rented someone’s private apartment was last October in Cannes, France.  It was a spacious three bedroom place located on Rue d’Antibes, one of the city’s premier shopping destinations.  I’m not exactly sure how we found it (a friend who shared the place with us handled the arrangements) but it was an excellent deal, very comfortable, and ideally located.

Here are a few photos of the place-

We decided to rent another private residence on our recent trip to Hawaii.  This time we used VRBO.  It stands for “Vacation Rentals by Owner” and it’s probably the best thing that’s happened to vacations since frequent flier miles.

We scored a one bedroom, two bathroom condo in Maui for under $150/night.  That’s at least $100/night less than any of the surrounding resorts.

It offered all the comforts of home (our own bathrooms, a full kitchen, free wifi) plus the luxuries I anticipate on a luxurious tropical vacation (king sized bed, spectacular views).  Here are a few photos of that place-

Nice and homey, right? From start to finish, it was a wonderful experience.  We corresponded directly with the owners and they were able to accommodate our specific travel dates.  The place looked just like the photos and there was a local contact available in case of emergencies.

I highly recommend using VRBO to get a great deal for your next trip.  Just a couple of things you should know before booking:

  • As private residences, the rentals don’t include daily housekeeping services
  • Unlike hotels, they don’t provide toiletries so make sure to pack your own or plan to purchase some when you arrive at your destination.

We will definitely vacation this way again.  Even though the accommodations aren’t as luxurious as fine hotels, they’ve always been very clean, comfortable, and way more economical.

Have you ever vacationed this way?  What was your experience like?


About how bout some cake

I'm a 20-something woman with an insatiable thirst for adventure. I love red wine, chocolate cake, and comments from my lovely readers.
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15 Responses to Home Away From Home

  1. AJ says:

    Very cool idea. I really want to go to Greece and looked at some rentals. My sis is also going to Hawaii for her honeymoon, so I passed this along to her! Thanks!


  2. Rachel says:

    I rarely go on vacations, but I do think that this is a great idea. I guess I never thought of renting before!

    Life Unsweetened

  3. wow too cool, what a lovely place and hope you guys had a great time! xO!

  4. Alyssa says:

    This is such a cool idea! Obviously, I’ve know about it from movies like The Holiday but I’ve never looked much into doing it myself. I have a few friends at work who have done it in places like Europe (they swapped houses, so people stayed in their NYC apartments) and loved it!

    The Glossy Life

  5. arayofsun says:

    I hadn’t heard of VBRO but recently used airbnb.com for a trip to New York. It’s basically the same deal people create profiles of their apartments for rent and give a fee which is usually pretty cheap. My friends and I stayed in a two bedroom flat in the East Village for maybe $100 each for three days/nights. It was sort of weird because we slept in their beds and used their kitchen so we basically felt like we were them! They also left all of their valuables laying around which was awfully brave of them! Overall it was a great experience!

  6. jennacwest says:

    A couple nights ago, my boyfriend’s dad was looking at this same website and wanted to get a private residence in Costa Rica or other places throughout the states. Nothing has been finalized yet but I think it will be a completely different (in a good way) experience staying in a private residence than in a hotel. I cannot wait to see if we will be taking a trip this way!

  7. Donna Pugliese says:

    Well…you know this story. When we rented an apartment to visit you in Barcelona, we realized that there can be some challenges when traveling internationally. Mainly that we didn’t know how to operate any of the appliances. Washing machine, toaster, etc. But the most disconcerting fact was that you realize the questions one might not think to ask…like is there a door on the bathroom?! That’s right…just a few decorative chains hanging in the bathroom door. Not ideal for a mother traveling with two teenage sons!! Go ahead and call me an uptight American, but the boys weren’t too delighted with it either!

    We recently used airbnb in Italy and were very satisfied. We met a young woman who uses airbnb to rent out her spare bedroom, while she is still home. What we didn’t know about these services is that you can use them for stays of even one night.

    • HAHA! I forgot about the Barcelona experience! Although, I also stayed in an Amsterdam hotel where the bathroom didn’t have a door. So I guess the real take-away is that you never know what you’re gonna get in Europe!

  8. I usually go to Marbella where my family have a 2nd home! You should visit Marbella I’m sure your would like it a lot! Xoxo

  9. I’ve looked into a VRBO rental in St. John but the idea scares me. I worry that the place I’m looking at may not be “real” and I would hate to get there only to realize I’m on an island without lodging… 😦 Sounds like it has worked for you, so I may just have to try it next time! Thanks, Rachel.

  10. You’re such a genius. Maybe I can convince John to go to Hawaii with me now since I can save us a little cash with these tips?? 🙂


  11. Pingback: Jumping In | Pictures & Plane Tickets

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