In 2008, I was planning a trip to NY and wanted an alternative to a $500 hotel shoebox. The pickins’ were slim. Fast-forward to recession-ridden 2010 and suddenly every investment banker and model is renting out their chic pad for a quarter of the price of a hotel room.
Where do I go to find my dream vacation rental? Well, there are a plethora of sites from Home Away to Craigs List. For those willing to open up their own homes to strangers, house swap sites such as Home Exchange also make it possible to travel in style without paying for it.
Do you get your money’s worth? Well, my experience has always been good. My family of three was recently in San Francisco and rented a house in Potrero Hill. Our place was a newly renovated 2- bedroom with a good size living room, kitchen, bathroom, and eating area for $180 US/night. The owner filled the house with age appropriate toys and left a food basket with babyfood for my daughter Nadia. The house came with a crib and highchair and the owner was so kind she even offered to look after our little one when our sitter didn’t show up. There were great restaurants nearby and a Wholefoods, so we were able to whip up a quick meal or two. We even entertained friends while we were there.
Many places can also provide the conveniences of a hotel for an additional fee: daily maid service, chef, sitters, etc. without the over-inflated price tag of a hotel.
Home Away (UK site)
Cottages 4 You (UK site)
Holiday Rentals (UK site)
Owners Direct (UK site)
*Note: Please check the local laws governing short-term rentals at the location where you are renting. Some cities, states, and countries do not allow short-term rentals or require owners to procure special permits.
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