I love staying in hotels when I travel. I often think of it as a glimpse into the world of luxury where I have a personal maid and a chef cooking for me each night when I go out. The only problem is it often comes with a steep price tag. The other downside is that in most instances hotel rooms do not provide any home-like essentials such as cooking areas and supplies or a living room to lounge in.
You may be surprised to know this BUT there is a way to combine the best of both worlds. You can have a getaway that not only provides that sense of “no-responsibility” but also allows you to feel right at home at the same time. I’m here to tell you how!
There is a website called VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner). This webpage is dedicated to rental houses that are booked out by their owners. The site claims to have over 540,000 vacation rentals listed worldwide. Once you select your country you can start to search on more advanced settings to find particular city, region, or town you would like to stay in. Owners often post their availability calendars, house details, photos, and of course owner contact information for rental inquiries. Did I mention that in many instances these rentals (Which quite often are a whole house!) can be cheaper than a typical hotel stay??
I have used the site before with great success (A trip to Lake George, NY) and my latest trip was no exception. A group of friends and I decided to put together a relaxing ski getaway to the Poconos this winter. I combed through dozens of houses before settling on this rental in Lake Harmony, PA.
The owner was both responsive and greatly informative leading up to our trip. I asked a dozen questions and I always received a timely and friendly response. The owner also went out of her way to send me little extras like information on upcoming events for the weekend of our stay, things to do in the area, and even a bit of background on her and the family and their stays at the house. I thought the personal touches were both thoughtful and also put the group at ease about staying in a “stranger’s” house once we knew a little more about them!
When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised. The house details explained that the house was slope side and overlooked the lit up trails of Big Boulder Mountain. The picture that paired with the description on the website did not truly capture what a view this was-just awesome! We were able to sit in the living room with the fireplace going and just look out onto the mountain and take in the view. The website pictures also did not provide justice for the cozy ski chalet that this was. The owners had perfectly decorated and you truly felt right at home. We brought our own food to cook for most meals to save some money and every cooking utensil and or/ pot and pan you could have needed were already on site. All we had to do was bring the actual food.
The best part about this type of rental is that the cleaning is included in the price. So similar to a hotel (With a few tiny exceptions like turning the heat up/down and locking up upon arrival and departure) you get to enjoy the luxury of someone cleaning up after you! I mentioned earlier that these houses can often times be less expensive than hotels. Well, my 3 day rental total came to less than what I would pay for 1 night in a mediocre hotel (3 Days!! and I had an entire house to lounge in). **Please note that I am referring to what I paid as an individual in the group that stayed, not for the entirety of the rental. But it is still an amazing deal!
If you have not used VRBO yet for a vacation or getaway I highly recommend you checking it out! They have every style and size house you can think of. If you are interested in a ski getaway I would definitely look into the house we stayed at which sleeps up to 10 people. It will not disappoint.
My next VRBO vacation is coming up in March in Cape May for a bachelorette party and I’m looking forward to what I hope will be another great stay using this service!