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Vacation Rentals Rock!

08 July 2013

I LOVE vacations!
I know, I know, who doesn't, right?
I've dedicated much of my life to becoming a savvy vacation planner,
and I'm about to let you in on one of my biggest vacation planning secrets....

....vacation rentals.
{Did you know that July is National Vacation Rental month?!?}

What makes them so awesome, you ask?

1. You get more bang for your buck
2. Your friends & family can all stay under one roof {if you so choose}
3. You can do some of your own cooking and BBQing {hello $$ saving & fun memories}
4. Privacy!  You're not stuck in a hotel listening to your neighbors get frisky
5. Live like a local--you can rent in some great neighborhoods, shop at the local grocery store, and get a true "local" experience.

I've also learned about some pitfalls of vacation rentals, so let me just walk you through a few experiences I've had over the years.

Our first vacation rental was a brownstone in Central Park West, NYC.  I secured this property through a not-so-reputable website, and received an email a few weeks before our trip that the apartment we rented had the roof collapse during some heavy rain.  YIKES!  Fortunately, the guy offered us something comparable, which actually turned out to be an upgrade {thank the Lords.}  I remember having to write multiple personal checks to the dude (for deposits and such), which was a little sketch at the time.  We cooked our own breakfasts, found some great local pizza parlors in our 'hood, and enjoyed walking to our local subway station to get easy access to Times Square and all the tourist traps.

she might not look like much...but the location was killer!

a much younger version of us, enjoying a Yankees game during said NYC trip

Lesson: book through a reputable site, such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals that has a "Vacation Rental Bill of Rights" service pledge including quality standards (vetted rentals with accurate images), comprehensive customer service, and real-time payment & bookings.

We booked another vacation rental during our stay on Hamilton Island, Australia.  This was a HUGE money saver.  My friend Sara could stay with us and we each had our own bedroom.  We also saved mega-bucks by cooking our own meals.  We had a fabulous deck with a BBQ, so it was wonderful to cook dinner, with a vodka-cranberry in hand, while watching the sunset.  My only complaint was the terrible quality of the sheets.  We were paying over $200 per night, and we got the bedsheets from the Motel 6.  In fact, I think sandpaper would have been an improvement.  It was that redonk!

enjoying the fabulous deck at our Hamilton Island rental

Lesson: read reviews, and consider booking with a company that offers some hotel amenities {like housekeeping, concierge, and wifi}, while still getting the benefits of the vacation rental--the best of both worlds!

Lastly, we booked a vacation rental for Thanksgiving last year in Flagstaff, AZ.  My sister, brother-in-law, and their 2 kiddos drove in from Albuquerque; Jeff, the 2 dogs, and I drove in from LA; and my parents flew in from MI to join us.  The math=6 adults, 2 kids, 2 dogs...under one roof.  We got an awesome house with 3 bedrooms that each had their own master bath {apparently this is how the other half lives!}  We also had every kitchen gadget, pot, and pan needed to cook up a wonderful Thanksgiving feast.  Best of all, we had a fireplace to cozy up to at night...and we couldn't resist making s'mores in the fire.  The only bad part about this experience was trying to find a house to book. I contacted so many owners and didn't hear back.  Or they would write back and say it wasn't available, even though the calendar showed that it was.  I even booked through one site {entered credit card and everything}, only to receive an email 24 hours later that the booking was being cancelled because the property wasn't available.

how awesome is that fireplace?!?!

getting ready to cook Thanksgiving dinner in our SuperHero aprons,
pictured sans Dad who was taking the photo {shakily I might add}

Lesson: use a site with real-time payments & bookings.

So where should I go next?  If you can't already tell, I like the idea of booking with Wyndham Vacation Rentals.  They are currently offering 35% off nightly rates on bookings made in July, at

In the US, their properties range from private homes, resort condos, and villas in beach destinations such as Florida, South Carolina, Delaware, and Alabama's Gulf Coast, to mountain-side condos and luxury cabins in Colorado, Utah, Tennessee, and Idaho.

Maybe my next booking will be this beauty in Hilton Head, SC......

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


  1. We've never even considered doing something like this for a vacation - but I'm definitely interested in it now :) Thanks for posting about this.

  2. I want to go back on vacation already thanks to this lovely writeup. Thanks for the house renting tips. I love having a place that feels more like home when I'm away.

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  5. First of all i would like to thank you for the great and informative entry....Wow, that looks like a wonderful trip! I have not been to Spain but really want to go!

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