January 10, 2013

Travel Planning Week - Renting a Vacation Home

Photo via Haven in Paris
When you are traveling with a family or a group, it's often less expensive and more convenient to rent a house, condo or apartment.  While you may give up amenities such as daily housekeeping and concierge service, you gain so much more space with common areas where everyone can gather.

Having three children, I usually found it easier and more cost effective to rent a home or condo for family vacations when they were growing up. It's also nice to have a kitchen and living room to gather everyone together, and you can save on the cost of  some meals by buying basic groceries to keep in the kitchen.

47 Park Street - London

The best way to find a vacation home is through a direct referral from friends or family who have already stayed at the home. If that is not possible, I find that renting through a central posting site or a local realtor is preferable to renting directly through an owner you do not know (for example answering an ad on Craigslist)  -  the booking sites and realtors standardize their information and provide reviews from previous renters.

Ritz Carlton Club in Jupiter, Florida

Some of the nicest vacation rentals are often through luxury fractional ownership "destination" clubs - these are similar to timeshares but are managed by five star hotel chains such as Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton or St Regis. Owners purchase a fraction of the year, usually one month, for their personal use.   These residences offer the best of both worlds- five star hotel amenities and two to three bedroom full service homes or condos. I do not own one of these, but I have rented them on numerous occasions. Sometimes you can book directly through the club themselves, but you also can often find rentals available on the major posting sites below. Some of the ones I love and highly recommend are the Ritz Carlton Clubs in St. Thomas, Jupiter, and San Francisco, The Four Seasons Residence Club in Aviara, California and 47 Park Street (Grand Residences by Marriott) in London.
Oceanfront home in Outer Banks via Twiddy

Here are a few helpful sites to book homes both in the US and abroad:

Large Rental Posting Sites -

HomeAway  is also known as VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owners).  I have used this site a lot to book both residence clubs as mentioned above and also private homes and condos. They have over 300,000 homes available for rent all over the world. They offer online availability calendars to check rates and available dates.

FlipKey  is owned by Trip Advisor, Flipkey offers 170,000 vacation homes located in over 7,000 cities throughout the world. The staff of Flipkey verifies each owner so you know you can trust the person you are renting from. I have not used Flipkey but have heard good things about them.

Area Specific Rentals -

Haven In Paris has properties in Paris, London, Tuscany and Provence.  I have never used them but I love to read their blog! Their apartments look amazing!
One Fine Stay's tagline is "Live Like a Local" and offers flat rentals all over London. Some of them are classic British and others are very hip.
Italy Perfect offers rental homes and apartments in Rome, Florence, Tuscany, Venice and Amalfi. Sounds perfect to me!
Twiddy is a local realtor in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My all time favorite vacation rental is through them. I would be remiss in not mentioning Twiddy because I love the Outer Banks so much and renting a beach house is the only way to go there.
Nashaquisset is the perfect place to rent a home in Nantucket if your pockets are not lined with gold. Nashaquisset is a quintessential Nantucket neighborhood with many different houses available to rent. It's not on the beach, but the neighborhood has it's own pool and tennis courts.
Luxury Destination Clubs (that may have direct rentals or search HomeAway or FlipKey for these properties) -
Ritz Carlton Destination Club has locations in Jupiter,Florida; Lake Tahoe, California; Bachelor Gulch, Colorado; Aspen Highlands, Colorado; Vail, Colorado; San Francisco, California; and St. Thomas, USVI.
Four Seasons Residence Club has locations in Aviara, California; Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica; Florence, Italy;Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Punta Mita, Mexico; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Vail, Colorado
St. Regis Residence Club has locations in New York City and Aspen, Colorado.
Marriott Grand Residence Club has locations in London, England; Lake Tahoe, California; Kauai Lagoons, Hawaii; and Panama City, Florida.


Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good heavens, you are finding the most lovely places to GO! Anita

miss b said...

Interesting post and I agree that with small children renting a villa or appartment is a very practical idea. I love the last property with those amazing views.

My Crafty Home Life said...

We have never rented a home. I am afraid It wouldn't feel like a vacation for me....same job, different location. Now that the kids are older, we should revisit this. Thanks for all the great tips.

The enchanted home said...

Great post! I am definitely going to bookmark this post, its so chockfull of great information. And agree when you are traveling with a family this is the way to go!

trishie said...

How beautiful are these holiday rentals! Stu and I sometimes rent vacation homes when travelling around Australia because it's self contained and we like to be able to cook some meals instead of eating out all the time.

Sandy at You May Be Wandering said...

Linda, you would love the Ritz Carlton Club rentals...twice daily maid service is included!!!

Chelsea Richards said...

Wow! Two thumbs up! This surely gives me the idea of the thought “a home away from home”… XOXO:D.. Looking forward for any updates and new thoughts that you might want to share… Cheers!

Tony Burnell said...

Beautiful furniture and interior design.Instead of staying in a hotel during your vacation, you may want to consider renting a vacation home on your next trip. There are a lot of benefits to renting a home instead. Besides the fact that homes are almost inevitably larger, they offer many of the conveniences of your own home, such as the ability to cook, large areas to hang out, and enough bedrooms for your entire family instead of all sharing one from the same large room.


Click in said...

If you want to spend quality time in Italy’s best tourist spots within a limited budget, it would be a wise decision for you to hire a vacation rental, as it will be the easiest way to enjoy and have a complete fun experience.

Real Estate Services in Toronto said...

All are just superb and it’s very tough for me to find the best option. The one i just love thoroughly is 47 Park Street - London. Keep blogging

Rentals in Toronto

Robert Chacon said...

I am so happy to read your article here. Very refreshing and new to me!keep going.

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Ana said...

Wow, those are some beautiful apartments indeed! Yeah, staying in an apartment instead of a hotel room definitely gives you a different feel for your trip or vacation. I have tried the experience before and I can recommend it. Now, going to a hotel just doesn't work for me the way it used to. Living like a local is the best way to get in touch with the place's spirit and soul. I highly recommend it. I had some great experience in NY when I rented an apartment that I found at http://www.magicrentals.com/ and I would definitely do it again!

Dave said...

Yes agreed.

This is one of the best parts of traveling. being in a home and feeling the destination you are visiting as if you live there.

I also love browsing through the site "Rent Getaways," very beautiful properties to book with excellent service and pricing.

Im thinking about where in mexico to book my next vacation now. Decisions, decisions... :)

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