Get Outta Town! Vacation in a Whole House, For Less?!

Awwww man! It pains me that I lost the photos from this post from 2008. Since then we actually LIVED in 2 AirBnB’s for 4 months while we finished building our current home. So, we’re still big believers in VRBO, AirBnB and more!

Due to the size of our family, we can’t stay in just one hotel room. When the kids were little, we could just stick one of them in a playpen and two could share a bed. Not anymore. Besides, I never liked doing that. I can barely sleep away from home anyway, but if I’m stuck in a hotel room with other people I spend most of the night listening to snores and being interrupted by various breathing patterns. As a mom, I sleep with one eye and both ears open anyway, but the closeness of a single hotel room puts me on full alert. I find myself being irritated by everyones noise and paranoid when it changes or stops. Then I wonder if whoever stopped snoring or breathing weird is ok. In short, I don’t sleep. I’m up putting a mirror in front of the kids mouths to see if they’re still breathing. The next morning everyone looks bright and shiny and I look like I slept on a park bench, with attitude to match.

So, when my brother was getting married he told us we could stay in a hotel where he and his fiancee had reserved a ton of rooms for the wedding party and out of town guests. I totally panicked. I called the hotel and they could get us two rooms…they just wouldn’t be close to each other. I wanted to be a nice, normal person at my baby brother’s wedding and I knew I couldn’t do that with my park bench look and attitude that would come from sleeping in the same room with my kids and down the hall from my husband. Plus, I need down time, spread out time, get the heck away from me everyone time. This is how I found VRBO = Vacation Rentals By Owner.

I must have done some paranoid, anxious searching to go from having only stayed in hotel rooms/condos and mountain cabins to finding VRBO. I’d never even thought of renting a whole house, which is weird since I’d stayed in fully furnished cabins and condos. Somehow my travel thinking compartmentalized “cabin” to mountain and “condo” to beach…and hotel room to “Disney”. I had not made the mental connection to “rent a house wherever you go”. I was really excited when I booked my 1st house with VRBO. A great 2 story house with wrap around porches on the bay right on the water with it’s own dock. Awesome!!! Our family had room to spread out and I was still able to attend my brother’s wedding and act as normal as is my ability. Though instead of worrying so much about everyone’s breathing I was concerned about tsunami’s and robbers. (I have wave nightmares. Stupid for someone who learned to swim in the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, bay could hardly equal tsunami…just don’t try and help…it’s my thing. And…you get the robber thing, right? Whatever.)

What’s great about my experiences with VRBO so far is this:

  • Plenty of room to spread out as compared to hotel rooms
  • Full kitchen with pots, pans (The last place I stayed even had some condiments and chilled drinks for us.)
  • The places I stayed had washers & dryers

But the best thing is:

  • It costs me less per night than a hotel room!

Ok, maybe you stay in really inexpensive hotel rooms with zero amenities. Then you are not going to be impressed with my savings. However, in the 2 places I’ve stayed I’ve spent under $230 a night for 5 people. Actually, the rates were about $200 a night, but there is usually a non-refundable cleaning fee (approx. $150) associated with VRBO rentals and also usually a refundable deposit. Most hotels in the places I’ve stayed were running about $225 a night or more and I was going to need 2 rooms. Now, I am talking about Marriott’s and the like. For the same or less, I was staying in a whole house where each kidlet had their own room. Awesome. Relief! Plus, we’re saving on food by eating some meals in the house. Even if you’re planning on an epicurean adventure, sometimes you’d like to pay less than $3 for a coke. We make a quick stop at a local grocery and pick up some basic staples. Ok, to be fair…DH also packs a laundry basket full of our “necessities” from home which include plastic baggies, condiments we can’t live without and whatever we can snag from our pantry that will create some quick meals. We picked up that laundry basket idea from some camping we’ve done. Easy to carry, sturdy, waterproof bottom. Awesome.

Another thing I like about renting homes is that you get to soak in the local experience. When in Savannah, we stayed in a 110 year old Victorian home in the Victorian district. Very cool to experience the architecture of that period. It was totally modernized (complete with a ridiculous Jetson’s IKEA kitchen) and some fancy bizzaro toilets that were so low you felt like you were going to miss and land on the floor. Besides that…it DID retain most of its original charm including amazing details even down to the handles and locks of the pocket doors.

savannah keyhole

Here’s a picture of the 1st house we stayed in that I found on VRBO.

See the bay and the dock? Very cool.The photo at the very top of this post is the front of the Victorian house where we stayed just a few weeks ago.

So, consider VRBO for your travel needs. There are several other vacation home/condo rental places out there, but I’ve only tried VRBO so far…and with very good results! You’re going to love looking at their site. You can rent some AMAZING places…the kind you’re going to need lotza money for, but if ya don’t got it yet…it’s still fun to look. Maybe you’d like to rent this place and do a little skiing?

Or maybe you need a tan?

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One Comment

  1. Cheryl Richards says:

    Great idea!!! This is so much better then using a hotal because if you have family in the area you don’t have to impose on them. However, it would be a great way to see them if you wanted.

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