I am going to share a secret with you, ssshhhh, come closer, a little closer, come on just a little closer. Now don’t tell anyone what I am about to tell you, I mean it. Here it is.
SCOTT IS CHEAP (According to some people, although I prefer the words, frugal, tight, value oriented).
Now that doesn’t mean I don’t like to spend money, I do. I don’t mind spending money if I feel like I have received a good value for it. One of the biggest discussions we always have is where are we going to stay? See the plane tickets can be a bit expensive, but they are nothing compared to $250- $300 per night for 20 days or so, plus taxes, surcharges, energy fees, blah, blah, blah. And what do you get for it? A small room about 200 square feet, with a toilet, not exactly the experience I want to have when I traveling.
I think over the last 5 or 6 years, we have actually stayed in a hotel one time. And that is only because it was a last minute long weekend to Paris and there wasn’t enough time to make other arrangements. In fact that room was only about 120 square feet with the bathroom. You literally could not bend over in the shower, Lord help you if you drop the soap, you had to actually exit the shower to pick it up, and that room cost $245 per night. In my normal weekly travels, yes I stay in a hotel, but I’m talking about the BIG trips, the vacations that you want to experience the culture and lifestyle of the host city your in.
Ok, here is the real secret………
Rent someone else home, or better yet, swap with them. Your home for a week for a week in theirs. Can you really do that you ask? As Sarah would say, YOU BETCHA! And it is a great way to amerce yourself in the host cities lifestyles, heck in your hosts lifestyle. What is really great about this is the feeling that you are part of the neighborhood, If you ask ahead of time your host homeowner will share all the best local places to eat and shop. You will have much more room to move around. A real home, with multiple bathrooms if you please, a full kitchen to cook in, now that really saves you a ton of money. And in most cases you will also have maid service.
We have done this now for many years and wouldn’t change a thing. I must admit that there is something really exciting about arriving and experiencing someone else’s home. Everyone knows what a hotel looks like frankly it’s quite boring. But getting to make new friends around the world, by living in their homes, now that is some inexpensive fun.
Let me share with you some of the places we have rented.
Villa Casa Boca
St. Marteen, Netherlands Antilles, Beach Front
This is one of our favorite homes and we have rented it many times over the years. This is a large, 5 bedroom Villa. The main house has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. But this Villa also has 2 private Casita’s with their own Mini Kitchens. All together this Villa will comfortably hold 10 people. You might be asking what does a place like this cost? Well we have it rented for an upcoming Birthday Celebration in September, and it is going to cost about $58 per person, per night. There isn’t a hotel around that could beat that.
Villa Maria Pia
Praiano, Italy, Ocean Front
last year we rented this Villa, which is settled on the Ocean side of a Cliff in Praiano, Italy. It was a nice 3 bedroom, 2 kitchen Villa with a lovely Patio overlooking the sea. I would consider the view to be absolutely priceless. There is a place for hotels, but when your traveling and want to really feel as though your part of something, I highly recommend renting homes or apartments along the way. These are just a couple examples of great finds and an inexpensive way of enjoying your vacation.
Below is a number of website where you can either Rent someones else’s home, put yours up for rent or even participate in a Home Swap. I have not done a home swap yet, but I am thinking about it, after all, there would be virtually no rental costs, free room and board on vacation, now that could save Thousands of dollars. Most of these will require at least a one week rental, if you are going for less than a week, they may still be available, but at a slightly higher cost.
Home Rentals Web Sites
Home Swapping Web Sites
I have used VRBO.com at least a dozen times now. And every home that I rented was exactly what it was purported to be on the website. I can strongly recommend that site. Let me give you an example, we rented a very nice 2 bedroom, 3 bath, 3 level home right in the heart of Florence, Italy, literally in the middle, in fact it was next door to the Duomo. It cost us $229 per night, for 4 people, you would have to spend more than twice that in a hotel, with less room.
A little organized research, and you will have no problem finding a place to lay your head for a peaceful nights sleep anywhere in the world, on the cheap.