Alternative Vacation Housing


During our recent 2 night stay in New York City we rented an apartment on the West Side just off Central Park West. I wanted a neighborhood that would be close enough to where Graham had his meeting, easy access to the subway, and one that would provide interesting architecture to view as well as shops and restaurants. 

The apartment we rented was certainly not grand, but it was very very adequate with interesting exposed brick walls and a loft area.  One large room served as the bedroom with a couch and a desk; a ladder provided access to a loft. There was a very small kitchen and the bathroom was also pretty small.  It was on the second floor of a walk-up, a brownstone in a row of similar homes. The cost was perhaps $50 more than a tiny hotel room would have been, but much larger in size.

VBRO (Vacation Rental By Owner) is a website where people offer short(nightly) or longer term (weekly or monthly) furnished housing.  Rentals are available not only in the United States, Canada and Mexico, but in Europe and in many other nations in Asia, Africa, and South America.  There are other vacation home rental websites as well. HomeAway, Vacation Rentals, FlipKey are three others and home exchange programs for longer vacations can be found at LoveHomeSwap and Vacation Home Exchange.

Renting an apartment or house permits you privacy and space, typically much better than a motel, hotel or bed and breakfast room. The owner or their agent will meet you and show you around the place, answering questions about operation of any appliances, and can also give you information about the area, similar to an owner of a B&B.

The cost is similar to other lodging choices, providing the opportunity to find something within your budget. The fee includes the nighly rental, the typical taxes that any lodging charges and an additional cleaning fee. Some are refundable if you leave the place in good condition. Others are not.

We first used VBRO to rent a house in Oregon for two nights on a trip there a year ago.We had a two bedroom house with a living room, dining room, good size kitchen, office area with computer, modernized bathroom, and laundry area on the back screened porch. The owner came every morning to collect eggs and to let her free range chickens out for the day. Each evening she stopped back over to let the chickens back into their shed. We had a wonderful basket of colorful eggs each morning….who needs to dye Easter eggs with chickens like this?

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