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Hotel or Villa?: Travel Home Away from Home

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As baby boomers, when deciding where to set up your “retirement home” in addition to making plans for those dream holidays, allow me to share with you my own personal story.

Hotel or Villa?: Travel Home Away from Home

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As baby boomers, when deciding where to set up your “retirement home” in addition to making plans for those dream holidays, allow me to share with you my own personal story.



With family, grandchildren in California and a son and family living in Dubai, we seriously were considering selling our current home and setting up house near our grand children in California.  However, with the costs and added taxes for two retired folks, it put a dent into the travel budget as well as many places  we have dreamed of visiting!  We had an ah ha moment when our son suggested we just keep our home which we own outright and instead of getting into the malaise of another mortgage, property taxes, why not just plan our trips around renting an apartment or villa and live six months out of the year in rentals – either a villa or apartment!  We could then stay for weeks rather than days and truly check off things to do in a particular country!  And, might I add, it allows us to visit our family in Dubai for a visit not just a week to 10 days but up to a full two to three months out of the year!  Talk about a better quality of visit!



So indeed this is what we decided to do and will share with you the top websites and list of things to do in considering renting a “home away from home” for your travel destinations. 



Prices of course will vary depending on the season, location and size of the rental. They can be a small apartment, condo or large villa depending on your needs – often a consideration if family plan on joining you for a few days during your monthly excursion.  For me personally, I prefer those rentals wherein there are laundry facilities for daily clean towels etc is something I have grown accustom too.  Another big savings is that you will have your own kitchen – so stock up on breakfast and evening snacks allowing a “one meal a day” to be enjoyed in a restaurant of your choice!



Here are the top websites that I recommend in finding that dream destination.



  1. HomeAway.com & VRBO.com
  2. GreatRentals.com
  3. Roomorama.com – nicer places, more pricey
  4. Airbnb.com – more budget


  • booking fees run 6 – 12% which is well worth it to protect you from fraud. The booking agency keeps your deposit and is released at check in.





If you prefer to deal with a rental agencies which incurs a fee but again gives you protection from fraud,  here are two recommended rental agencies. Interhome.us and Rentavilla.com which covers Europe.  You also can identify local rental companies within your country of choice.



VRBO,  HomeAway and Great Rentals also have rental insurance that starts at $39.00 and offer $10,000 fraud protection.



Check List of Things to Do:



Once you have found your dream rental you also need to do some further research even if you have contracted with a expert booking agency to assist you.



  1. Locate the destination on a map – be sure location is near to where you want to be and not miles from your itinerary of places and things to visit and see.
  2. Be sure to know what floor as many European places do not have elevators and you maybe met with many stairs to climb!
  3. Deposit:  be prepared that you may have to pay 100% upfront 30 days in advance or a percentage for a holding fee, full amount usually do at check in.
  4. Some accept credit cards but may add a small percentage fee.  PayPal is a method of choice and payment which will avoid these additional fees.
  5. Cancellation  Policy – be sure to read the find print.  On rentals, you may have to give a 30 day notice of cancellation should your plans change – so keep this in mind.  Cancellation insurance may be something to consider – especially with your first rental experience.




Considering rentals versus hotel stays can truly improve your quality of travel experience – interacting with the locals and really taking the time with multiple trips back to that museum which one generally has to be hurried through when traveling with a group tour or even as a couple on limited time.  It does not get any better in quality of your own life experience so I encourage you to consider this form of travel today!  If any of you have such memorable experiences I would love to hear from you!


Happy Travels!


 October 22, 2016

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