Renting a vacation home when traveling

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Some years ago, long before blogging or traveling professionally, I headed out to Paris with my oldest son, then 3 years old. In planning for the trip I was extremely nervous because I didn’t know how my son would behave with us stuck in a hotel room, or how my neighbors would react to the sounds of him crying or playing. Most importantly, I was trying to factor in what it would cost me to have all the things I needed such as cold milk, snacks, coffee, and baby supplies in a hotel room, that I also hoped provided me with enough room so that I didn’t feel trapped under it all for the almost two weeks we were going to be there.

A friend of mine suggested that instead of spending the incredible amount of money that I was going to have to spend on a hotels, I should look into renting an apartment.

I have to admit, as a then single mom traveling with her toddler to Paris, the idea of renting a flat made the whole thing seem so incredibly exciting! “I could pretend to be living there,” I thought and immediately, I began to look up places.

I was surprised to see the very many options that come up for vacation home rentals, many of them with pictures of the various flats.

We managed to find a beautiful flat in the center of Les Marais, the gay and ultra trendy district in the 4th arrondissements in Paris, only steps away from Notre Dame and wonderful bakeries and cafes. I was in heaven. The rental process was easy, and the local rental office staff was incredibly friendly.

I fell in love with the third floor walk-up apartment, and the gorgeous French doors found throughout, as well as the full kitchen, nice size living room, and bedroom. I would spend early mornings with my kid in tow walking in and out of small cafes and window shopping, before walking to all the nearby sites including Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, the Louvre. It was lovely and close to everything.

I was comfortable the entire time, well, except for when the garbage truck stopped by, which seemed to be daily!  But having “our own place” in Paris was the intro to my preference for vacation home rentals in Europe, and I still recommend it.

This first experience was quite some time ago, and I paid less than $2,000 for my rental, but since then renting a home, especially when traveling with kids in tow, is one of our favorite options. This option can provide not only the utmost in lodging comfort, but can also be far more economically then renting a hotel room long-term.

In the next vacation rental post, I will share tips on what to keep in mind when looking to rent a vacation getaway.


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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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6 Responses to Renting a vacation home when traveling

  1. Becca Taylor says:

    I'm going to Paris next year to celebrate my 60th B-day – I plan to stay for at least 14 days, and maybe 30 if I can swing it. I too also plan to rent a flat for my time there. I'm so excited.

  2. I don't know any other way to travel. I've done hotels with kids and having a kitchen or more of a home like feel is priceless.

  3. Louisa says:

    Hi Carol, we are renting an apartment in NYC when we come over later this month and I can't wait. I'm so excited about having that more personal experience than staying in a hotel – not to mention it being significantly more affordable!

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