When I grow up I want to be Gillian. She is just by far the coolest cat on the planet. Plus, she knows how to travel and do it right. Even cooler, she wrote a book and I am uber proud to be in her company. Travel plans in your future? You are going to dig this. Meet Gillian!
I’m dragged from my restful slumber by a scream so loud that I’m sure someone must have been murdered right next door. As my eyes flutter open and I race through the the stages of waking the scream is replaced by the rhythmic sounds that can only be my new friends that I met at the bar last night ‘getting to know each other’ next door. I pull the pillow over my head and unsuccessfully will sleep to return.
Things are a little awkward at breakfast the next morning. I clearly look like hell having been kept awake until the wee hours of the morning; puffy eyes, ruddy skin, and a scowl that no amount of coffee will remove. Darren and Emily (not their real names) however are the picture of health and happiness although with some admittedly undeniable signs of their adventure; dewy skin, bruised lips, and mussy hair that will need more than a comb to fix.
This isn’t the first, or last, time this has happened to me; being kept awake by noisy neighbours until the wee hours of the morning. Granted, it’s not always people having more fun than me. Sometimes it’s the parents of little ones who somehow convinced themselves that they, and their two kids under 7, could sleep in the two beds of the hotel room even after having had ice cream for dinner and running up and down the hallways all evening. I’m left trying to lull myself to sleep while ‘Dora the Explorer’ repeatedly tries to find her way around the world. I’m sure their evening is not going any better than mine but I don’t care.
It doesn’t seem to matter if I’m staying in a hostel in Buenos Aires or a luxury hotel in downtown Toronto; the walls are painfully thin and reaching the nirvana of uninterrupted sleep seems impossible.
I stumbled on the solution, really. The hotel I had booked into in Santiago, Chile a few years ago also managed a short term apartment block down the street and offered a one bedroom apartment instead of a traditional hotel room (for the same price!). I hadn’t even realized that such a thing was possible but was super happy I said yes as soon as I laid eyes on the beautiful living room, kitchen, and balcony that I would be able to enjoy for the next three days.
An apartment. In a real neighbourhood, with real people, and real restaurants and markets, and real apartment walls. Walls that weren’t paper thin. That didn’t reveal every secret that was occurring right next door. That allowed me to relax, and sleep, whenever I wanted.
It. Was. Heaven.
It’s not that I don’t stay in hotels any more because I do. And I’m reminded almost every time of why my partner and I now stay in vacation rentals as often as we can. It’s really popular now, there are so many available and it’s so easy to find one, that you can stay just about anywhere in the world in the comfort of a home that is yours if only for a few days.
In the last few years there has been a huge rise in the use of vacation rentals by travellers and yet I still meet people in my day to day life who have no idea that this is possible. They don’t know what is available, aren’t familiar with which vacation rental websites to use, and are overwhelmed by the searching and selection process.
So I wrote a book because it’s just not that hard and everyone should be enjoying a little piece of home when they are away from home.
In How To Find The Perfect Vacation Rental I explain what a vacation rental is and who they are best suited for. I honestly state what the benefits and drawbacks are and include a cost comparison case study to show the financial value of vacation rentals. The bulk of the book, though, is written to combat the feeling of overwhelm that people face when searching for a property. I break down the criteria selection process, compare vacation rental websites, compile a list of questions to ask, and walk the reader through the exact process we use to find and enjoy vacation rentals around the world.
So, no more thin walled hotel rooms for me, or you!
Gillian not only enjoys using vacation rentals when she travels…she wrote the book on it! How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental is available on her blog One-Giant-Step.com where you can also follow along on her adventures, mis-steps, and personal journey as she travels the world.