Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Home Away From Home

by Sheila

As you may know, we have recently changed our blog post schedule.  On Wednesdays, I am going to cover a variety of topics such as travel, diy projects, entertaining, and other ideas that support my frugal nature.  Thanks for reading us - we appreciate your interest and hope we can provide some inspiration, motivation or food for thought for living life well.

As for travel...

There are many options today for travelers looking for a place to rest their heads at night.  We have been traveling around Ireland and Scotland recently and by far our best accommodations have come from  private owners who are renting their space to travelers.  This is not a new concept, but the internet has made this very easy to do.  Websites such as Home Away, VRBO and airbnb are a few of the more popular ones, and worth checking out if you are taking a trip and need accommodations.  

For the next several nights we are in Edinburgh, Scotland and have rented a charming, fully furnished penthouse apartment in the perfect location 2 blocks from the Royal Mile with city and sea views.  We are expecting my sister-in-law and her husband to join us tomorrow, so the 2 bedroom, 2 bath option suited us perfectly.  We were rather lax in our travel plans and my husband just e-mailed the owner this morning regarding availability.  She got right back to us and offered us a great rate.  If you are traveling here, check out her website at

Katie (the owner) met us here to exchange keys and answer questions.  She was very friendly and professional.  As is typical in these types of accommodations, there is a full kitchen, laundry (we really needed this!) a detailed guest book highlighting points of interest in the area, as well as a library of videos, books and wifi access.  A designated parking space is also provided at no additional charge; another savings since many hotels add a significant fee per day to park.  

We have utilized this option with our kids in an apartment in New York City, on a trip with friends to Sante Fe (Ann & Pat!), and for a large beach house for the family in San Diego, to name a few.  Our experience has been that it is more cost effective when you have 2 or more couples involved, or a family that would need more than one hotel room, but even for the two of us it is often competitive with hotels.  If you want maid service daily and room service on call, this is not for you.  We have only been disappointed once, and we contacted the owner and had our money refunded immediately.  In this case, the cleaning crew was not doing their job and he was not aware of it.  If you think this might work for you, check the reviews from other travelers on the websites, and feel free to ask the owners if you have special requests.  They might have a bicycle available, or be able to provide a highchair for a toddler.

We like this  type of accommodation so much that we are preparing to run a vacation rental ourselves - a new venture for us.  This is an especially great option for people who have a vacation home and want to offset the costs.  I'll keep you posted on the pros and cons and the process as I move forward with this plan.

So if you want to rent a flat, a large home, a sailboat or a castle, you'll find it available on these websites.  Happy Wandering, and as they say here in Scotland, "Cheers"!  


  1. HEY! I didn't know you were in Scotland!! I would normally extend an invitation to visit me in Oban, were it not for the fact that I am in the states. BUT...if you are going to still be in Scotland after the 18th, please drop me a line via my blog. There is a standing open invitation for all blogger peers to come have a glass of the bubbly stuff on our deck overlooking the sound of Kerrera.

    Kristin of Highland Fashionista

  2. Thanks for sharing these great pictures.

    If you get a sec, check out my latest post 'Kate Spade and Leopard'. I would love to read what you think of my latest shopping spree.


  3. Cheers can only fantasize! Thanks for sharing.

  4. This is such a great idea. What a fabulous trip.