April 18, 2012

Independent Vacationing

Approaching by land

When I’m planning a vacation, I spend the most time worrying about where we will stay. It has to be convenient, interesting, clean, safe and most importantly a good deal. For our trip to San Francisco last week, I also wanted to be nearby my sister, who lives in a real neighborhood, with very few hotel options. I finally found the right fit through an Air BnB rental.

This was my first time using Air BnB and I wasn’t sure if the strong social networking aspect of the site really fit with my style, but the room was too nice to pass up. The photo below shows the patio off of our studio apartment, just blocks from my sister and close to lots of restaurants and an amazing bakery. We stayed for a week and really felt at home. It was much like our VRBO rental in Paris. Having a small kitchen and an eating area makes travel so much easier and cheaper, as not all meals need to be eaten out and sometimes all you want is something simple. Hotels can be nice, for that pampered feeling, but vacation rentals feel more private and still offer an escape. Plus, it is fun to pretend you live in this exotic city.

The other big expense for travel is car rental, especially in the US, when renting a car can be the only way to see some of the best sights. Since we were staying in the city for this trip, we didn’t want to have to deal with a rental car all the time, figuring out parking and paying for time when we weren’t using the car. A car sharing program, Zip Car, fit our needs and it turned out that we could pick-up a mini-cooper, just a block from our studio. One of the nice things about the car sharing is that all gas is included in the rental price and the car is available hourly or daily. When we were done with the car for the day, we just returned it to its own parking spot, no need to worry about overnight parking rules in the city.

I’m looking forward to using both these services again, as they really made it easy to build just the vacation we wanted, without the constraints of the more traditional hotel and car rentals.

Studio Patio


  1. D’oh –┬áit look like I missed you in San Francisco. It would have been great to see you while you were here!

    Comment by Will — April 19, 2012 @ 4:18 pm

  2. Will! I didn’t know you live in San Fran. Next time I’m out there we’ll have to get together!

    Comment by Marijka — April 20, 2012 @ 8:00 am

  3. Great ideas! An that patio looks really nice. Will have to try that next time.

    Comment by Rosemarie — May 13, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

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