Surefire Way to Save on Hotel or Rental Accommodations

This strategy isn’t for the faint of heart. This is for all you OCD types who are willing to take risks and take great pride in stretching your hard-earned dollars.

I have been itching to go on vacation ever since we flew back home from spending Christmas and New Year’s in the UK. As fun as that was, I have been dying for some R&R in the sun!

We bounced around Palm Springs and Los Angeles as options, but decided it was best to stay local and opted for an easy jaunt to wine country. Securing a luxe hotel reservation during spring time in Napa or Sonoma is like trying to score a same day reservation at French Laundry. It ain’t gonna happen, especially if you’re looking to book only a week or two in advance.

This is where renting a place online has really alleviated a lot of stress when it comes to finding a place to stay. There are so many beautiful, well-maintained properties on Vrbo.com, Airbnb.com or HomeAway.com. You’ll always find a handful that are available. In fact, there were a couple places I was really interested in that showed no availability, but I emailed the owners and they said it had either recently become available or they had another property available. Here are photos (credit Vrbo.com) of places I was negotiating with.

This is the best time to negotiate, when you know they’re hoping to rent their property, it’s just a couple days out, and their property is still available. BAM! Hit them with your terms. You want a free night, you don’t want to pay tax or the cleaning fee, and you’re ready to submit payment in full immediately. Not a single no. All 3 property owners I emailed agreed to my terms.

Now even though these were all gorgeous properties, I consulted with my hubby (the true decision maker, ahem, cough). And he insisted that to make this feel like a true vacation, we needed to be spoiled and sitting pool-side. Hence, a discounted last minute booking opened up at the Lodge at Sonoma—at a price similar to what I was looking at for rental properties—and I pounced on it.

Here is our home (photo credit Marriott.com) for the next few days. Heaven!

I Love So Many Things

During the homily, the priest talked about some of the things my uncle loved. A few of the things caught me by surprise and it made me wonder if people know what I love.

I LOVE:

Books and libraries, fiction

Looking at great art, going to museums

Getting mail—the good kind, not bills or credit card promotions

My mom’s cooking. She cooks with a lot of fresh vegetables. Her food is healthy and good for you. But I especially love her lumpia. It’s the BEST. During the holidays, I could eat one after another, with big scoops of my aunt’s spinach dip. Amazing!

Oysters, foie gras, french fries, ice-cream cake, milk chocolate

Travelling, exploring, hiking

The Bay Area, NYC, Burning Man, Palm Springs

When others do the cooking

Pink flowers of all kinds—roses, carnations, whatever

Restaurants, wine tasting, happy hour, brunch

Steam rooms

Dresses

My amazing family and friends

What do you love? Do people know?

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