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!