How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental

Cover_500-187x300One of the benefits of running a travel book site is promoting my own travel book!

I’m not only an avid reader of travel books, I am also an avid traveller. I’ve visited 20 countries in the last five years and am hoping to add 6 more in 2014 when we take to our bikes and cycle around mid-western Europe. You can follow all my travel adventures on my travel blog; One-Giant-Step.com

Over the years we have stayed in many accommodation styles. Hotels, hostels, beach huts, temples, ryokans, train compartments, B&B’s, desert camps, and, of course, apartments.

We stayed in our first apartment accidentally while visiting Santiago, Chile in 2009. The hotel we had booked into also managed a short term apartment block down the street and offered us a one bedroom apartment instead of a traditional hotel room. We hadn’t even realized that such a thing was possible but were super happy we said yes as soon as we laid eyes on the beautiful living room, kitchen, and balcony that we would be able to enjoy for the next three days.

After that we looked for vacation rental apartments whenever we were going to stay somewhere for three days or more. We’ve rented apartments in Victoria, Canada; Santiago, Chile; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Berlin, Germany; Tokyo and Kyoto, Japan; Toronto, Canada; Chiang Mai and Hua Hin in Thailand; and Saigon, Vietnam.

In How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental I reveal all that I know about renting short-term vacation rentals around the world.

I help travellers discover the benefits of renting short term apartments, houses, cottages, or bungalows versus paying for regular hotel rooms and whether they are a good fit for this option.

I discuss the importance of, and how to set up, a list of criteria to use when looking for a property to save time, frustration, and hassle.

I teach how to go about finding the perfect vacation rental, how to find rental websites, and how to use them so that the process isn’t completely overwhelming.

I show a comparison of some of the top vacation rental sites out there and see which ones are recommended.

I answer all the questions and concerns travellers have so that they’ll feel comfortable and confident in the process and will be sure that have found the perfect vacation rental.

And I outline the exact process I use to book vacation rentals myself. If this process works over and over for me I know that it will work for all travellers.

I think that many people don’t realize that using vacation rentals is possible, or they think it is stressful and overwhelming to search for and select an apartment or house that will work for them. How to Find the Perfect Vacation Rental is for exactly that audience; to show that vacation rentals are easy to find and that the selection process is also easy as long as you create a criteria list and keep yourself from falling down the rabbit hole.

Are you planning your summer vacation, or know someone who is? This might be the perfect opportunity to have a different experience this time!

Book Review: All The Pretty Horses

all_the_pretty_horses I picked up All The Pretty Horses when I thought I was going to be heading to Mexico for the winter.

I wanted to start with a novel that had a historical bent to it so I could work my way forward in my Mexican book reading. Set in the year straddling 1949 and 1950 it meets the historical criteria I was looking for without delving too far back in time.

It’s a western, with an austere feeling. That isn’t to say there isn’t lack of detail (in fact I might say just the opposite) but I really got the feeling of being in the middle of the open range in northern Mexico.

The story traces the path of the main character John Grady as his Texan family buries their patriarch and he discovers that the family ranch will be sold. He meets up with his friend Lacey Rawlins, inexplicably picks up the runaway drifter Blevins and the three of them cross the border into Mexico with a half assed plan of working as migrant cowboys.

What follows is a tale of mishaps, with serious consequences, a love story, also with serious consequences, and a friendship that barely endures the outcome.

I liked it, and didn’t like it. I picked it up, and put it down, and picked it up, and put it down.

The dialogue was not well punctuated and I often had to reread passages to understand who was speaking, because it kind of made a difference to the story.

Some of the dialogue was in Spanish, but not all of it. I liked the effect of being reminded that, although the book is written in English, the story actually takes place in Spanish. It gave me a chance to practice what little I know of the language and yet, even if I couldn’t figure it out, the context was clear enough to continue.

It really gave me a sense of the difficulty of living such a life. The uncertainty of employment, the barrenness of the landscape, the reliance on friends and the tenuous nature of those same friendships. I’m fascinated with the idea of homesteading and ranching, of relying only on ones-self and having to get by. This book painted that picture for me.

Am I glad I read it? Yes, I am. Would I recommend it? If you’re interested in Mexico, or the southern United States, at all I think it’s worth reading. There maybe a border separating the two countries but this book shows that a border is just an arbitrary line and that life is the same on either side.