Confession: I’ve always loved hotels. I love miniature soaps and shampoos. I love lobbies, and beautifully themed pools. I love maid service, plush robes, and having a whole extra bed to put my suitcase on. I love do-not-disturb signs, and living out of a suitcase. I’ve loved it since I was a kid. But then I got married, and David and I started traveling more and more frequently. Suddenly, the joy of the hotel room started to wane, as I realized that hotel rooms are not meant for long-time stays. As beautiful as they can be, they aren’t homey, cozy, or cost efficient a lot of times. Then one day, a beautiful thing happened – I discovered two new best friends – Airbnb and VRBO.

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For those not familiar with the concept, they run in pretty much the same way. Airbnb allows people to rent out rooms, or whole apartments or houses to travelers. From what I’ve gathered, VRBO works fairly the same, except it only rents out whole spaces. I’ll be honest with you, David and I are not adventurous enough travelers to ever rent a room from someone, we always go for the whole space (we aren’t looking to become a late night missing person special).

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We’ve had truly great experiences when renting from both, whether it’s been a magical cabin for a week of dogsledding and snow shoeing in Breckenridge, or a seaside tropical North Shore escape in Oahu. We’ve loved that the places we’ve rented have had plenty of space to sprawl out, cook breakfast, drink coffee on a real porch, and curl up with some late night T.V. The best part has been though, that we’ve saved SO much money. These luxury accommodations, that could have easily housed far more than just the two of us, saved us hundreds of dollars over what a hotel would have cost.

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We still love hotels, and will still continue staying in hotels at times (how else would we review them for you?). But we have fallen in love with the properties that people are putting on Airbnb and VRBO. We think its a great way for you to save money when you travel, and a great way to support the economy as well. As one local townsperson on the North Shore of Oahu told us, the best way to support the people of Hawaii, is to stay in their vacation rentals.

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