My topic today is a little out of the norm for me: travel advice for my fellow business travelers. Over the past year, I have discovered some fantastic deals out there when you look for a vacation home to rent instead of a hotel room. Last spring while working for the Forest Service in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire, I found weekly rates on beautiful vacation homes that were cheaper than the hotels because it was their off-season. And even if the homes had not been cheaper than a hotel, I saved money by having a kitchen and not having to eat out for every meal.
After that I started looking for houses to rent for my other business, New England Crane School. When the crane school holds an operator class we typically need lodging for four people: my trainer for a full week, myself for at least a couple nights, and our two exam proctors for one or two nights. I found that I could rent a three or four bedroom house and put everyone up for far less than the hotel rooms would have cost, and now we have a comfortable living room and kitchen in which to hold business meetings over dinner in the evenings. Last fall we rented a three-bedroom house near a lake in Vermont that cost only $600 for the week because it was in its off-season. This winter we are renting ski houses in high season, so it’s going to cost a bit more but I will still save money overall and we’ll stay in some nice places.
I haven’t yet run into a house that didn’t have high speed wireless internet, and while some may not have a desk, there is always a kitchen or dining room table to work at. There is often also Netflix or movie channels and/or a DVD player, and if you’re in ski country, you might even get a hot tub or a house that comes with club membership so you have access to a gym and a pool. And I’ve had no trouble finding pet-friendly houses; as long as I’m driving to the job, I like to bring my dog with me.
Here are some websites that list vacation homes for rent:
You can also try searching for a state-specific site; for example, in Vermont there’s a site called vermontproperty.com. And if you’re traveling near a ski area or some other type of resort, the resort might have its own website for condo and home rentals.
If you’re a frequent business traveler you can imagine what the best benefit of renting homes is, beyond the extra amenities you might have or the money you might save. It’s feeling like you’re at home instead of living out of a suitcase. Suite hotels can claim to offer that experience, but it really isn’t the same in my opinion. Suite hotels still have the sterile, impersonal feel of a hotel. When you rent someone’s vacation home it really does feel like a home.