Often when we travel we stay in a Vacation Rental By Owner which we find on the web at vrbo.com. The object is to determine a place that is interesting to visit and then go online to see what there is available. Most of the ones we have used are stand alone homes, some have been condos.
We wanted to spend a few weeks on Alligator Point, Florida which the locals claim as “Florida’s Forgotten Coast”. Much of Florida has more than its share of traffic and this part of the Sunshine State is certainly the exception. It is located 30 miles south of Tallahassee on the gulf and no one accidentally goes there. Some never find their way back!
On realtor.com we saw a home in Panacea, Florida that was absolutely perfect for us, even though we are no where near ready to purchase a home. We wanted to check out that area for future reference. Last time Eric had been there was 45 years ago when he was a student at Florida State. It has changed little in that passage of time.
Panacea (cure for all ills), had no VRBO’s but nearby Alligator Point had a number of them available. After viewing them on line, reading reviews by previous guests, and talking with the rental manager we selected a place named “Point of View” which was located directly on the bay 600 yards from the Gulf of Mexico.
Point of View is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath stilted home overlooking the bay. We wanted 3 bedrooms because two couples who were our neighbors in Louisville, Kentucky were going to visit us to help us explore the area.
The key to living VRBO is to make it your home for the time that you are there. We have stayed in many VRBO’s in several countries. One of the first things we do is check out what we need to make it feel like home to us.
Flowers on the dinning room table and in the living room are often the first purchase. While the kitchens come fully equipped some fall short of what we like to have available. In one we bought a knife sharpener, another a crock pot. It is important to ask the owner a lot of questions to make sure you are getting what you expect.
Most owners will also negotiate the posted price especially if you are staying longer than one week.
The VRBO concept allows us to have the privacy we enjoy, the space we enjoy and at lower cost than most motels. We unpack the suitcases and fill the closets and drawers with our stuff and settle in.
Not exactly tourists; we are temporary residents who get to know the cashiers at the local grocery stores and even find favorite waitresses in places we go for lunch. We will typically eat breakfast and evening meals at our home and have lunch while we explore.
By the way, we loved the home in Panacea, it was everything the online photos indicated and far more, but we did not buy! The adventure continues…