We're sure many of you have thought about picking up and moving to another country, and living a carefree expat life. Heck, we certainly have. And we can all blame Diane Lane for that. It's not as easy as she makes it seem in Under the Tuscan Sun, but what is easy, thanks to a number of leading vacation home rental companies, is vacationing like a local. Read on for our favorite sites, and find out what's so great about them.
THE GIST: Affordable short-term rentals in unique homes across the globe.
LOCATIONS: International in 190 countries and more than 4,000 cities.
You can thank this startup for shaking up the vacation home rental industry, allowing homeowners and renters to rent out their home to travelers while they're away for as little as one night. Airbnb offers all manner of homes for rent, from city studio apartments to castles in the country (more than 600 castles, in fact), with few to many amenities. While the company itself has great customer service, services (if any) offered to guests are rare and vary from rental to rental. You can browse by availability, location, popularity, and numerous other filters, as well as read reviews by other renters.
THE GIST: High-end, distinctive city homes with the luxuries and services of a four-star hotel.
LOCATIONS: Currently only in London, Los Angeles, New York, and Paris.
This London-based startup allows visitors to live like a local in some of the most beautiful homes in the best neighborhoods in the U.S. and Europe, while, like AirBnB, homeowners are out of town. Offering conveniences like private airport transfers, WiFi, maid service, and a local iPhone loaded with local tips, the company makes your trip feel like you're staying with the most hospitable friend.
THE GIST: The world's number one source for vacation rentals.
LOCATIONS: International in 190 countries, with more than 1 million listings.The leader in vacation rentals, HomeAway encompasses 15 smaller vacation rental sites (like VRBO and A1Vacations) in one large marketplace, offering the most comprehensive selection of rentals for singles, couples, families, and groups, including everything from cabins to castles to barns. Like Airbnb, hotel-like services are unlikely -- but that'll make you feel like you're at home. You can browse by availability, location, and numerous other filters, as well as read reviews by other renters.