Monthly Archives: June 2016
Traveling with kids is WAY more comfortable when you have separate bedrooms, a real kitchen and a living room. I am amazed that people even attempt to book hotel rooms for more than 2 nights. Yuck!
I have been traveling internationally for almost 30 years now. At one point, I sold timeshare. And I met the people who LOVED it. Each family member had their own bedroom and together they had a beautiful living room in which to gather during the evenings. Plus, a refrigerator full of snacks, drinks, easy breakfasts for sleeping in and more!
I also met people who told me they would never buy timeshare because they could easily rent someone else’s property online – for cheap! That grabbed my attention.
So when my husband and I started traveling together I started searching for such luxurious accommodations. It wasn’t hard to find. Besides timeshares for rent, I also stumbled upon vacation homes for rent by owners and such. We spent our honeymoon in Mexico at a beautiful apartment with a jacuzzi on the beach for less than $80/night. I was hooked.
When we started traveling with 3+ children, a hotel did not sound like a vacation!
Our first big challenge was to complete a 6 week road trip through New Zealand with kids! Every step of the way, we stayed in homes! And as a bonus, we met fantastic people in the process!
We now also rent our home when we travel.
Sound scary? Not at all.
In fact, it helps pay for our vacations!
It all began when we moved to Costa Rica. We put our home up for rent for the year.
In preparation, we did the following:
- We renovated our attic so that it now has drop-down stairs, a solid floor for storage and automatic ventilation/fans to prevent mold.
- We put additional closets in our garage for winter jackets and sports items to create more free storage space in the house for our renters.
- We calculated roughly how much electricity and water would cost in our absence and included this in the rental fee to keep things simple.
- We downloaded a rental agreement with which we felt confident.
- We created a House Manual to describe everything about our home, town, neighbors, etc.
- We determined who we wanted to rent our home and then we searched for them.
Really, it was just a matter of making space by moving our personal items to storage.
We were very fortunate to find a family to rent our home. This meant that we could leave all the toys, games, books, potties, high chairs, etc. out for their convenience and use. For us this meant less packing! Win-win!
Many students wanted to rent our home. However, we did not want to sign multiple contracts, manage various people coming and going, or rely on one student to do this over an entire year. Plus, we did not want to have to pack away more stuff…books, toys, games, potties, high chairs, etc….
We advertised online with the local eBay and Craig’s list. We had a response very quickly as we included photos we uploaded on a website.
If you would like to rent your home, I recommend you check out the following websites:
- AirBnB to rent or host
- Craig’s List – list your home or find one where you are vacationing
- Click on >Your town >Housing > Vacation Rentals
- VRBO – Vacation Rental By Owner
- Trip Advisor
It is easy to open an account, upload photos, manage the calendar and write your own descriptions. These are simply the online tools to help you find a renter. Yes, they take a cut for this service. But it is definitely worth it!
Now, we are doing short-term rentals for when we travel during school vacations, ski holidays, summer break, winter holidays and more. After all, that is when other families are also traveling. So it is a fantastic opportunity to help cover our own expenses.
Today we had a home study follow-up report about how our adoption is going. It is conducted by the local government and is important documentation.
So they got a REAL insight to our world, because we FORGOT. Oops.
Yep, the house was in top chaos form, the kitchen was overloaded, the doors were hanging open, Jonas had taken Astrid to the doctor with Ming following along, and I was laying on the couch with a bag of frozen peas on a twisted ankle from the front yard when…
Ding-dong. I didn’t even recognize her.
Then I did. OH. NO.
Quick call to Jonas at the doctor’s office who promptly hangs up on me saying that they are just going in now. (Drop-in hours…how fun.)
So after washing my dining room table and pushing some chairs back up while hobbling around and offering something to drink, we started the interview. Of course, she wanted to see Ming’s room…which was also in prime form.
Jonas and the kids came 35 minutes later. And Ming…
Well, he was an absolute gentleman who shook our social worker’s hand. Wow!
So I guess we survived.
And in the end, it was simply hilarious.