Home For Travelers Location Spotlight

Area: Vacation Rentals in Cape Cod, MA

Expert: Debra Johnson, Rental Manager and all of the Rental Agents at MMVR

Years living in Cape Cod: I’ve lived on the Cape for more than 20 years. Collectively, Mary Jane, Robin, and Andrew have lived here for over 50 years.

Company: Martha Murray Vacation Rentals

Debra, what makes Cape Cod a great destination to visit and stay in avacation rental?

Cape Cod is a fantastic vacation destination for so many reasons. With fifteen distinctive towns, miles and miles of beaches – many considered among the best in the world – and a plethora of land and seafaring activities, there is something for everyone. Our mid-Cape location in Dennisport is the ideal spot for first timers and seasoned summer visitors alike to enjoy all the Cape has to offer.

What are the top things to do (attractions, activities, events, etc.) in the area?  Are there any hidden gems that people may not be aware of?

Boating, fishing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and parasailing entice those with an adventurous spirit. Whale watching, sightseeing or sunset dinner cruises are a must. There are hundreds of miles of bike trails around the Cape; in fact, the Cape Cod Rail Trail originates in Dennis and passes thru Harwich, Brewster, Orleans and Eastham and ends in South Wellfleet.

Cape Cod, MA is the premier golf destination in all of New England offering dozens of first-rate championship courses. Two of the finest courses are here in Dennis – The Highlands and The Pines. These beautiful courses are open to the public year round (weather permitting) and are sure to challenge the most avid players.

The Cape Cod Baseball league – recognized as the nation’s premier summer collegiate league – invites everyone to enjoy America’s favorite pastime while on the Cape. There are over 212 alumni currently in the Majors!

Known as somewhat of an artist colony, the Cape has embraced both artisans and performing artists alike who have become an integral part of Cape Cod life.  Galleries, workshops and studios dot our landscape. Venues such as the Cape Playhouse and the Cape Cod Melody Tent welcome world class entertainers.

Art fairs, festivals, music concerts in the park….there’s something for everyone.

What are the top 5 ‘must-try’ restaurants in the area?

We tried to keep it to 5 “must try’s” but here they are –

Breakfast – TheRed Cottage, The Breakfast Room, and Good Friends Café.

Lunch/Family Dinner – Original Seafood, Kreme & Kone, Clancey’s, Paradise Pizza, The Dog House, Morrells

Dinner – The Oyster Company(best raw bar), The Ocean House, The Seaview, The Red Pheasant, Scargo Café,DiPalma’s, Villa Roma and Bucca’s.

Anytime – Lighthouse Inn, Chapins, The Sailing Cow, Captain Parkers and The Lobster Boat.

What popular entertainment/nightlife options in the area would you recommend?

We had a hard time with this since we are made up of baby boomers, Gen X’s and Y’s. I recommend telling your agent what you’re looking for and they’ll point you in the right direction. A few local options would be the Improper Bostonian, the Sandollar,  Sundancers, The Sandbar, and the Comedy Club.

You rent homes to hundreds of guests each year….so you must have a funny story or two about people that visit Cape Cod.

Usually, we answer a lot of funny questions before arrival. Do the beaches have sandy sand? What color is the bathroom? I want to bring matching toilet paper. Our cottage is a half mile to the beach – is that walking or driving?

Once everyone arrives – its great. Moms and Dads relax. Grandparents take the kids to the beach. Couples stroll the beaches at sunset. Families get together for cook-outs. This is what Cape Cod vacations are all about.

Area: Winter Park, CO

Expert: Sarah Bradford

Years living in Winter Park, CO: Three

Company: Winter Park Lodging by Owner

Sarah, what makes Winter Park, CO a great destination to visit and stay in a vacation rental?

Winter Park is a family-oriented place surrounded by the beautiful Rocky Mountains.  In the winter, we have one of the best ski areas in the state often with the most snowfall of all of them.  The terrain ranges from easy groomers to steep bumps. Mary Jane, part of Winter Park Resort, is famous for it’s non-groomed hills and runs like Outhouse and Tressle that challenge even the best skiers and boarders.

In the summer, we’re known as the Mountain biking capital of the world/country/state – however you want to name it.  Incredible trails again for the experts all the way to the kiddos.  Great hiking, whitewater rafting, and fishing.  President Eisenhower frequented this area (Grand County) often through his life to fish the great waters here.  Plus, there are three lakes for boating, sailing, and even the occasional water ski outing (if you can put up with chilly waters!).

The lodging is inexpensive compared to other mountain towns like Aspen and Vail and to be honest, the people here are more down to earth (no furs!) and fun to hang out with – we don’t get pretentious in Grand County – we all just love the outdoors and getting out there!

Specifically on lodging – the base of the resort has some great new ski in/out options like the Base Camp on Jane Creek townhomes that make you feel like you’re in Aspen when you’re in your fancy digs.  Or, the Fraser Crossing/Founder’s Pointe new ski in/out condos are luxurious and have great views (not as fancy as Base Camp).

What are the top things to do (attractions, activities, events, etc.) in the area?  Are there any hidden gems that people may not be aware of?

Oops – just covered that above, but basically it’s:

  • Skiing/snowboarding
  • Cross-country skiing
  • Hiking
  • Mountain biking
  • Whitewater rafting
  • Boating, sailing
  • Fishing

As for hidden gems, yes, we actually blog about that at www.wplbo.com/news (click “hints” or “tips”) but a few highlights are:

What are the top 5 ‘must-try’ restaurants in the area?

Ah, good question…we blog about that too at: http://www.wplbo.com/news/category/winter-park-restaurants/

But here’s my list:

1) Tabernash Tavern

2) Brickhouse 40 (a bit of a drive)

3) Devil’s Thumb Ranch

4) The Cheeky Monk

5) Hernando’s Pizza and Pub

What popular entertainment/nightlife options in the area would you recommend?

I would suggest the Winter Park Pub (good ole bar with lots of draft beers), The Sushi Bar (also a good bar).  For entertainment, I would recommend Mo’s BBQ where they have a lot of live music and good grub.  A unique/unknown nighttime activity is to take the lift to the top of the mountain and dine at Sunspot. Pretty cool!

You rent homes to hundreds of guests each year….so you must have a funny story or two about people that visit Winter Park, CO:

Oh yeah…In fact, we chronicle them in our newsletter to owners. I guess the funniest one lately was a lady who was staying at one of our properties called after midnight one evening arriving late from the Denver airport.  She was sweet as pie but said “I can’t get the garage code to work where I am staying in order to get in!”.  We said “The place you are staying doesn’t have a garage, so you better get out of there quick!”.  She laughed and we led her to the correct property.  Once there, she said “I am putting in the code to the lockbox on the wall (note the word “wall” not “door”) and the door is not opening!!!”  We had to explain to her that there is a key inside that lockbox and she has to then take it over to the door and put it in the keyhole.

Area: Vacation Rentals in North Myrtle Beach, SC

Expert: Kristen Askey with Susan Hewson & D’Aun Kingsbury

Years living in North Myrtle Beach:  Susan has lived in North Myrtle Beach for 26 years.  D’Aun has lived in the area for 20 years.

Company: Ocean Resorts

What makes North Myrtle Beach a great destination to visit and stay in a vacation rental?

1. Beautiful, wide sandy beaches.

2. The original home of Beach Music and Shag Dancing.  (“The Shag” is the State “Dance”)

3. North Myrtle Beach … A small city incorporating a quaint residential feel with a fun yet peaceful beach experience for all walks of life.  Guests are within short driving distance to all the entertainment, attractions, restaurants, shopping, and golf venues in North Myrtle Beachand Myrtle Beach, but can enjoy a quiet and relaxing beach experience without being right in by the hubbub of touristy amusements and traffic.  (For example:  People go to Myrtle Beach to play and be right in the middle of the summer vacation hoopla.  People go to North Myrtle Beach to be close enough to the same hoopla, but away from it enough to relax and enjoy family time together at the beach).

4. Family friendly accommodations are numerous and varied in the form of classic condominiums, high rise resorts, and detached beach houses.  North Myrtle Beach has different beach areas in which specific vacation tastes can be accommodated.  (Cherry Grove, Tilghman Beach, Ocean Drive Beach, etc).

5. North Myrtle Beach is easily accessible by major new highways and is only 20 miles from the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

What are the top things to do (attractions, activities, events, etc.) in the area?  Are there any hidden gems that people may not be aware of?


• Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival – one of the largest on the East Coast.

• Taste of the Coast at Barefoot Landing

• Blues & Jazz Festival

• Sounds of Summer Concert Series

• Mayfest on Main

• July 4th Fireworks Display

• SOS Spring Safari and Fall Migration

• Octoberfest on Main Street

• The Little River Blue Crab Festival

• Endless Summer Festival on Main Street

• Intracoastal Christmas Regatta


Barefoot Landing (outdoor shopping, dining, amusements), Tanger Outlet (name brand outlet shopping), Alabama Theatre, Alligator Adventure, House of Blues, La Belle Amie Vineyard & Winery, Vereen Gardens and Nature Walk, quaint Main Street shopping.

General things to do:  water sports, deep sea and pier fishing, golf, miniature golf, and tennis.

What are the top 5 ‘must-try’ restaurants in the area?

There are many to choose from and everybody’s taste differs…  So… here’s what we’ve come up with … we couldn’t limit to “5.”

Local favorites include:  Sea Blue, Villa Tuscana, The Parsons Table, Chestnut Hill, and Cagney’s.

Popular venues for tourists include Greg Norman’s Australian Grille, Damon’s (famous for BBQ ribs), Dick’s Last Resort (good food, not too price, but watch out for the waiters!), Umberto’s, Dockside (in Calabash, NC).

What popular entertainment/nightlife options in the area would you recommend?

Shag Dancing at Fat Harold’s and Ducks, concerts at the House of Blues, Dixie Stampede & Carolina Opry.

You rent homes to hundreds of guests each year….so you must have a funny story or two about people that visit North Myrtle Beach?

It was difficult to come up with just a couple of stories that are generically “North Myrtle Beach”, but one North Myrtle Beach phenomenon is the Shaggers.  The shag dancers are drawn to North Myrtle Beach as it is the place in which the state couples dance was founded.  The Ocean Drive area is the shag “mecca”, as it were.  There are numerous festivals and dance competitions held every year that attract the Shaggers – young and old — including the April Spring Safari and the September Fall Migration.  Shaggers can’t stay close enough to Ocean Drive and the “O.D. Experience”.   Ocean Resorts offers condominium rentals 2 blocks from Ocean Drive at Tilghman Beach & Racquet Club, and this has historically been “the place” to stay for Shaggers because it is within short walking distance to O. D.   Ocean Resorts also offers condominium rentals 6 blocks from Ocean Drive, but we have found that those extra 4 blocks are just “too far” for those hard-core shaggers who want to be on Ocean Drive 24/7 to dance!

The FlipKey Blog often features stories and testimonials from local experts or recent guests who are familiar with one of our many popular vacation rental destinations. We caught up with Katherine S. a physical therapist and Portland, OR local who recently visited Sunriver, OR with her family and loyal K-9 companion. Katherine had great things to say about her first experience as a vacation home renter. 
Area: Vacation Rentals in Sunriver, OR

Guest: Katherine S

Katherine, how many times have you visited Sunriver?

Once, this was my first time.

What size group were you traveling with?

7 plus one dog

Why did you choose to travel to Sunriver, OR?

Close proximity to Portland and we were hoping for snow so we could ski and snowshoe.

Why did you choose to stay in a vacation rental instead of a hotel or resort?

There was a group of us, and after researching different locations a vacation rental was the best deal and it came with a hot tub, games, and a full kitchen!

What activities, attractions, and events would you recommend to other visitors of Sunriver, OR?

Winter time: anything snow related.  Ski or snowboard at Mt. Bachelor, go tubing at Mt. Bachelor, snowshoe, cross-country ski or rent a snow mobile.  And or course…relax, your on vacation!

What was the best part of the vacation home you stayed in?

Ping-pong table and the hot tub

Where is the next trip going to be?  Are you going to look for a vacation home again?

Next trip is Cancun…need to get some sort of warm weather. 

For going back to Sunriver, next year!   As a group we decided to make this trip annually.  We all had a great time and it was very affordable.  We would definitely use a vacation home again

Area:  Vacation Rentals in Sunriver, Oregon

Expert: Robert W. Bennington

Years living in Sunriver: 10

Company:  Bennington Properties, LLC.

Robert, what makes Sunriver a great destination to visit and rent a vacation rental?

Central Oregon as a whole is considered one of the top Outdoor Meccas of the world and Sunriver sits right in the middle of it all.  Surrounded by 1.6 million acres of National Forest you would be hard pressed to find a resort with more places to “get away from it all” than Sunriver.  The Deschutes River runs right through Sunriver sporting world famous trout fishing and white water rafting.  A 20-minute drive takes you to the top of Mt Bachelor Ski Resort where, depending on the season, you can choose to downhill ski, cross country ski, mountain bike, or enjoy world class dining and sight seeing.  Want to enjoy a night on the town? Visit our little city in the woods (Bend, Oregon) just 18 miles away that plays host to a plethora of restaurants and activities to fill your evenings with.

What are the top things to do (attractions, activities, events, etc.) in the area?  Are there any hidden gems that people may not be aware of?

Even with the seemingly infinite number of activities to enjoy here in Sunriver (everything from rock climbing to jet skiing) our restort’s greatest assests are truly the peaceful, family friendly amenities that are available.  With over 30 miles of paved bike trails that wind around the resort, families of all sizes and ages can enjoy an active day out.  Central Oregon boasts over 20 premier golf courses, 4 of which are right here in Sunriver.  We are also home to over 100 trail horses that love to take riders (beginners and experienced) exploring into the mountains.

What are the top 5 ‘must-try’ restaurants in the area?

What is so incredible about Sunriver is we attract every age and class of visitor.  So whether your needs require a romantic evening for two, or a table for 16 (with 6 high chairs) Sunriver has it all.   Our all time favorite restaurant that is both romantic and family friendly is the Trout House.  This beautiful restaurant sits on the Deschutes River, with views of the river from every table.  An incredible collection of culinary genius will greet your palette with every bite.  A focus mostly on local “seafood” (everything from salmon and trout to clams) with a wide selection of entrees for the “land” loving food critics in the family.

We also recommend the following must try restaurants in Sunriver:

2.Café Sintra (for the Portuguese in you)

3. Village Bar and Grill (good ol’ American burger and fries)

4.Blondies Pizza (can’t beat this when you have a inkling for pizza)

5. The Meadows Restaurant (the view is incredible)

What popular entertainment/nightlife options in the area would you recommend?

For night life most of our guests prefer cuddling up to a roaring fireplace in their vacation home of choice, but for those that want an escape from the house, we recommend the “Owls Nest” at the lodge for cocktails.  Or if selection is what you want, a short drive to Bend will open your possibilities to a selection of clubs, restaurants, plays, concerts, or an evening at the movies.

You rent homes to hundreds of guests each year….so you must have a funny story or two about people that visit Sunriver.

We have every kind of story imaginable, but one of the funniest was a family that was staying in one of our non-pet friendly homes.  At about 11:00 am on the day this family was supposed to be checking out, we received a frantic call from the guests saying that they could not find their dog.  “Your dog” we asked, perplexed why this family had brought their dog to a home they knew was not dog friendly.  “Oh don’t worry, said the guest, we never allowed our dog in the home, she always stayed in her kennel in our car.”  Well after several hours of searching Sunriver, the guests were unable to find their dog and had to leave to head back home.  Later that day when our housekeepers arrived at the house they found a cute little fluffy white dog curled up on the king sized master bed.  She must have had enough of sleeping in a kennel and decided to hide in the house until she knew it was safe to come out and enjoy her rightful place on the bed.  I wish I had a picture of that little princess enjoying her well deserved vacation in Sunriver – a perfect image of what it means to be on vacation in Sunriver.

Area: Vacation Rentals in Russian River Valley, CA

Expert: Camille LeGrand

Years living in area:  Full-time 15 years; part-time an additional 6 years

Company:  Russian River Getaways

What makes the Russian River area a great destination to visit and rent a vacation home:
We have it all:  gorgeous scenery, great Mediterranean weather, proximity to many activities.  This area is geared to year-round outdoor activities with redwood forested mountains, a serene summer river, and beautiful creeks, all a short distance to Pacific coast beaches.  Activities include hiking, biking (Lance Armstrong trains here), fishing, swimming, boating, hot air-ballooning, golf, and horseback-riding, in addition to world class wine-tasting at our hundreds of wineries known for some of the best pinot noir, chardonnay, and zinfandel in the world.  We also have great food, emphasizing locally grown ingredients since just about everything grows in the boutique Sonoma County farmland.

What the top things to do in the Russian River area:

Hiking among the ancient redwood trees in Armstrong Wood State Park

Strolling the beach at Goat Rock State Park with its giant rock formations, huge sandy beaches, and harbor seal population

Kayaking the river (try it under a full moon)

Japanese spa treatments at Osmosis in Freestone

Wine tours

Guided tours of the winery and garden at Korbel

Charles M. Schultz museum and ice-skating in Santa Rosa

Mud baths at Calistoga

Day trip to Bodega Bay; day trip to Salt Point

Any hidden gems or events travelers should be aware of?


There are rare performances held in the amphitheatre in the redwood forest (see http://www.stewardsofthecoastandredwoods.org/) for event schedule; hiking to Bull Frog in the Austin Creek Reserve; our own African safari at Safari West (http://www.safariwest.com/), Cazadero General Store, shopping and brunch in Occidental, the Pink Elephant tavern in Monte Rio, watching  the logging operation at Berry’s Saw Mill, shopping and dining at Duncans Mills (a re-creation of a turn of the century logging town), hanging out at the Blue Heron (especially when they have local live music, always really good, and try the barbecued oysters on the outdoor patio on Sunday afternoon), the World War II Quonset hut movie theater, with period murals, in Monte Rio, Raymond’s Bakery.


The rodeo in June, Civil Wars Days re-enactment in July, Women’s Weekends in May and September, Jazz & Blues Festival in September, Winter Wineland in January, Barrel-Tasting Weekends in March.

Recommended Russian River Restaurants and Nightlife?

Top five restaurants:  We are a gourmet mecca with dozens and dozens of fabulous restaurants, so it’s impossible to name all the great restaurants.  Here are a few:


Farmhouse Inn,  Cape Fear,  Applewood,  Zazu, Mosaic,  The Sandpiper,  Underwood Bar and Bistro, John Ash


La Tapatia Tacqueria (the best Mexican food outside Mexico),  Garden Grill (great hamburgers and curly fries),  Willowood Café


Not a nightlife kind of place.  Neighborhood bars: The Pink Elephant  in Monte Rio, the Blue Heron in Duncans Mills.

Area: Gatlinburg, TN

Expert: Shawn Spiezio

Years living in Gatlinburg:8

Company: Aunt Bug’s Cabin Rentals

Subject: Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals

What makes Gatlinburg a great destination to visit and rent a vacation home? 

Gatlinburg is quaint small town within a short driving distance to most of the Eastern U.S.’s population and is one of the main entrances to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Over the years, the 11 million annual tourists have become accustomed to staying in Gatlinburg vacation rentals up on the mountain ridges, tucked away in the woods, or nestled on the river.  The cabin rentals offer affordability, luxurious amenities, & the comforts of home which are great for a romantic weekend getaway, family reunion, and corporate retreat.  After a long day of hiking, shopping, or nothing, a little relaxing in a hot tub feels very good.  There is something for everyone in Gatlinburg.

What are the top things to do (attractions, activities, events, etc.) in the area?  Are there any hidden gems that people may not be aware of?  

Most tourists enjoy the Smoky Mountain National Park, Ripley’s Aquarium, Dollywood, Dixie Stampede, music theaters, shopping, golfing, hiking, fishing, whitewater rafting, and horseback riding.  Cades Cove is an early pioneer area in the national park that is great for biking, hiking, and sightseeing for bears and deer.  The Herbert Holt park in Gatlinburg is tucked away on the Little Pigeon River with picnic tables and a kid designated trout fishing area.  The Arts & Crafts area is home to beautiful galleries and local artisans honing their craft.

What are the top 5 ‘must-try’ restaurants in the area?  

The Pancake Pantry is a must for breakfast enthusiasts.  For lunch, I would recommend the Pottery Barn Café and the Bullfish Grill.  For dinner, try the Cherokee Grill, The Apple Barn farmhouse, and the Peddler.

What popular entertainment/nightlife options in the area would you recommend?  

If you don’t feel like shooting a game of pool or relaxing in the hot tub at your cabin, Gatlinburg offers a variety of nightlife options.  The Smoky Mountain brewery has live music and lots of tvs(I like their micro-brew Velles Helles.)  Many locals enjoy Hellbenders Grill, Jared’s Grill at the Ship, and TGIFridays.  If you feel like dancing, Blaines restaurant doubles as a club at night.  Also, Gatlinburg is host to the Smoky Mountains Tunes and Tales event in the summer which offers free musical entertainment and storytelling that appeals to all age groups along the streets of Gatlinburg. 

You rent homes to hundreds of guests each year….so you must have a funny story or two about people that visit Gatlinburg?  

I’ve got a few.  Originally called White Oak Flats, there are many stories as to how Gatlinburg got its name, all involving a controversial figure who settled here in 1854. Radford C. Gatlin opened the town’s second general store and when the post office was established in his store, in 1856, the town name changed to Gatlinburg.  Legend has it that if he left town for good, he could keep his life and the town would bear his name. 

Many people that come on vacation are looking for a little R&R.  Instead of following directions or a map,  people have become spoiled by their GPS devices.  One of our homeowners who was from Alabama and has been here a million times programmed his GPS for Gatlinburg TN.  At a stop, he hit a button on his GPS and followed its directions.  Several hours later, he realized he was in Missouri!!   

Pristine white powder slopes, breathtaking views, and extreme mountain terrain are just a few of the things that come to mind while visiting one of America’s most vibrant ski havens: Aspen and Snowmass Village, CO. Explore four distinct mountains, each with their own unique steeps, glades, and runs that are all within a close proximity and made easily accessible thanks to free ski shuttles that travel continuously throughout the day.

Though Aspen has been long known as a pricey ski destination for the rich and the famous, there are affordable ways to take advantage of one of the top ski areas in the world. The best lodging accommodations can often be found in personal vacation homes, which offer luxuries that hotels simply can’t; extra space for skis and boards, a personal fireplace and hot tub, a full kitchen, at a price that significantly rivals surrounding hotels. A family of six looking for a two-bedroom hotel suite in Aspen for five days should plan to fork over roughly $4,200 during the month of December, while a mountainside vacation rental with three bedrooms can cost approximately $2,500 for the same length of time.

If your needs might call for a hotel or lodge don’t despair, there are some affordable hotel options as well.
For instance, Aspen Mountain Lodge, in the heart of Aspen, CO, offers an affordable alternative to the majority of surrounding hotels. A three-bedroom suite during peak season, (February through March) will cost guests roughly $1,650 for five days, and is located just minutes from local Aspen shops and restaurants.

Exploring previous guests’ reviews and experiences is a powerful tool in identifying whether travelers are getting a deal or not. One guest titled their review of Aspen Mountain Lodge on TripAdvisorGreat Value in an Expensive Town,” stating that their garden room was comfortable, homey, well furnished- and affordable. The convenient downtown location, as well as the area’s free shuttle made transportation easy they wrote, and the complimentary breakfast was great. In the world of vacation rentals, similar testimonials can be found through FlipKey’s guest reviews. One guest titled their review of Evergreen Condos in Vail, “Great Location and Plenty of Room,” writing that they enjoyed the “large space in Vail Village,” as well as the indoor hot tub, outdoor pool, and the condo’s reasonable price.

Few places can rival Breckenridge, CO and the neighboring towns of Silverthorne, Keystone, and Frisco, CO for its flawless white powder slopes and great dining and shopping venues. Explore Breckenridge Mountain, one of the most popular ski destinations in North America with a summit elevation of 13,000 ft., thirty running lifts, and 155 trails. The fun continues in downtown Breckenridge, where you’ll find chic ski boutiques, cafes, restaurants, and local pubs. Enjoy the city’s Ullr Festival, a weeklong celebration of he mythical Norse god of snow, Ullr, which includes the Main Street Parade and winter sporting events.

Although Breckenridge and outlying areas feature a number of lodges and hotels, the best lodging accommodations can be found in personal vacation homes located throughout the area.

Currently on FlipKey there are nearly 600 vacation rentals located in Breckenridge many featuring verified guest reviews. Here is what a few recent guests had to say about their Breckenridge vacation rental experience.

Review of Park Avenue lofts 306 by Great Western Lodging 


Review of Breckenridge Mountain Village by Peak Management


A few months ago my friends and I were planning a trip to Las Vegas. Being in the Vacation Rental industry, I decided to float a crazy idea out there about where we should stay – in a vacation rental! The reaction from the group was consistent and discouraging, “Renting a house in Vegas? Not staying on The Strip? Blasphemy!”. I had inadvertently touched a nerve that exemplifies one of the industry’s major challenges – how do we educate people to understand that vacation rentals are a preferable option to hotels?

Armed with a bevy of insider facts and figures I diligently went to work at swaying the group. I found a few great housing options and explained the benefits.

 Carl’s Vegas Picture

My home for the weekend



Eight of us were going on the trip. For five nights we were looking at four hotel rooms at about $200/night on The Strip. Total cost = $4000.

The house I found was about $1500 for five nights. It contained ten separate beds across 6 bedrooms. Total cost = $1500.

Food & Beverage

My chosen house had a full kitchen and a 6-foot long grill out back. A quick trip to Costco on the first day and we’d be eating an assortment of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and late night snacks at the house. Compared to the Strip’s exorbitant food prices and $7+ drinks, this was another significant area for savings.


The reason we were going to Vegas in the first place was a reunion of sorts. We all went to college in Virginia together and have become scattered across the country over the last 10 years. Thus, it’s rare that we all get together and this trip was an opportunity for us to catch up. The rental house offered ample space for relaxation and entertainment. It included a beautiful pool, hot tub, pool table, poker table, big screen tv, and a patio with a gorgeous gazebo out back.


This was the final barrier to entry for everybody (self included). The house was about three miles off The Strip. However, we decided that the rest of the benefits outweighed the location, and we took the plunge. Having just returned from the trip, I can now safely say that the location was not as big of an issue as we thought. We rented a van for about $300, and it was only about an 8-minute drive to The Strip. When the occasional taxi was needed it was a reasonable $20 trip. The van even paid for itself with all the airport pickups and drop-offs that would have otherwise required taxis.

Ultimately, we ended up spending more time at the house than anywhere else and everybody felt it was their best trip to Vegas ever. Vegas can be a grind of long hours with minimal sleep, but the vacation house offers a much-needed respite from the indulgences of The Strip.

While heading to the airport on our last day, my friend said it best: “You know, in a year I’m not going to remember the hundred bucks I won or lost at the blackjack table. But I will never forget how much fun we had at that house.”