There is no need to barricade yourself into a staycation in 2017 - discovering affordable and magical luxury escapes is as easy as ever. Ditch the routine vacation in the next state over and create new family (or solo) travel traditions in an enchanting destination. The most Instagram-worthy adventures are the ones you create yourself once you step out of your comfort zone and export your daily life to the sprawling vacation rental of your dreams. Here are seven tips that will make your rental experience so glamorous, you'll almost be travel-envying yourself.
1. Discover the rental you love and make it an annual vacation home
Trade in your regular cityscape or suburban surroundings for a magical ski chalet in Austria or a lavish beach house in Turks and Caicos - whatever your wildest vacation fantasy is, I promise a better version of it exists. If you aren't the solo-travel type, ask your group of friends if they want to divvy up the costs to make it the best BFF vacation ever. Most vacation rentals even allow small events (the party alarms are blaring). Plan the vacation of your wildest dreams, make it happen, and repeat - most hosts will offer a discount if you're a returning visitor.
2. Make two separate rental bookings in two neighborhoods - touristy and local - to have the best of both worlds
Think about someone from Europe visiting New York City for the first time. The experiences you'll have in Midtown vs. the cozy streets of Williamsburg are drastically different but both wonderful. Smart travelers should be open-minded to switching rentals to soak up every destination fully.
3. Consider renting luxury
The travel game is changing. Don't consider services like Airbnb designed only for budget travelers. Rental websites boast some of the most unique, crazy-luxurious, and stunning accommodation options in the world. From a hip Los Angeles bungalow to a beachfront mansion in the Bahamas, you can live in the house of your dreams - if even for a short while.
4. Think beyond the typical four walls
Want to stay in a tree house bungalow in the middle of the forest? Or what about having an entire lighthouse in England to yourself? Or perhaps a seashell-shaped house in Mexico is more your vacation beat. Make your grand escape beyond-memorable by researching luxurious options beyond four walls. Anything beyond your wildest imagination is out there.
5. Consider bringing your pet
Don't run around your town looking for a pet-sitter last minute - chances are your pet can come along. Rental websites are loaded with pet-friendly accommodation options, and guests can quickly peruse the profile of each property to determine if your pet is welcome along. Because what is life or any experience without our fur children?
6. Read reviews and create a conversation with your host
One tiny detail missed could equate to a miserable vacation, and no jet-setter deserves that. Communicate your expectations and plans from the beginning. Hosts on websites such as Airbnb are often incredibly warm and eager to help with any detail of planning your trip. From hidden restaurant gems serving traditional cuisine to activities the locals do every weekend, kindly treat your host as a personal concierge and ask.
7. Don't show up empty-handed
Unless going five-star at the Ritz, renting another person's home is a substantially more personal experience than most hotel chains can provide - so etiquette counts. Be sure to bring a bottle of wine or a trinket from your home country that your host can enjoy; they will probably have the same favor waiting for you.