5 Awesome Alternatives to VRBO and Airbnb plus Homeaway
Are you looking for alternatives to VRBO? Would you like to use a website like VRBO but not pay any service fees?
Did you ever think of booking directly with the owner?
VRBO Service Fees have inspired vacationers to seek out alternatives to VRBO and Airbnb when booking a North Conway vacation rental. Find out the best vacation rental sites in 2020 and learn how to find no booking fee rentals.
Before we talk about the alternatives to VRBO, let me explain how Vacation Rentals have become such a big thing!
Vacation rentals booked directly with owners are one of the most popular ways to travel these days because of how convenient and affordable they are!
Because of the huge increase in popularity, the Internet has become clogged with Online Travel Agencies (OTA’s) like VRBO (Verbo), Airbnb and Booking.com, that clamor for your travel dollars.
Several years ago, HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb started allowing property managers of vacation rentals to advertise on their family of sites.
So now, instead of talking to the owner of vacation rentals, you might be dealing with a property manager that has an inventory of hundreds of properties. Any questions that you have are answered off a description sheet instead of chatting with an owner who loves their property!
You might be wondering what’s so special about booking a vacation rental directly with an owner?
Summer Things to do in North Conway, NH!
Most vacationers that come to North Conway, NH have a rough idea of their favorite things to do in North Conway, NH on vacation - after all, you picked the White Mountains and not the beach!
I'll break it down for you into 7 days packed with fun things to do - there's also a bonus 8th day for those that cannot get enough!
Kid Friendly Ski Resorts in North Conway, NH
East coast skiers are a tough bunch - even the kids! I hear all my west coast friends serenading “powder days” and even the occasional comment that they don’t ski unless there’s at least a foot of powder!
No matter what the North Conway weather is, you will see the chair lifts packed with us die-hards making our way to the top for just “one more run”!
Freezing temperatures, blowing snow or icy conditions will still bring out most everyone for a great day on the hill!
BUT... if my kids were going to ski on sub-perfect snow condition days, I'd want to make sure they would be safe. Skiing lessons are a great value when you think about the risks associated with your child making their way down a mountain without the knowledge of how to do so safely!
Kid Friendly Ski Resorts in North Conway, NH
Here's my take on the best family-friendly ski resorts in North Conway, NH.
I'm a local and have skied all the local mountains for years.
Check out this video for some tips about which North Conway ski resort would work out best for your family vacation.
I have lived and skied in in North Conway, NH for most of my life. When I started skiing here I was a beginner skier and with lots of great lessons and help from talented instructors I progressed in my skills enough that I became an instructor with the Eastern Slopes Ski Club (ESSC) Homeschool Ski Program!
During my journey I skied and took lessons at every mountain within 30 minutes of North Conway including; Cranmore Mountain, Attitash Mountain, King Pine, Black Mountain, Wildcat, Bretton Woods and even a private lesson at Tuckerman Ravine.
Although they all have their strong points I always refer my guests at Four Seasons Lodge to my favorite three kid friendly ski resorts:
I love all 3 for completely different reasons and hope you will enjoy them too!
North Conway, NH has the BEST Fall Foliage in the Country!
Where is the BEST fall foliage in the country? North Conway, NH of course! Plus, peak fall foliage is around mid-October - much later than when I was a kid!
OK, that's my not so humble opinion but, North Conway, NH DOES have amazing fall foliage. The fall foliage photos in the picture above were all taken in North Conway, NH by me (except the aerial train photo) in 2018.
I am a fall foliage junkie and am the lucky cowgirl that lives in North Conway, NH. I love to go horseback riding on the snowmobile trails to get photos that folks normally don't get to see.
The Kancamagus Highway, Mt Washington Hotel, and the White Mountain Trail are highlights of any fall foliage tour to North Conway, NH. Every year, I host groups of guests at Four Seasons Lodge that come to North Conway, NH to enjoy the foliage and all three photo op spots are minutes from the lodge.
There are spots to view fall foliage that you can get 360 degree views within a few minute's drive of Four Seasons Lodge in North Conway, NH or you can make a day of it and enjoy driving the "White Mountain Trail".
Introducing the Trustworthy Guide to Healthy Road Trip Snacks
We are officially entering the territory of things no-one talks about, although, quite honestly, I'm always talking about food so why no-one else talks about this is astounding to me. Snacks. That's right snacks on snacks on snacks!
Snacks for a road trip are sometimes difficult, depending on the length of your trip, but they are important and they can be delicious! No one wants to be lacking in snacks on a road trip. Who wants to be in a car full of *hangry people? Not I!
*Hangry: adjective. Someone who is irritable when they are hungry.
Planning a family reunion can be stressful, annoying, and awful...but they typically lead to some great laughs and wonderful memories! Once the planning part of a family reunion is out of the way, it's on to enjoying time with loved ones that you, typically, don't get to see very often.
Family reunion vacations in North Conway, NH come in all shapes and sizes. Most need to figure out how to get along on a family reunion vacation.
Some groups need to sleep a large group for their family reunion vacation. I’d love to help you with family reunion vacation themes and cheap ideas for your family reunion!
North Conway, NH is Perfect for Group Retreats and Events
North Conway, New Hampshire is perfect for group and corporate retreats! We have an abundance of indoor activities here in North Conway as well as outdoor things to do in North Conway, NH! There are several awesome North Conway Restaurants, White Mountain attractions that are perfect for groups and Four Seasons Lodge should be your next destination for your corporate retreat!
North Conway Vacation Rentals are not all created equal!
Be an informed consumer!
I talk about our New Hampshire cabin rental but these safety precautions will work for renting a vacation rental anywhere!
We have owned Four Seasons Lodge and operated is as a New Hampshire Vacation Rental for over 20 years and have heard lots of crummy stories!!
The crummy story about VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, and TripAdvisor is they charge YOU a Service Fee of 8-22% when you book online. According to industry analysts, those fees are predicted to go higher in 2019!
ALWAYS book directly with the owner to save BIG BUCKS!
New Hampshire Cabin Rentals are North Conway Wedding Venues for Elopements, Vow Renewals, and Intimate Weddings
We all just watched the Royal Wedding, but is your dream a little different? If so, Four Seasons Lodge is the perfect North Conway wedding venue for you!
If you're planning to elope, renew your vows, or celebrate at a New Hampshire cabin rental, North Conway, NH has a place for you!
North Conway, New Hampshire has some beautiful scenery and locations to plan your elopement, vow renewal, or any other wedding celebrations whether they are grand like the Royal Wedding or between you, you're love of your life a judge and a witness.
Eloping is not the same it used to be. Couples used to sneak off alone and stand in front of a judge and profess their commitment to each other.
In stark contrast, large (and not to mention expensive) weddings are all the rage--and marriage is becoming one of the most stressful events in a persons life.
$$, Amenities, Alternatives to VRBO & NH Cabin Rentals
Planning a vacation at a New Hampshire cabin rental opens up two worlds; one is a world of opportunities and the other is a world of tough decisions. This happens to us all, especially if you're planning a large family vacation at a NH cabin rental.
How do you know that North Conway, NH or a North Conway lodge is best for you?
How do you choose between a hotel or a North Conway lodge?
How do you know which option will make everyone in your party happy?
How do you find a cabin rental in New Hampshire?
What are some things to do in North Conway?
Let's be real, you don't know anything until you do some research. Unfortunately, a decision needs to be made at some point!
The Benefits of a New Hampshire Cabin Rental
5 Summer Ideas of Things To Do in North Conway, NH
Once you decide to go on a friend getaway, you have to plan which things to do in North Conway, NH will be fun for everyone!
How about Saco River Tubing, Diana's Baths, North Conway restaurants, hiking and North Conway Outlets. all while you're vacationing at a perfect North Conway Lodge called Four Seasons Lodge!
Sometimes we need a break from the kids, work, and life in general.
A guy or girlfriend getaway weekend is always refreshing and fun in North Conway, NH!
Girlfriend getaways at a North Conway Lodge are great to let loose and have fun with friends you may not see very oftern, because we all know that finding time for friends is hard once you reach adulthood.
You won't have to worry about having enough really fun things to do in North Conway, NH on your girls getaway but you will hear...
"I'm free on Mondays!"
"I'm only free on weekends..."
"Ugh, I'll see you... never."
"Can't find a sitter for the kids!"
We've all had conversations exactly like that... because life is crazy!
We're offering you a chance to spend time with your long-lost compadres on a girls getaway at a North Conway Lodge using our list of really fun things to do!
Besides, summer/fall/winter/spring is just around the corner and there are so many things to do in North Conway in any season!
Book Direct to save money by renting a North Conway vacation rental instead of a hotel room
When renting a North Conway vacation rental, if you book direct it will save you TONS of money! Let's face it, we all LOVE a bargain!
Before we delve into saving money, lets focus on how bargains are what turned North Conway into a four season resort versus just a simple ski town.
North Conway from its humble beginnings transformed itself into a vacation destination for families and singles to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
In 1988, the North Conway outlet mall called Settlers Green opened its doors as one of the first outlet malls in the country!
Vacationers and shoppers alike poured into town for the bargains the new North Conway outlet stores have to offer!
I really want to rent a cabin rental near me but I need some alternatives to VRBO
Here I sit, a cocktail in one hand and my computer on my lap. I NEED a find a great vacation rental and don't want it to be a run of the mill, hotel or motel destination vacation.
In the past, I always went to sites like hotels.com or expedia.com. It was easy peasy - pick a destination and get served up a buffet of venues in all shapes and sizes!
Enter big business. Really BIG business. In 2015, Expedia purchased VRBO and HomeAway for 3.9 BILLION dollars! Yikes! Vacation rentals (New Hampshire vacation rentals too) were catapulted onto the stock exchange and suddenly, wayyyy more money needed to be made with every transaction.
How does this affect me, you ask? I'm just the gal to tell you...
Celebrate Christmas in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
There are plenty of family friendly things to do in North Conway, NH during the winter.
There is nowhere better than New England to get you into the Christmas spirit!
Why would you want to spend Christmas anywhere besides a winter wonderland? You wouldn’t!
We all want to cozy up in a North Conway vacation rental by a roaring fire with a big mug of hot chocolate with your entire family and admire this beautiful time you get to spend together.
I don’t know about you, but the thought of cozying up next to a roaring fire in Florida literally sounds like hell.
Here are the top reasons to spend any winter holiday in North Conway and the White Mountains.
Sick of Climbing the Wall? Get to IME
Don’t Climb a Wall – Do the Real Thing with IME!
Now that winter has hit, are you getting cabin fever? How about getting out and doing something a little more adventurous this year?
Have you always wondered what it felt like to be high on Mount Washington in the winter with crampons on your feet, ice axe in hand as you battle its notoriously bad weather in search of the summit? (No? Me neither but I digress!)
Ever dreamed of ice climbing? Does the idea of being tied into the rope and swinging your tools into a vertical ribbon of ice sound fun to you? (Yikes!)
IME - International Mountain Equipment
Maybe you've been rock climbing once and always wondered what the winter equivalent was like. Well, stop wondering and check out IME - International Mountain Equipment.
Yes! These North Conway Restaurants DO Deliver!
There's much more to vacationing than finding the perfect North Conway vacation rental! Once you've decided upon whichthings to do, the next task at hand will be to plan what and where you're going to eat!
One of the many reasons to rent a vacation rental is that you're able to cook meals at home and save lots of cash! Let's face it though, after a long day on the slopes or a Storyland, cooking might be the last thing you want to do!
A great compromise for your tired kids' sake as well as yours is to order great food from one of the restaurants in North Conway, NH that deliver!
North Conway Restaurants & Food Allergies
Russ and I have entered the world of food, pet and environmental allergies. No one knows why but he is moderately to severely allergic to 18 of the 20 foods he was tested for plus many environmental and pet allergies thrown in for good measure too!
For all of you reading this blog, the great thing is that we live in North Conway and can help your food allergic loved one(s) enjoy a meal in one of our local North Conway restaurants that are gluten free! We realize that many folks need more than just gluten free but that seems to be the most commonly know allergen.
For those of you that have allergies to many different things we highly recommend printing out these chef cards. Click Here They make it so much easier for the folks in the restaurant not to have to remember your laundry list of allergies!
North Conway Vacation Rentals are BETTER than a Hotel
7 Reasons North Conway Vacation Rentals are Better!
1. Vacation rentals are EVERYWHERE! – Hotels are usually plunked along major highways and at exit ramps. Venture into local neighborhoods, off the beaten track and tucked away places and that’s where you’ll find them!
2. Personalized Service – Having a special celebration? Keep it intimate! Vacation renal owners can arrange for a catered meal, a paint and sip class, a yoga class or even a massage therapist
3. Cook at HOME - Let’s face it, the cost of the hotel room is small compared to the cost of dining out 3 meals and doing all paid entertainment. Some of our most memorable conversations over the years have happened around the family table.
Having a kitchen for your use allows you to cook when and what you will enjoy instead of ending up at a restaurant that has a menu with nothing on the menu that jumps out at you.
If you have an food allergies a kitchen is literally a lifesaver for some!
4. Save Money - Do the math! The per bedroom rate is less PLUS you won’t have as much entertainment cost. You can relax and play a game of cards instead of shelling out money for the myriad of paid entertainment options in most vacation destinations.
The bonding time spent in a relaxing atmosphere will be priceless!
Vacation Rental Travel and North Conway Vacation Rentals
Back in the day, vacations were planned at the kitchen table. If you were lucky you owned a Rand McNally Road Atlas, you mailed away for countless brochures from travel vacation bureaus, asked friends and family for suggestions and owned a car in good enough shape to get you to your destination!
Fast forward to 2015 and nothing about vacation planning even remotely resembles the days of yesteryear! Plus, most families vacation a couple times a year instead of once every few years.
Maps have been replaced by online websites and GPS, the main source of vacation destination information is the Internet, Facebook is the main source of information about our friend's and relative's travel experiences and most average families have at least two fairly new vehicles in the driveway or the travel will be done by plane!
It's much easier now a days to plan a vacation. Once the destination has been chosen, next on the agenda is the vacation rental destination. With booking sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, the search has become somewhat of a one stop shopping.
One stop shopping is easy but is it always the best choice? The plot thickens…
Several years ago HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb started allowing property managers of vacation rentals to advertise on their family of sites. The problem with allowing property managers to advertise on those sites is that VRBO and HomeAway and Airbnb started as site that listed properties being rented by owners.
Now, instead of knowing you will be dealing with the actual owner of a property you might be interacting with a property manager that represents their client's properties. Some property managers represent tens of properties while others might have hundreds!
Which leads you to wonder... what's so special about booking a vacation directly with an owner? Well, I'm just the gal to tell you!
Here are my top six reasons to rent a Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)
Yes! Awesome New Hampshire Cabin Rentals DO Exist!
Back in the day, vacations at New Hampshire cabin rentals were planned at the kitchen table. If you were lucky you owned a Rand McNally Road Atlas, you had mailed away for countless brochures from travel vacation bureaus, asked friends and family for suggestions and owned a car in good enough shape to get you to your destination!
Fast forward to 2017 and nothing about planning a vacation and things to do in North Conway, NH even remotely resembles the days of yesteryear! Plus, most families vacation a couple times a year instead of once every few years.
Maps have been replaced by online websites and GPS, the main source of vacation destination information is the Internet, Facebook is the main source of information about our friend's and relative's travel experiences at NH cabin rentals, and most average families have at least two fairly new vehicles in the driveway or the travel will be done by plane!
It's much easier now a days to choose a perfect New Hampshire cabin rental and plan a vacation in North Conway, NH. Once the destination has been chosen, next on the agenda is picking out the best North Conway lodge. There are booking sites like VRBO (or maybe you'd like an alternative to VRBO)and HomeAway, the search has become somewhat of a one stop shopping.
Several years ago HomeAway, the company that owns VRBO, started allowing property managers of vacation rentals to advertise on their family of sites. The problem with allowing property managers to advertise on those sites is that VRBO and HomeAway started as site that listed properties being rented by owners. Get it? VRBO = Vacation Rentals by Owners
Now, instead of knowing you will be dealing with the actual owner of a property you might be interacting with a property manager that represents their client's properties. Some property managers represent tens of properties while others represent hundreds!
In the last year, both VRBO and Homeaway have forced owners to allow guests to do all their bookings online. Some guests would rather push a button book online rather than communicating directly with owners.
The ability to push a button called "Book it Now" will cost you lots! VRBO and Homeaway charge guests a Service Fee when they book online of up to 20%!
Airbnb and TripAdvisor charge guests a Service Fee up to 24%
Do the math... if you are renting a huge lodge for a group vacation for $5,000, the Service Fee could be as high as $1,200 to use the site.
Which leads you to wonder... what's so special about booking a vacation directly with an owner? Well, I'm just the gal to tell you!
Here are my top 6 reasons to rent a North Conway Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)
We are locals and know the ins and outs of North Conway.