Travel smarter, better, and cheaper!

I love to travel, and it’s easier than ever to reach the far corners of the globe! Of course, while globalization has made the world more accessible, it has also made it more vanilla. From the ubiquitous McDonalds and Starbucks, to the sameness of EveryHotelEverywhere, you could spend two weeks in another country and still feel like you never left home. How unfortunate!

Well, I don’t know about you, but that isn’t okay with me. I WANT MY TRAVEL ADVENTURE TO START AS SOON AS I OPEN MY EYES! I want the place where I wake up to be as much a part of the flavor of my trip as the museums I visit and the food I eat.

Happily, we live in the day of AirBNB and VRBO, so there is no excuse not immerse yourself in a global adventure right in your bedroom.

Even better, traveling this way can *save you money* and *keep you healthy*! Seriously! How is this possible, you ask?


The 13th Century watchtower we stayed in while in Tuscany. Seriously.


  • The cost of having your own apartment is usually equivalent, or less than, the cost of a 3-star hotel room, and usually has more character. But they aren’t the same, because if your apartment has a kitchen, then you don’t have to eat out every meal. We all know eating in costs less, so save your pennies for dinners out, and enjoy a leisurely breakfast on your own lovely terrace and pack a lunch.


  • Having your own kitchen not only saves you money, it also gives you much more control over your meals. I don’t know about you, but a week of eating every meal out not only makes me *feel* gross and overweight, it also tends to make me put on a couple pounds each week. Who needs that? Save your calories for special meals.


  • Eating in means that you are going to have to explore local markets. That can be a little unnerving because nowhere can you feel more out of your comfort zone than trying to shop in another culture and language. International markets are colorful experiences in more ways than one, and well worth you putting on your big-girl travel pants and trying to get home with the cooking basics.

Rebecca in Flavia’s Cooking Class at Hysteria Mattta in Umbria

Now, you don’t have to be completely on your own. My hubby and I regularly take a local cooking class early on in our adventure. Ideally it is one that will not only familiarize us with local cooking techniques, but will take us to a local market – it’s much easier to be hand held your first visit! Plus you’ll get to know your instructors favorite vendors!

Now, those are just the really good fact-based reasons to travel outside the hotel-chains. But the real beauty literally lies inside the spaces available to rent. Seriously, say goodbye to boring beige bedrooms, and say hello to a centuries-old apartment in Assisi, cave-dwellings in Matera, an attic loft in Paris, and even a tree house right here in the Puget Sound (we’ve stayed at all the above except the cave-dwelling, but we did drive through Matera – it was amazing – you should go!)

I could go on and on, but really, all you need to do is start exploring some of the spaces in a city of interest, book it, and go. Your adventure can’t help but be made more memorable by escaping the ho-hum hotel and waking up to an adventure while still laying on your pillow!

Rebecca in Assisi Italy

Rebecca inside the uh-mazing VRBO in Assisi

May your life be filled with happy adventures, even when not at home!


Hi! I’m Rebecca West.

I’m not your classic interior designer because, frankly, I don’t care if you buy a new sofa. I do care if your home supports your goals and feels like “you.” Remember, happy starts at home!