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My daughter headed to Colorado early this morning…6:05 a.m. This meant she was up at 2:30 a.m. getting ready to be chauffered to the airport by my husband who wanted to leave no later than 4:15 a.m. While they both caught a few hours sleep, I got none. Blogging past midnight meant I was tossing and turning in bed after getting under the covers. Among the thoughts that kept me company in the wee hours of the morning, was one which kept me wondering if my daughter would wake up on time, since she’d gone to bed just minutes before me. So I became her self-appointed alarm clock. Tic-toc. Tic-toc. Tic-toc.
At 2:33 a.m., I leapt out of bed, and bursting through her bedroom door, I found my daughter with legs extended into the air…stretching. Dancers do that. She and Mocha, my dog, have that in common…stretching, stretching, stretching…before starting their daily routines. Something we should all imitate, warming up our muscles. I do a stretch routine every now and then which, I must admit, limbers me up and gets me going.
When I sent my family on their way, I blogged a tad longer, fed my cats, took Mocha for a short walk, and climbed back into bed…the sun already climbing to its perch in the sky. Being an empty-nester, I can keep crazy hours. Up all night. Sleeping in the next morning. I’m either awaken by an annoying marketing call, which is identified on my caller ID so I don’t have to answer it, or by my guilt at being in bed when the sun’s up. What if someone came to the door? As they have…the UPS man, and people soliciting goods or services. My trusty Mocha greets them with full on barking…woof!…woof!…woof! That does it! I’m up and into the bathroom…to start the day.
My sleep habits are not the topic of this blog, but I couldn’t resist. Maybe I wanted to give you some insight into my life as an empty-nester. Or it’s more likely I just got carried away…blah, blah, blah…which is often the case.
Image by nickdinatale via Flickr
Anyway…my daughter and 3 other friends, two who, like my daughter, are bridesmaids at a mutual friend’s wedding had sought to find accommodations months ago in Colorado. They naturally looked into the hotel where the wedding party is staying, and where the ceremony and reception will be held. The Ritz Carlton offered a room at a discount, generous in the hotel’s estimation, I’m sure. Instead of the $400+ a night usually charged, they could pay $265.
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Ballet dancers are not rich people, and so they strive for cheap…or go without. And besides their hotel room, these young folk needed to pay for airfare, car rental to drive the 2 hours from Denver Airport to their destination, meals, not to mention their bridesmaids dresses. The curmudgeon in me sprang into action. I sought to help my daughter and her friends by trolling the internet for a better deal than $265 a night plus taxes, for a 3 night stay.
Image via CrunchBase
As I proceeded to hunt for a bargain it dawned on me that a better alternative might be a condo. Lo and behold, there were literally hundreds available for rent in the area. And the site where I found affordable lodging for my daughter and her friends was VRBO – vacation rentals by owners.
Instead of one bedroom and one bathroom, the 4 have the use of 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, with the added bonus of a kitchen, living/dining room and free parking. All this for $178 a night, taxes included! Almost $100 less than the Ritz Carlton…with elbow room to breathe…and get dressed for the wedding ceremony…and have a bowl of cereal…and rest weary feet on a coffee table…and pull one’s car into a stall without paying for a valet. All this comfort at the more attractive, lower rate of $534 all-inclusive for 3 nights…instead of $795 + taxes for tighter quarters which lack the extra amenities.
The condo is managed by a reputable corporation which eliminates the concern that might occur with private owners. While I’d initially contracted another, charming condo, the owner’s request for up-front payment of the entire amount was a discomforting hitch. I explained that, and was allowed out of the reservation with no repercussion. On the other hand, the condo I ultimately reserved did not need to be paid for until 24 hours prior to arrival. The managing company was efficient in emailing my daughter a few necessary details, driving directions, and a request for the group’s arrival time so that it could be accommodated if it was before the usual check-in time. The rep also invited my daughter to email him with any questions, which she did.
Last year I rented a vacation home in Eastern Washington through VRBO. The home was an amazing deal…more room than our family of 3 needed. But we enjoyed returning to its comfort after a day of wine-tasting, antiquing, or driving around the countryside. Preparing some meals, like a simple spaghetti dinner or a pancake breakfast, was such a pleasure. Having so much room to spread out, playing games, dozing on the couch, repairing to the bedrooms for a good night’s sleep while the others watched late night TV…was such a treat. We felt we were at home…away from home. And the cost was less than we would’ve paid for two hotel rooms…or even one, large suite. And 3 adults in one hotel room, two being women is not my idea of a relaxing vacation.
In this instance, I dealt directly with the owners, a lovely, retired couple who lived elsewhere. A payment plan was scheduled whereby they would charge our credit card in incremental amounts until the full payment was made just prior to our arrival at the home. The key and all applicable information was mailed to us beforehand. The entire transaction went extremely smoothely.
If you’ve not familiarized yourself with VRBO, I suggest you do so…
you may never want to stay in another hotel room again………hugmamma.
(Note: Be certain to check for customer reviews before booking…at a hotel or VRBO rental. 😉 )