What website can find unique travel desitations that don't include huge resorts?
July 28, 2010 10:47 AM   Subscribe

Looking to arrange a vacation getaway that does not entail Club Med style huge pampered resorts, rather have a tiny cottage with local feel and flavor. All major travel sites that I know can't arrange this, are there any websites that do?

I'm not looking to do a voluncation, or vacationteering. I figured by now the interwebs would have gotten around to making a site that caters to the folk that want to get a little more involved in their vacations than just sitting in a tight and pristine hotel room sipping champagne in their bath robes.
posted by ozreiuosn to Travel & Transportation (22 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
"I'm not looking to do a voluncation, or vacationteering. I figured by now the interwebs would have gotten around to making a site that caters to the folk that want to get a little more involved in their vacations "

...so... you're not looking to do volunteering but want to be more involved in your vacation?
Like what?

I'm not sure I understand what you're looking for.
posted by KogeLiz at 10:58 AM on July 28, 2010


The Tourist Information for whatever country you are thinking of would be a good start.

For example.
posted by emilyw at 11:03 AM on July 28, 2010


My wife consults the LonelyPlanet forums for this kind of advice.
posted by localroger at 11:10 AM on July 28, 2010


VRBO ("vacation rental by owner") makes the lodging part in a tiny cottage easy, but you kind of have to know where you're going. Also, I'm not sure of their global coverage, and from your question I get a hint of wanting to go somewhere unique, not just where you can find a cute house on the Big Island.
posted by troyer at 11:15 AM on July 28, 2010


@kogeliz: I want the accomadations of those you might expect at a vacationteer thingus, they seem to be more low-key and in the likes of the locals. That's why I put that descriptor in there.
posted by ozreiuosn at 11:18 AM on July 28, 2010


Not entirely clear to me what you're looking for either. "Getting a little more involved" could me any number of different things, from WWOOF to just hitting the B&B and local pub circuit on a motorcycle.

All of these are doable. But you need a clearer picture of what you're looking for before anyone can give specific recommendations about where to start looking.
posted by valkyryn at 11:19 AM on July 28, 2010


Instead of staying in a hotel or resort, sounds like you might be happy renting a house for a week or two. I have done this twice in Italy, and thoroughly enjoyed both trips. Once I rented a large house in the countryside in Tuscacny with my entire family, and once an apartment in the city for 3 people. It's great because you can do your own grocery shopping in the local stores, and really get a feel for the town. I've used Ville in Italia, but there are lots of other companies that do this, and in lots of other European countries.

Or, if you're more into outdoorsy stuff, I also recommend Rara Avis, a lodge in the rainforest in Costa Rica. A great place to chill out for a few days to relax, hike, and see lots of cool monkeys and birds.
posted by bobafet at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2010


Rather than tell us what you don't want to do, tell us what you do want to do. Your question is not at all clear.
posted by dfriedman at 11:27 AM on July 28, 2010


Also, where do you plan on vacationing?
What country?

I believe this is international: Bed & Breakfast.com is a great resource if you are interested in staying at B&Bs. I prefer that to hotels.

tripadvisor.com has a lot of advice in their forums and on their reviews, -once you decide on a location.

There are also farm stays in multiple countries as well. Depending on the owners, if you help out on the farm, you get a reduced rate. Otherwise you can just hang out on the farm.
posted by KogeLiz at 11:29 AM on July 28, 2010


I don't know where you're looking to go, but I've stayed in a number of wonderful guesthouses as listed on hostelworld.com. They're often a private room or apartment run by a friendly local. Go with one with good ratings and good feedback, and you'll hopefully end up having a fun experience.

Maybe try googling for "holiday cottage let [country of your choice]" and you'll have better luck.
posted by Magnakai at 11:32 AM on July 28, 2010


I want a website that finds hotels/hostels/inn's in tropical locations (Central and South America) that are not huge resorts or chain hotels. I'm wanting a cottage/shack/yurt/etc that's low key, simple accommodations, in a city of said regions with street vendors and open air markets, along with being with in a mile of a beach, but on the beach would be preferred.
posted by ozreiuosn at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2010


Really the right answer to this posting a link to "Let Me Google That For You" but we need to know where you want to go.

For example France - you want to look up Gites and Ferme Auberge in the region you want
Italy/Spain/Portugal - various iterations of agrotourism and rural tourism.

and so on and so on.

If its a city google "City + Short-term Rentals"
posted by JPD at 11:37 AM on July 28, 2010


I want a website that finds hotels/hostels/inn's in tropical locations (Central and South America) that are not huge resorts or chain hotels. I'm wanting a cottage/shack/yurt/etc that's low key, simple accommodations, in a city of said regions with street vendors and open air markets, along with being with in a mile of a beach, but on the beach would be preferred.


so pick a place and get to googling. Or find a good travel agent and pay them. That's how people find these things - it's really not hard.
posted by JPD at 11:39 AM on July 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can find a lot of that info on tripadvisor. Just start searching, filtering, and reading reviews and you'll get a sense of the type of place. Lonely Planet sounds like another good bet. Have fun!
posted by 6550 at 11:47 AM on July 28, 2010


I think it's all about the location. Some have resorts, some don't. Caye Caulker in Belize doesn't have any resorts on it.
posted by smackfu at 11:51 AM on July 28, 2010


also, if you don't mind staying with locals - try Couch Surfing
posted by KogeLiz at 12:14 PM on July 28, 2010


Seconding TripAdvisor. Another place to look is the ricksteves.com forums - my mother tends to find B&Bs and small local hotels there, though they are occasionally overrun with tourists clutching Rick Steves books.
posted by telophase at 12:25 PM on July 28, 2010


I wanted a similar website a couple years ago, but didn't know how to find it. Sounds like a business opportunity. I agree with JPD about Google -- pick a destination and search. If you find a place you think you like, Google it's name and maybe someone's reviewed it.

I had a great time in Costa Rica at Nicuesa Lodge, an all-inclusive eco-resort. You're just a boat ride from town where you can mix it up with the locals, or your can stay at the resort for hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, fishing, and yoga. They also had side-trips to a variety of other activities. Your room rate covers meals consisting of local flavor and fare at their outdoor dining hall. They also had a cash happy hour prior to dinner each night.

If you want something cheaper, you could stay in Puerto Jimenez for $35/night (with air conditioning).
posted by indigo4963 at 12:34 PM on July 28, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was afraid of the Google answer. I've been there, done that and it's hairpulling having to sort through the BS websites "greattravel.com, greatoutdoortravelforonthecheap.com, heyyoursearchphraseisexactlythiswebsitesdomain.com"

I was just hoping someone out there had made some pretty flash 2.0 mash it all together website. So anyone wanting to make some money? I ain't got the time or the kung-fu to put this badly needed site up.
posted by ozreiuosn at 1:36 PM on July 28, 2010


There really are websites that will aggregate up lots of places - but usually the are region specific. For example here is one on the Agroturisimo of Le Marche in Italy.

These things don't exist because most of these cool small little places aren't bookable through one of the automated systems, and as such it is impossible for a website to charge a commission unless they do a fee for service sort of thing, and then you might as well use a travel agent.
posted by JPD at 1:45 PM on July 28, 2010


There is no easy way to do this - you're going to have to research multiple sources. The little, cool places that offer comfort, but aren't too expensive, but aren't too touristy are hard to find: they're too little to advertise and too little to build up a huge reputation. The way I plan my vacations is to scour all the guidebooks for a place to go, then zero in on accommodations, then google and cross reference online reviews with the guidebooks. Often times I pick the place based on the accommodations instead of vice versa. And you also have to keep in mind whether your expectations fit the aesthetics of the guidebooks -- eg, lonely planet is decent but overly arch about "authenticity," etc. Yes, it's'a bit of an obsessive process, but it has gotten me some great vacations!
posted by yarly at 3:45 PM on July 28, 2010


With so many places having an online presence these days, I'd get a Lonely Planet guide (or similar) and just visit the websites of any spot that looks like what you're asking for.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:15 PM on July 28, 2010


« Older Is my 20-month-old linguistically delayed or am I...   |   Don't knock it till you try it... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.