VRBO or Air B&B first-timers—any advice for going somewhere warm this winter?

Discussion in 'Americas' started by Mr. B, Oct 15, 2020.

  1. Mr. B

    Mr. B Slowpoke

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    We want to escape winter in MN for a few weeks in Jan or Feb, and I’m looking for helpful hints from from experienced “snowbirds”. What should we look for? What are the pitfalls? Is it hopeless finding a decent place for this winter? Do people recommend AZ or FL, or...?

    We’re in our late 60’s and we’ll be driving, possibly taking two cats.
    #1
  2. R-1150-RS

    R-1150-RS Long timer

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    Other than 'escape winter', what do you want to do on your trip?

    Places like AZ or FL are obvious because of the weather, and their economy lives or dies on tourism, but they also have the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in all the US...
    Epidemiologists all recommend minimizing social contact during this pandemic, so heading to where there's the highest chance of you catching it doesn't seem like the way to go...

    So, if you're hell-bent on going anyway, you might consider renting a motorized RV. You're less exposed to public lodging with questionable sanitation protocols that do little to prevent infection. (I won't mention some B&B's I've stayed at where it appeared the bed linen weren't washed after each guest's stay...) Alternately, many web-sites carry listings for homes available for extended stays. Both these options are likely significantly cheaper than staying in motels.

    You also have the problem of what do you do if one or both of you catch COVID, and become sick?

    In the middle of a pandemic is not the best time for an extended trip. There's no such thing as bad weather, just poor choices in clothing. Winter can have lots to offer for entertainment. Rather than risk serious illness, and possibly you life, why not use some creativity to plan a stay-cation at home?

    Gary
    :) :)
    #2
  3. MJS

    MJS Long timer

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    Figure out your needs, wants and interests then look for places that meet them. Once you've narrowed down a few locations you can start looking at the websites to see what's available. The cats might limit your options somewhat. Cats can do a lot of damage and you're probably going to have keep them inside. While I wouldn't prohibit them outright, I'd want a big deposit and I'd certainly ding you for any damages. Which could get expensive if it meant stuff like leather furniture or window coverings. (I say this as a STVR owner and cat owner)

    Pay attention to the reviews for any place that you are considering. Places will often be listed on more than one website and at different prices. Consider that you can usually negotiate the rate for longer term stays. Also, since you are first timers, you will not have any reviews on you. That may work against you with some landlords.

    You'll have to work at this a bit. Long term rentals are popular right now due to covid. Easier to vacation and social distance in a private place than a hotel have increased demand IME.
    #3
  4. backroads jim

    backroads jim Review of midsize scooters

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    Do you have any friends and neighbors that go south for the winter? We asked some friends where they go and we were able to get a lead on a place to stay by talking with them.

    Your biggest challenge will be with the cats. You will have to find a "cat friendly" place. Not impossible, but a bit more difficult.

    We found a place that met our needs. We had open communication with the owners and made it clear from the beginning that we were looking for a quiet place to spend part of the winter. I think the reason were are so happy with the place is due to the fact that we
    talked directly to the owner and not some real estate people who "manage" the place.

    Good luck with your search.

    Jim
    #4
  5. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

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    I grew up in east St. Paul and winter #50 was it for me. Never again.
    I have had over 100 Airbnb stays in 3 countries and have had 99% positive experiences. Because you can book for just a day or two, you don't need to confine yourself to one location, but can roam around to find what most agrees with you.
    Learning to decipher Airbnb ads to avoid the crazies and find quality accommodations is key to having a good experience, and focusing on up front communication. This takes time but it's worth it. I've never traveled with a pet so don't know how well your cats would be received.
    Anywhere south of the Mason/Dixon line is a good place to start. North Florida and southern Georgia are definitely worth a look and are not on the common tourist routes. I spent last winter outside of Tallahassee and from November to April the weather was close to perfect.
    #5
  6. small_e_900

    small_e_900 Amanda carried it

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    It was our intention to travel in January and February but we decided to put it off for a year because Covid is still going strong.
    On the plus side, I'd noticed that many Air BnB's have reduced their rates by 30-50%
    #6
  7. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

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    [​IMG]
    This is an Airbnb near Franklin, NC where I stayed two weeks ago. I stocked the fridge and spent my days riding, so had minimal contact with people. The cabin was immaculate.
    #7
  8. small_e_900

    small_e_900 Amanda carried it

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    We are planning to spend time in more populous places over the next few years.
    We'd like to find a place where we wouldn't mind spending a couple months, every year and buying a winter place.
    #8
  9. MrBob

    MrBob Cisgendered Supporter

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    I encourage using whatever degree of caution seems right - damn few masks in evidence in much of the South.
    For myself, as a native Minnesotan, I worry less about contracting a virus and dying, than I do about causing a fuss.
    #9
  10. small_e_900

    small_e_900 Amanda carried it

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    :lol3
    #10