While there’s nothing wrong with a hotel, sometimes you don’t have a truly authentic experience while traveling if you’re staying in an area frequented by tourists and not locals.

That’s why, whenever I can, I rent an apartment or house. This is especially fun if you’re going to be somewhere for several weeks, but even if you have a short-term stay, it can completely change your experience. You’ll find restaurants that locals eat at, you’ll make friends with the guy who owns the bodega down the street, and you’ll see what a home in the city or country you’re visiting is like. To me, there’s nothing better than getting a slice of local life, and renting a home is the best way to do that.

I typically use AirBnB┬áto find a place, but some cities, especially in Europe, don’t have a large presence on the rental site, so then I look at VRBO and HomeAway.

Here’s a bonus tip: ask the homeowner for suggestions on what to see, eat, and do in the area. When we were in Pignans, the owner was more than generous with the suggestions, and even sent us to her friends’ restaurants!

*This post may contain affiliate links.