Hotel v. VRBO in New York City

IMG_3524Thankfully, as of the writing of this post, I have (finally!) secured our accommodations for our trip to New York on October 22.  Everything else – plane tickets, check; tickets to a show, check; reservation for dinner before the show, check – was done BEFORE we even had a place to stay.  

There are so many hotels and rooms for rent that it shouldn’t have taken so long, right? Well, a few things contributed to our late reservation, chief among them was procrastination on my part.  But, a few other factors contributed, such as trying to keep the cost down (finding a place for under $300/night that isn’t a dump is not an easy feat) and staying in an area that we wanted.  Despite my love for the upper east side, I really wanted to stay closer to the Village and Chelsea since a few of the items on our itinerary are in those areas. [The new Whitney, Kathryn Markel Fine Arts gallery, and my friend, Susan.]

Lucky girl that I am (really, it’s more about taking action than luck), I have been to New York on four previous occasions.  The first three times I visited the City, I stayed with a friend.  The last time I went, which was my husband’s first time in the City, we stayed at a hotel.  If you know me or you’ve followed my blog (at this point, I think my mother-in-law is the only visitor . . . love her!), then you would know that, for the most part, I book our travel through vrbo.com.  One of my “rules” on booking through vrbo is that the renter must have some reviews.  If it’s a new place, I’m not willing to be the guinea pig to test it out.  I’ve seen too many bad reviews of homes and apartments indicating that the place is different from the pictures posted by the owner, that it was dirty or the owner was sub-par.  Thus, rule numero uno: not a good idea to stay somewhere that hasn’t been reviewed.

This leads me to my travail for this trip.  When I start researching a trip, I go on vrbo and start a “favorites” for my particular trip to save any places that I like.  If you wait too long, like I did, those places get rented, leaving me with some great looking places that were’t reviewed; hence, no reservation.  Then, I took my turn at looking through all the hotel websites: hotels.com, expedia,com, tripadvisor.com, etc.  In New York, hotels are très cher and if you find a cheap one, you really are getting what you paid for.

Another issue I started to run into that was new for me was this “book now” option in vrbo.  You can “book now,” but not really.  It’s a bit deceiving in my opinion.  If the owner doesn’t contact you in 48 hours (a lifetime by today’s standards), then your “book now” becomes “book again.”  This happened to me where I thought I had a place booked that looked great and was in the perfect location.  Since the owner never confirmed, I was dumped and had to look for a new place – two days later and after numerous other places had already been rented in the meantime. Ouch! Morale of the story: early book gets the room.

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