I know the majority of people look to escape to posh resorts and upscale boutique hotels as an ideal getaway destination. But I've always found those one-size-fits-all accomodations often create a disconnect between the city and traveler. What's the use of traveling all the way around the world to be surrounded by the very amenities and recognizable decor you can get at home? Traveling to me has always been about making a home, albeit a temporary one, in the spirit of the country/city you're staying at however foreign. And for that, barring staying with a native friend or family, renting a vacation home is one of the best ways to experience a city/town's true charm and heartbeat without the artificial bubble a hotel creates. And with this in mind, I've spent countless hours romantically fantasizing about travel on Vacation Rentals By Owner , a website with over 82,5000 vacation homes in every state and throughout Asia, Africa, the Americas, Europe and those tempting South Pacific Islands. The site lists details and photos of each home, and going rates per day, week and even per month (a month long vacation sounds about right, doesn't it?). It's basically a website of dreams yet unfulfilled. My personal favourite currently is this storybook 17th-Century Flemish home in Brugge. In my opinion, it beats any fancy boutique hotel, with a fair 567-651 euros/week price, and it's pleasantly decorated in a style completely foreign to my LA life. Perfect.