Skip to main content

Enjoy San Joaquin Valley Living

Vacation Rentals Provide Travel Alternatives

Jan 27, 2019 11:00AM ● By Enjoy Magazine

House Guest

February 2019
Story By Jasmyne Robles
Photos courtesy of Cavale Creative

REGARDLESS OF WHETHER the destination lies in the next city over or across the seas for the ultimate cultural experience, one thing remains the same. For many, traveling is an outlet of escapism from everyday life. Whether coming back from a night out on the town to a cozy hotel bed with room service is ideal or having the luxury of cooking and dining in with your guests in a vacation rental, finding the right place to stay is the first step when traveling. 

The invention of the online vacation rental home has changed the face of travel accommodations across the world. Online booking sites, such as Airbnb and VRBO, allow people to share their private rooms, entire homes, apartments, boats and other properties as an alternative to the traditional hotel stay, or to put it in simple terms – the middle man. This type of accommodation appeals to someone who wants the home-away-from-home experience. The Airbnb concept was formed in 2007 by two college roommates who came up with the idea of putting an air mattress in their living room and turning it into a bed and breakfast to help pay their apartment rent. In 2008, with the help of investors, they realized there was a unique opportunity to help those having a hard time finding lodging in saturated markets through the launch of a website where others could rent out their own properties. Fast forward to today and Airbnbs are available in 191 countries and 65,000 cities throughout the world. 

Why do travelers choose these booking sites? Homes are equipped with certain amenities that hotels may lack. Most private rentals provide the same amenities as more traditional accommodations, such as wifi,  toiletries, coffee maker and iron. However, many rentals offer more options, such as fully equipped kitchens, washer, dryer and outdoor living space. 

Cindi Kennemer recently rented an Airbnb in the historic district of Visalia with her three sisters to spend a weekend together for the holidays. “We rented a hotel suite in the past and it was crowded and the pull-out beds weren’t very comfortable, so we decided to try renting an entire home through Airbnb,” Kennemer says. “We had a fully stocked kitchen, our own bedrooms and plenty of parking spaces in a quiet neighborhood. The place was very comfortable and it felt like we were at home. We’ll definitely be coming back next year.” 

Sandy Wileman and Carrie Lombardi co-own The Clover House Manor near the foothills of Exeter. They recently purchased the 1908 property that was built for John G. Kirkman, who brought the railroad to Exeter. Wileman and Lombardi believe operating it as a vacation rental and event venue contributes to Exeter’s historical charm. Vacation rentals function on a mutual review basis. On-site manager Christina Pillsbury feels the benefit for both guest and host is the ability to read reviews from past visits before requesting or approving a stay. “You don’t get that opportunity at other travel establishments,” Pillsbury says. 

Guests have visited from places like Georgia and Denmark. “They come from all over,” Pillsbury adds. “Some have stayed with us while attending the Exeter Lion’s Club Brewfest and others have stayed for weddings. No matter the reason for their visit, we allow the guest to decide what type of interaction they want during their stay. Some prefer to communicate through the Airbnb app and others like having an onsite manager they can personally reach out to.” 

Whether you’re looking for a home to rent in the historic district of Visalia, a charming manor at the base of the foothills in Exeter or an industrial loft amongst the city life of downtown Fresno, there are many unique locations to choose from right here in the San Joaquin Valley. •