Did you know that the first hotels were private homes which took in guests? In those days they didn’t have a brilliant reputation, sadly. Maybe it was all those unwashed people crammed in a room together, maybe the gruel wasn’t exactly five star or possibly guests objected to sleeping with the dog in the chicken shed.

It didn’t take long for marketing-savvy types in the days of the Roman Empire to realise the potential of creating accommodation designed for weary travellers. You can just imagine it, can’t you, booking into the Pompeii Astoria and the concierge pointing out the well appointed view of smoking Vesuvius through your lovely open air window.

Move forward a couple of millenia and hotels seem to have the accommodation market wrapped up.  And while they are undoubtedly convenient for business trips and conferences, long weekends and emergency visits, they are not always ideal for holidays.

In an interesting full-circle development – but a far more positive one these days – many discerning travellers are discovering the advantages of renting a private home for vacations. Here, in best internet article tradition,  are five reasons why:

  1. You are, literally, in a home from home. Someone’s much cherished, cared for and comfortable home. There’s no energy imprint of the thousands of people who have passed through its revolving doors, just the calm vibes of a family who love it and enjoy living there. The atmosphere is positive and you can relax as soon as you step inside.
  2. You are sharing your space with family and friends – not crowds of strangers. Of course, you may love the frantic flock in the foyer or the challenge of bagging a baguettes in the breakfast queue. But if not, then choose a private home where you are free to be yourself.
  3. You benefit from the owner’s local knowledge. Most owners renting out their homes will leave you information on the best places to eat, go shopping, play sports or just chill. They are not on commission from the local dodgy trinket shop or too busy to do anything but hand you a bunch of brochures. They can recommend from personal experience, passed on to a kindred spirit.
  4. The location of a private home is going to be pretty near perfect. After all, someone has spent time, effort and money on deciding to live just there, as opposed to ten miles up the coast or down the road. As a holiday visitor to their home you benefit from this extensive research and good sense. If they love it, you will probably love it too!
  5. A private home is special. It is a far cry from an impersonal hotel designed to cater for many thousands of guests. Its owner has lavished  hours and hours of care and attention on the inside and the outside to make it a unique, soulful place. And because you are living in the house of someone who has your standards, taste and values, you will enjoy being there and not need another two-week holiday to recover.

I hope that has persuaded you – as if you needed any persuasion – of the advantages of choosing a private home rather than a hotel for your much-anticipated and well-earned break. If you’re sensitive to your surroundings or simply want the freedom to breakfast in your jim-jams on the terrace, it is the only sensible thing to do.

Blog post by Fiona Tankard.

Fiona Tankard is a British professional writer living in Tuscany, Italy. Her website is www.spiderywriting.com