When I send my clients out into the world, I aim to make the experience as authentic as possible. That includes my clients immersing themselves in the rhythm of daily life in their destination: the sites, the food, and especially the people. They’re the ones who make the place what it is. To live like a local, you need locals breathing life into the place to show you the way it’s done. Sustainable travel isn’t just about preserving the natural environment; it’s also about preserving the culture and supporting local businesses and people. It’s about preserving the things that make that destination unique and worth visiting in the first place.
We’ve seen with the proliferation of short-term rentals in recent years, that some of that charm is disappearing from our favorite places. Locals are being displaced from city centers and unique neighborhoods to make way for the madding crowds just passing through. Often these rentals are owned by outsiders who skimp on upkeep, and who don’t have the proper insurance or safety measures in place. In many cases, they aren’t paying as much tax as hotels and bed-and-breakfasts that give back to and are part of the local community. They can cancel on you for no reason, and there’s no shortage of horror stories about people being filmed and other violations of privacy. Depending on municipal policies, they might be breaking the law by renting to people.
Take Venice for example. The number of permanent residents has dwindled to around 50,000 even as the fragile city built on water remained packed on any given day in recent years. To preserve the city’s beauty, officials have taken measures to limit the number of short-term rentals allowed, along with changing where cruise ships dock to protect the lagoon and combat over-tourism. You’ll soon need a reservation to visit Venice Island, by the way, one more reason to work with a travel advisor to plan your visit. The dream is to keep Venice the place that took your breath away the first time you saw it, to take the breath away of future travelers.
That’s not to say we, as travel advisors, discourage staying in a private apartment, home, or villa on your travels– quite to the contrary. I think it’s one of the best ways to immerse yourself and live like a local. I want to protect your investment of both time and money by making sure the one you stay in is fully vetted and is well maintained. Just as I do with tours that give my travelers one-of-a-kind local experiences, I work with partners on the ground in the destinations to find the perfect place for you. They’re locals who want to welcome you to their home, treat you as an honored guest, and show you the places they love so much. They, and I, want it to be the incredible, unique place you’ve been dreaming of this whole time, the place you read about, saw pictures of, and thought, “I absolutely must go there someday.” As always, I’ll help you get there in any way we can.