Budget summer vacation: Manhattan Beach, CA using Homeaway.com

rsz_1beach_house_036When my husband called me on my cell to tell me we had to move out of our house for a week while the hardwood floors were being refinished, I just stood in the middle of the food court at New York ’s John F. Kennedy international airport and sighed. It’d been a long two days of flying the unfriendly skies. Not to mention, the last thing I wanted to do on a day off was spend my valuable time confined in a cramped hotel room near the Los Angeles airport with my husband, three year-old son, and crazy cat, a twenty pound Maine coon.

“Are you serious?” I asked, falling into a plastic chair in front of a dirty table near McDonald’s.

“It won’t be that bad,” my husband reassured me from all the way across the country where he sat, I imagined, feet propped up on his desk. “I’ll get us a suite at the Residence Inn.”

“Oh. Okay,” I said, even though it was not okay, as I racked my overworked brain for other places to stay that might be okay, and that’s when it hit me. “Wait! Don’t book anything just yet. I’ve got an idea.”

“This idea better not cost more than the Residence Inn,” my husband said before we said goodbye and hung up the phone.

For the record, there’s nothing wrong with the Residence Inn, but why stay in a hotel when there are other places to stay, better places to stay, like vacation rental homes right near the beach.

The first thing I did when I got back to my crashpad was change out of my navy blue polyester monkey suit and log onto the computer. I typed MANHATTAN BEACH VACATION HOMES into the search engine and soon found myself on the web site Homeaway.com. I scanned through hundreds of beautiful photos of amazing homes in Manhattan and Hermosa Beach, which is just a short twenty minute drive from the Los Angeles airport. I just knew there had to be something we could afford. On the beach. Under $1000/per week.

I was wrong.

Well, not entirely wrong, because all the places we could afford on the beach were either too small or already booked. Undeterred, I pressed on and found myself touring homes that were way out of our price range. I couldn’t help myself. And then I did something crazy. I emailed the owner of a $5,000/a day Italian villa.

I wrote, “Okay fine, I’ll take it off your hands for $2,000 a week.”

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