Rentini provides useful and exciting travel insights. From adventures to marketing tips for vacation rental owners, we want to help you travel as it's meant to be – easy, refreshing, & fun!

Archive for January, 2014

Easy Home Automations For Your Vacation Rental

Hoem automation remote control for your house

Wow your visitors – and keep them coming back!

If you haven’t heard, automation is the latest buzz in all the popular housekeeping journals and publications. Whether it’s a digital app, a physical appliance or just a new frame of mind, housekeepers are now looking for ways to automate their routines and – quite simply – make their lives a little easier on themselves.

It’s good news all around for Rentini. If you’re a traveler, what’s better after a long day on the go than walking into a home fully stocked with easy-to-use, hands-free appliances and electronics? And if you’re a homeowner, there’s no better way to attract patrons than by making your home as accessible as possible.

Here’re five quick and easy ways to automate your home and attract future vacationers:

  

Start with the light bulbs.

They’re the easiest appliances to replace, and there’s so much you can do with them. If you’re going for luxury, look into some of the high-end automated bulbs like the Philips Hue. If you’re looking for something cheaper, try something like the Insteon LED Bulb, which still lets you control your light fixture from your smartphone or tablet.

Tech up the kitchen.

It’s the subtle things that make your kitchen look next-gen. Forget about the gimmicky electronic can openers and wine re-corkers. How about leaving an iPad on the kitchen island for guests to use as they please? It can cost you a bit of change, but it’s well worth it for the traveler’s experience. Foreign cooking is so much easier when you’ve got an Internet connection handy. And if you’re worried about the cost, look into some more affordable options like the Amazon Kindle or Google Nexus.

Get a home security system.

These days, most home security systems are synonymous with home automation systems; the two go hand in hand. The name brand security companies almost always provide some form of video monitoring, digital keypads and even thermostat control. Take a look at what the providers are offering in your part of the country.

Go wireless.

Home life is easier when you can do everything remotely. Your vacationers will appreciate any remotes that allow them to change channels, toggle lights or turn on a fireplace. Plus, with fewer wires running around your floors and walls, you’ll only add to the sleek ambiance of your interior.

Do it yourself.

Not every piece of home automation has to be packaged and delivered to your door. Sometimes, the most effective automation comes from a few simple changes on your end. There are dozens of free online apps to help you automate your home right from your computer. And if you’re handy, there’re plenty of options for building a custom entertainment center.

Best of all? By helping you optimize energy usage, home automation can save money in the long run. Once you start saving on your electricity and utility bills, you’ll see the value over time. Get automated today!

Top 3 North American Destinations for Houseboating

Houseboating offers an exotic means of exploring the wonders of North America, and according to MSN, this means of travel can be surprisingly affordable—often costing less than $1,000 a month for ownership. Whether you own for year-round boating or choose to rent for a leisurely family-friendly getaway, North America offers a variety of exciting destinations for boating enthusiast. Here are the top three to explore.

Ontario, Canada: Hudson Bay and Lake Superior

Photo by Balcer via Wikimedia Commons

At first glance, Ontario might not seem like the most obvious houseboating destination, but the Canadian province offers several excellent boating opportunities dotting the coast of the Hudson Bay and Lake Superior. These bodies of water echo the vast feel of the ocean, while also offering great views of Ontario’s unique woodland scenery. Because of the occasionally volatile nature of Lake Superior, it’s important that anyone boating there maintains a thorough understanding of essential houseboat operations. Prior to stepping aboard, make sure you have taken the proper boater exams from BoaterExam.com, for example, and are familiar with the boating regulations specific to Ontario.

Florida’s IntraCoastal Waterway

Photo by Robert DeMeo via Wikimedia Commons

If you have time to spare for a longer houseboat vacation, you’ll want to consider navigating the Intracoastal Waterway. This 3,000 mile waterway runs along the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, providing a safe alternative to the dangers typically encountered while boating on the open sea. Of course, few vacationers possess the time required to travel along the full length of the Intracoastal Waterway, which is why many choose to focus on the portion found along Florida’s coast. This condensed option offers access to both the Atlantic and the Gulf Coast, while also allowing boaters to enjoy sweeping views of Florida’s beaches and swamps. The state’s department of tourism recommends vigilantly watching for such potential hazards as bridges and deep waters, as both of these can create significant risks for distracted boaters.

New York’s Lake Champlain and Adirondack Park

Photo by Travisleehardin via Wikimedia Commons

Houseboat Magazine recommends Lake Champlain as the boating destination of choice for anyone on the hunt for a relaxed family vacation. Straddling Vermont, New York and Quebec, the expansive inland lake offers plenty of opportunities for mainland exploration to suit all ages. The section of the lake falling within the borders of New York is particularly beautiful, as much of it is part of the state’s famous Adirondack Park. Adirondack Park is the largest park and National Historic Area in the contiguous United States. It continuously draws in and enchants visitors with its intersection of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains, according to the official Adirondack Park Agency. While you’re there, enjoy a leisurely boating excursion along Lake Champlain’s coast, then enjoy some time on land while hiking in the great Adirondacks.

Planning A Road Trip of a Lifetime Through Italy

Italian landscape
Photo by Angelo Amboldi on Flickr

Some places are best seen through the window of a train, on horseback or by hiking across their scenic countryside. However, Italy is a country that should be seen one way only – from the driver’s seat of an open topped sports car, preferably while wearing giant Audrey Hepburn sunglasses while your scarf whips out behind you. The country boasts incredible, diverse landscapes, winding roads, open fields and fantastic views.

So if you’re planning to drive across Italy, here are some of the routes you should be sure to check out.

The National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise

NATIONAL PARK OF ABRUZZO

Photo by Loigi Re on Flickr

The regions of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise are relatively unknown, lying two hours rive to the east of Rome. However, come out here and you’ll see some of the most mind blowing countryside you’re likely to find in Italy.

As you drive into the park (Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo) you’ll find the road ascends quickly into mountains where you’ll be surrounded by grazing white cows and forests fully of winding hiking trails. Along the way you’ll pass many small, virtually untouched towns, however, no matter how tempting it is for the best trip just drive straight on until you reach the town of Vasto, where there are outstanding views off the Trabocchi coast.

The Italian Riviera

Portofino Harbor Italian Rivera

Photo by Stan Shebs Creative Commons license

The famous Italian Riviera starts at the French border and works its way past seaside towns, farmer’s markets and some truly top notch restaurants all the way down to Tuscany. Enjoy fantastic views and woosh through a series of tunnels just like you’re in one of those car adverts.

Tuscany

Tuscany near ancient Sienna

Photo by Norbert Nagel  licensed under the Creative Commons

But why stop at the end of the Riviera? Tuscany is home to the finest of Italy’s restaurants, vineyards and holiday villas, to the point where you’ll really struggle to find a bad place to eat.

Sicily

Sicily, Italy

For Sicily you want a fast car and two weeks to drive it. Don’t just go from one end of the island to the other. Drive right around the coast, stopping off to see the islands famous vineyards at Cerasuolo di Vitoria and Mount Etna. See the ancient Greek theatres and temples, or simply find some great beaches and soak up the sun! This is a great place to really take your car exploring. As Direct Ferries director Matt Davies says, “It’s really worth getting your car on a boat and bringing it over the Sicily with you. There’s nothing quite like speeding along with the Sicilian breeze rushing past.”

The Amalfi Coast

Beautiful Amalfi Coast

Not all the famous hotspots on Italy are ones you should be drawn to however. It seems every travel guide out there recommends the Amalfi coast, and it’s true it’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy, which is why the roads are clogged with tour buses and municipal coaches, usually with a tail of other holiday drivers honking their horns behind them. To make it worse, you’ll be dealing with this while riding round some extremely bendy roads, sometimes with a 200 foot drop on one side. We advise taking your car elsewhere.

By Sam Wright

Sam Wright is a journalist based in Norwich, Norfolk.

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