Unique Blog Feeds Travelers Vacation Rental Reviews, Recommendations, Planning Tips (and a Little Dish)

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“Ramblings” goes beyond journal-style travelogues to offer up-to-date reviews of vacation rentals, practical advice, personal recommendations and food-for-thought to active (and armchair) travelers to Northern California and beyond.

Most travel blogs (short for web logs) are online travelogues—the very personal musings of other travelers, ranging from vicarious to boring-with-photos. “Ramblings” is a fresh, new voice in the travel blogosphere.

Almost every day, “Ramblings” feeds travelers (active and armchair) bite-sized updates, unbiased reviews of vacation homes for rent, trip planning tips and personal recommendations. And, yes, a little dish.

Subtitled “More than a room with a view,” the blog’s topics focused on the needs and interests of travelers who prefer renting a vacation home to checking into a room in a hotel, inn or bed-and-breakfast (B&Bs).

“Whenever I discover a remarkable vacation rental, a particularly scenic drive, a phenomenal bakery… I want to stop people on the street, tell them all about it and make them promise they’ll try it themselves,” laughs author Joyce Hadley Copeland. “The blog format gives me a chance to do that—without risking a restraining order. I’ve gotten some of my best tips from vacation rental owners and other travelers. I’d love to start an ongoing ‘conversation’ with travelers who share my passion for unique experiences.”

The author of “Renting Paradise”—a series of e-guidebooks reviewing vacation homes, cabins, cottages, flats, houseboats and estates in Northern California—Copeland admits that another agenda for the “Ramblings” blog is to “turn people on the joys of renting a vacation home.”

“It’s unbelievable that to me that the vacation rental industry is still a stepchild in the industry. A few guidebooks briefly mention renting as an option and most major booking sites don’t offer vacation rentals as an option along with hotels and B&Bs,” Copeland says. “I have very strong opinions about why—and when—renting a vacation home is the best option.”

In a recent post on tipping etiquette, Copeland writes: “My hearty apologies to all hotel service employees—the valets, the bag handlers, the chambermaids—I'm sure I've left somebody out. But the fact that I don't have to tip any of you is one of the biggest reasons I prefer rentals over hotels.”

Aside from reading daily posts, readers can delve into entries archived in more than a half-dozen categories including “The Rented Vacation,” “Favorite Places” and “e-Planning & Travel Tips.” Recent posts have given readers a heads-up on a completely charming alternative for a wine country wedding that’s much less costly than a winery setting, a link to Sonoma County’s Farm Trails Map & Guide, the perfect companion for anyone following the popular Sonoma Diet, and a step-by-step navigation of the granddaddy of vacation rental sites, VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner). “Believe me, I know how cumbersome the selection process can be.” Copeland says. “It can take days or weeks to find the right rental on dozen of sites. Part of my mission is to review the top web sites and rate them in terms of quality, navigation, tools and user-friendliness.”

New readers can find “Ramblings” at http://rentingparadise.com/weblog. To subscribe and receive regular posts, click on the orange Feedburner icon at the bottom of the right-hand column.

Renting Paradise: Sonoma County and Renting Paradise: San Francisco & Marin County ($7.95 each or $14 for the pair) are both available at RentingParadise.com.

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Joyce Copeland
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