Two years ago I packed up an oversized hot pink suitcase, bought a one-way ticket to Lyon, France and headed out to the gastronomic capital of the world. Sure, I was nervous and knew I would be homesick, but ready to take on the world with bright eyes and an open heart to what might be out there. Fast forward to today and I have now traveled to 18 countries, lived in 4 (with my 5th coming here in a few months… hello Spain), and I honestly, I don’t see my life settling down anytime soon. When I first left Missouri it was to practice my French, expand on my international marketing knowledge and let’s be real, eat as many crepes as possible. Today I am still on the road, I work remotely from my laptop as a writer and I travel from country to country as I please. Being able to travel around the world but still have a professional career is something so energizing to me and I can talk for hours about my travels.

I will spare you my hour-long stories about wine tasting in the French countryside or taking a hot air balloon ride over the Aztec Pyramids in Mexico, as you can google the word ‘wanderlust’ and be sucked in that way. I want to talk to you about something a little more practical to both yours and my everyday life.

When you’ve traveled for years on end while still holding a professional career, you find the importance of the term ‘traveling differently’. As travelers, we get energy from the idea that we can literally be anywhere in the world within 24 hours thanks to modern technology and operations, but we also crave stability in between the long layovers and on the go meals.

Finding stability and consistency as a full-time traveler is usually what wears people down the quickest from this lifestyle. Most travelers I meet, digital nomads, vacationers, business travelers, families on holiday, I have found we all have one thing in common. When we travel we look for stability, consistency, and comfort in the accommodation we are staying in for the time being. Whether you are exploring the sunny streets of Rome, attending that huge conference in Colorado, or have just spent 9 hours at the Saint Louis Zoo with your family, we all want to come home at night and feel at home. Feeling comfortable and cozy when you are thousands of miles away from home is one of the most amazing things to come by, and that is why I have gotten super picky with my accommodation search when I am traveling.

I wanted to share my top travel tips when it comes to finding the perfect accommodation.

Review the photos:

This one seems obvious, right? Right. So don’t cheat yourself out on this step. A picture is worth a thousand words so dig deep into the photo bank and make sure it looks like a place you would be proud to call home for the time being. Does it look clean, comfortable, luxurious, and well designed? Yes? Great. That probably means that it is not only well taken care of, but you will be in good hands with the company or people that run the accommodation.

JZ Tip: JZ takes this one step further, as we want you to know exactly what you’re getting. See inside your rental home months before your planned trip with a virtual tour.

Look over the description and amenities:

After consistently traveling for a few years now, hotels just don’t cut it for me anymore. I want to arrive at my destination and have everything I need… even if I didn’t pack it myself (sounds selfish I know). Often times on flights I am not carrying around shampoo because of the many times it has spilled out in my bag as the airlines were throwing around my suitcase like a baker throws around pizza dough and unapologetically destroys my favorite sweater (I’m not bitter or anything). I gave up eating out as much when I took the travel lifestyle full time… obviously, you cannot be healthy and live like you are on vacation 365 days a year; so I want to cook when I am at my accommodation. The places that I book MUST have a fully equipped kitchen. On top of that, I will probably be needing to wash my clothes, have a strong wifi connection to get work done… you get the point. Ideally, I am looking for the luxury of a 5-star hotel but with the amenities of my own home.

JZ Tip: JZ Vacation Rentals performs a 150 point inspection on every rental home we have. So, when you arrive at your home you will have everything from a kettle in the kitchen, a washer, and dryer, a strong wifi connection, all the way down to a high chair if you are traveling with children. You WILL feel as if you are at a 5-star luxury hotel but with the amenities of your own home, so no need to run to the supermarket when you arrive!

Read the reviews:

The internet is a beautiful tool where we can “try before we buy” at the expense of others…Just like you read 286 reviews for that $3.00 doggie shampoo you bought last week, read all the reviews for this listing. I am personally brutally honest in my reviews, both in good and bad situations, and other people are as well. Reading the reviews will fill in the gaps of what you do not see in the photos or what does not fit in in the listing.

JZ Tip: JZ Vacation Rentals is a super host on Airbnb with outstanding reviews. But don’t take our word for it, have a look for yourself and see what all the hype is about!

Communicate with the owner:

Chances are when you are traveling something will probably not go as planned. Whether that is a delayed flight, lost luggage, bad traffic or you simply just got lost on your way to your vacation rental, simply just contact the owner or host! They are there to answer your questions and give you guidance to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible. Many times owners will respond right away, but if they do not, that is probably a good sign of what you are about to get yourself into.

JZ tip: JZ Vacation Rentals has 24/7 support, you are always well taken care of.

Where has been your favorite vacation home you have stayed in so far?