iTravex – Host guests, travel often!

If you are already a user of iTravex, I don’t have to explain the benefits to you. If not, consider trading your vacancies for get-aways in locations you select and times your choose.

Example: You own a vacation home in Arizona or rent out a basement suite in Aspen. Your property is listed on OwnerDirect.com but you have not opted into the free membership to iTravex that the OwnerDirect listing comes with as an added bonus.

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As soon as you do, other owners like you can see your property in the iTravex listings. Let’s say it is near the end of the ski season in Aspen and your suite is empty. A couple from Denver (who own a condo in Maui that is listed on OwnerDirect.com) wants to spend a week there to enjoy some spring skiing and time away from work. After they inquire about your suite, you all decide to complete an iTravex transaction. Your suite usually rents for $300 a night, so your agreed iTravex points total is 7 * 300=2100 points. The couple transfers those points from their iTravex account to you, pays a 10% transaction fee ($210) as well as the cleaning fee you stated. Off they go onto a nice week-long trip to Aspen, all for $210 plus cleaning fee – while your property would have sat empty otherwise.

Now you start getting excited about the 2100 points in your iTravex account. The summer will be busy but you are thinking about a trip to Italy in the fall. You check the iTravex listings for Tuscany and Umbria, and send a few inquiries to properties that look romantic and are centrally located in the best wine region. A few days and some messages with the owner later, you have booked a week-long stay in a stone villa in Tuscany for 1800 points (and have paid the fee of $180). A win-win situation, trading your vacancies into vacation home stays in your dream locations.

I have been a regular user of iTravex, and have stayed in iTravex properties in Maui, Sun Valley ID, Missoula MT, Silver Star BC, Canmore AB and more. It works and is a great way to travel affordably. It works best in the off season when properties are not booked up with cash rentals, and closer to the travel date. iTravex is also incorporating new tools in the near future, such as Decision Day (the owner can determine on which day he/she would like to decide about the iTravex reservation) and a new website dashboard. All the information about your property from OwnerDirect.com transfers to iTravex without any extra work for you.

If you haven’t explored this opportunity yet, just opt into iTravex from your OwnerDirect.com dashboard.

Castles of the world

Whether you are a history buff, a lover of architecture or perhaps a royal family descendant, exploring the World’s great castles has never been easier with affordable accommodations that are unique and provide the comforts of a home away from home.

Ever since your Great Uncle Paddy shared that you are a descendant of an Earl from the infamous Kilkenny Castle in Kilkenny, Ireland, you have been itching to explore your family roots. When travelling in Europe, consider purchasing the popular Eurail Pass, or board a bus, and for the adventurous souls, rent a car and drive on the left side of the road! It is only a short trek from your Youghal, Ireland, accommodations to the grounds of Kilkenny Castle.

Waterfront Property - Unit  ID 202629

Waterfront Property – Unit ID 202629

Next head off with your Eurail Pass and make your way to Krakow, Poland. Krakow is the second largest and one of the oldest cities in Poland. It is a quick one hour trip to the ruins of the gothic Ogrodzieniec Castle, built in the 14th–15th centuries. This small town of approximately 4,400 people dates its origins back to the 11th century. The Ogrodzieniec Castle makes this quaint town not only a popular tourist destination but also a sought after spot for filming movies. It has been featured in the heavy metal band Iron Maiden’s video in 1984.

Two-Bedroom Flat Right at the Entrance to the Famous Kazimierz!

Two-Bedroom Flat Right at the Entrance to the Famous Kazimierz!- Unit ID 205560

While most of us generally think of Europe when castles are mentioned, what about Asia? The Himeji Castle, high a top a hill, is one of the finest examples of Japanese architecture. The Himeji Castle became Japan’s first registered UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993. With Japan’s world-renowned public transit system, the largest metropolis in the world is at your finger tips: make Tokyo your base for adventures.

trendy and up-town mid-Tokyo neighborhood

Trendy and up-town mid- Tokyo neighborhood Unit ID 204922

Rounding off your great castles of the World tour wouldn’t be the same without a visit to the mystery shrouded Hogwart’s Castle in Orlando, Florida. There is something for everyone; old, young and for those of us who just want to act our own shoe size for a day or two. Shop, play and explore secret chambers before you board your ride. After a fun filled day come back to relax in your spacious self-catered Orlando, Florida home to unwind in the pool.

close to golf

Games room, pool, spa, can sleep 16! Unit ID 13715

While these examples of magnificent castles are merely a drop in the bucket, Owner Direct Vacation Rentals has accommodations in all corners of the World to cure you of your castle fix. Do you have a favourite castle and experience to share?

Three that make a difference

As a frequent renter of vacation homes, due to my work in the industry, I have seen various levels of “fully equipped” homes. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly fine with a clean, pleasant place that has what was advertised and shown in the pictures.

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However, frequently I find myself inquiring before I leave as to the “nice-to-have” items that not every rental features. For me, a few small additions make the difference between “as advertised” and “could not have wished for more”. I understand that this is purely a personal observation and preference but here are my top three non-essentials that do make a difference:

Coffee grinder. I know not everybody drinks coffee or is picky about their coffee. But I do know that being able to grind beans makes a big difference for a lot of folks. Why not spend the $20 and have one available for your guests? This is the one item I always ask about, unless it is listed in the property description.

Screen Shot 2014-04-17 at 12.48.49 PMLaundry detergent. Most homes have washers and dryers but some do not provide detergent. If laundry soap was something that we frequently travel with and that is easy to pack, I would not pay so much attention to this one. But since it isn’t (one gallon soap container in your luggage, anyone?), and missing detergent can ruin your day when you have to fix a food mishap on your children’s clothing, I always appreciate having at least a load’s worth available at the vacation home without having to visit the nearest store. And by all means, if you use a lot, please replace it.

Basic bathroom supplies. Most of us bring their favourite shampoo or lotion on vacation. However, just in case you forgot or (especially when flying to your destination) are planning on purchasing it locally the next day, it is nice to have some supplies for that first shower or after the first hot tub visit.

What have you appreciated when arriving at a vacation rental? What tips can you give other owners?

The best trail running destinations

Hit the Trails

Property #205147 Oliver, BC Property #125959 Whistler, BC Property #119020  Dunster

Trail running is one of the most popular sporting activities of many tourists, and it’s definitely on top of my favorite things to do during a vacation. With the many different trails I have been on, I find that each of them is different. Each trail offers a unique experience. Different scenery, different terrain and different challenges but in the end, each of these experiences give the runner the same rewards: satisfaction from completing it and many life lessons that have to do with taking risks, persistence and hard work. Here are some awesome trail running destinations I would like to share with you, each of them offering something different, something fresh and something exciting.

Kalalau Trail in Kauai, Hawaii No photograph can ever capture the beautiful experience of running on the Kalalau Trail. This is an 11 mile trail which was built in the late 1800s. The starting point is the Ha’ena State Park and the end point is the beautiful Kalalau Beach. Before reaching the final destination of the trail, you will traverse through 5 beautiful lush valleys. There are many reasons to run this trail. Among them are the beautiful sights of towering sea cliffs, waterfalls, beaches that have pure white sand, fruit trees especially lots of guava trees as well as some ancient Hawaiian ruins. But the main reason you should travel this trail is for you to see a beautiful view of the Napali Coast. The trail is the only land access to the Napali Coast which is on the northwest part of Kauai. The Napali Coast is the most famous coastline in Kauai and features emerald green pinnacles along the shoreline and a scenery that is to die for.

Lovely Sandpiper 2BR Condo - Sleeps 6 - DSL - Ocean View, Princeville, Kauai - Unit - ID 9134

Lovely Sandpiper 2BR Condo – Sleeps 6 – DSL – Ocean View, Princeville, Kauai – Unit – ID 9134

Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Issaquah, Washington Operated by the Regional Trail System of King County, Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park is based in Issaquah, Washington, with a huge area that spans from the Cascades and Seattle and from Bothell and Auburn. This is one of the country’s most wide range multi-purpose off road systems and boasts of more than 175 miles of trails which are perfect for different outdoor adventures including bicycling, horseback riding, walking and hiking. The Regional Trail System covers an area from Seattle to the Cascades and from Bothell to Auburn. The system provides endless of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoor as well as numerous venues for recreation.  King Country Trail is the perfect choice for those who are looking for pleasurable and fresh way to enjoy the region, as well as communing with nature, exploring and living a much healthier and more active lifestyle.

El Morro Canyon Loop in Laguna Beach, California An 8.9 mile loop trail near Laguna Beach California, this trail is rated as moderate or intermediate, which means it’s not too easy and not too difficult. The trail is set in a forest setting so expect to see different types of animals while you run the trail. This trail is accessible all year round and can be run, hiked or biked. Some even complete this trail riding a horse. It can be quite gruesome when the weather is too hot, particularly during summer. There are lots of steep climbs for you to surmount. But, once completed, it will make you feel very satisfied and accomplished. Somewhere on the trail, you will find a cave where you can have a restful break and be recharged before you complete the rest of the trail. Make sure you have plenty of water to rehydrate your body while running this trail. A solution for the hot summer season is to run this trail early in the morning. The beautiful ocean view you’ll get to see on this trail is going to be all worth it.

Hermosa Beach Accommodations - Close by Laguna Trail Unit ID 203518

Hermosa Beach Accommodations – Close by Laguna Trail Unit ID 203518

Long Trail, Winhall, Vermont Considered as the United State’s oldest long-distance trail, the Long Trail situated in Winhall in Vermont, was built between 1910 and 1930 by the Green Mountain Club. The trail prides itself of its 273 miles of routes that spans the length of Vermont, running from the Canadian border to the state line of Massachusetts, including some of the state’s densest of forests and highest of peaks, following the main path of the Green Mountains. Any run on the Long Trail may require a lot more patience, as well as walking and hiking expertise, because of the steep and unexpected climbs and falls. Some adventures folks were able to conquer the entire trail in less than a week, including the Pennsylvanian carpenter, Jonathan Basham, who finished it in four and a half days back in 2009. Most of the trail system’s milder climbs and running trails can be found in the southern portion, like the first 10-mile run from Massachusetts to Congdon Chelter just near Bennington.

Never lose your socks again!

Full disclosure: We are not sponsored or in any way affiliated with the company whose products we feature here. We simply love them because we travel a lot and they have become indispensable. There might be other products around that achieve the same but in this “experience” report, we will focus on the products we know. We took the photos ourselves.

eaglecreek1

We have packed many bags and backpacks over the years. When you leave home, everything is usually very tidy and organized. After a few days of travelling, maybe multiple stops and destinations, or after unpacking at your destination, your luggage and clothing is not quite as tidy anymore. Have you been caught digging wildly through your duffle bag, trying to find that one missing sock or pair of underwear?

eaglecreek2Enter the Eagle Creek universe (@eaglecreekgear). This company has a wide array of products that are lightweight, affordable and help you stay organized and never lose your socks again. Their Specter Cubes help me keep socks, underwear or cables together. The bigger size Specter Cube also works really well as a pillow for backpacking (just stuff any clothing into it) while weighing nearly nothing.

If you have bulky clothing items such as jackets, pillows or thick sweaters, try their amazing compression sacs (in different sizes). A thick pile of clothing disappears into a thin airless layer within a minute – and stays that way (the one-way valves do not let air back in). It can save you a lot of space in your luggage, and I don’t travel anywhere without it.

eaglecreek4 eaglecreek5 eaglecreek6 eaglecreek8 eaglecreek9

We have not tried yet but are jealously eyeing Eagle Creek’s luggage solutions such as carry on’s and duffle bags. I admit to being especially fascinated by the “2-in-1″ Morphus luggage solution. It turns from one bag into two, both solid and durable yet lightweight. Am I the only one that comes back from a visit to the parents with loads of chocolate and other goodies in my luggage (they live in Europe)? I would be in heaven if I could turn the one bag of clothing I bring into one bag of clothing and one bag of chocolate I return with :)

Within Eagle Creek’s product line, there are toiletry kits, travel wallets, laptop bags and much more. Every product is demonstrated in a video on their website. We encourage you to check out Eagle Creek, or find your own organization solutions. It will make a big difference for your next trip!

White or what? Thoughts on white sheets …

If you are the owner of a vacation rental, or have been a guest in a vacation rental, you probably have an opinion on this. It seems trivial but when I read this article, I realized I was nodding and exploring my own thoughts on this topic.

The Perfect White Vacation Rental Sheets

As I am writing this, I am spending time in Canmore, AB, in a very nice vacation rental with breathtaking views of the Rockies. And about a week before I even read this article, when I arrived here I felt myself admiring and enjoying the clean, soft white sheets on the bed in this rental.

I do agree that there is some psychology involved, and that we associate white with clean. And that this “no-color” is easy to maintain and combine with other design elements in a house. But mostly, I am just enjoying something special that I do not have at home (don’t we all have coloured sheets in our own home?).

So as an owner, consider this for your unit. As a guest, enjoy when you find it!

Inviting white sheets

Inviting white sheets!

How to do Coachella in style (and comfort)!

California Music Festivals

#73996 Palm Springs #86024 Palm Springs #135749 Palm Springs #39411

It’s spring! The time when a young man’s fancy (and young women’s, for that matter) turns to thoughts of music. In the desert. In California. Of course, I’m talking about Coachella. Or as it’s more formally known, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and its only slightly less edgy cousin, the Stagecoach Country Music Festival. Both events take place on successive weekends in April. If you like new music from any of the more rowdy genres, you might be making plans to attend Coachella. If your taste runs more toward the roots, blues, folk, and gospel side of things, perhaps you’re headed to Stagecoach. Either way, it doesn’t matter whether you’re going to see Lorde, Arcade Fire, Crystal Gayle, or the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, know this: You do NOT have to rough it! Gone are the days when festival goers had no choice but to camp in primitive, sludge-laden bogs. Wouldn’t you rather stay in a luxurious condo or town home in the nearby communities of Palm Springs, La Quinta, and Rancho Mirage? Of course you would! Shuttle buses are available to transport you from your accommodations directly to the gates of both festivals. And the beauty of the system is, even if you don’t yet know exactly which resort you’re staying at, your shuttle pass is flexible enough to get you to and from the festival with maximum convenience and minimum hassle. You can learn more about the Valley Music Travel Shuttle by clicking here: valleymusictravel.com.

#208878 - La Quinta, Palm Springs

Watch the sun set over the mountains and then take an evening dip in the pool

One way to get the most from your concert-going experience is to practice the buddy system. That is, to make sure you’re travelling with a posse of friends. They’ll help you wring every memory possible from the festival and the aprés-festival! And they all fit into this property (pictured above)! With four spacious bedrooms and a private saltwater pool, this property will definitely facilitate maximum relaxation and rejuvenation so you’re all set for the next day’s events!

#205817 - La Quinta, Palm Springs

Enjoy the backyard mountain view at the PGA West Golf Resort in Palm Springs, CA

With two master suites and 3,500 sq. ft. of luxurious living space, this vacation home would enable you to bring the whole family. Yes, it sounds crazy, but is it, really?! The kids could hit Coachella and you could stay on for Stagecoach (or the other way around!). And for those less musically inclined, it doesn’t hurt that the home is located on the 13th fairway of the Nicklaus Private Golf Course. You don’t even have to play golf to be entertained by the duffers making their way along your private patio.

#73996 - Palm Springs, California

Very private and serene master bedroom

If the only crowds you’re prepared to endure are at the festival grounds, you might want to look at staying in a smaller, more intimate vacation home. In other words, leave your kids (or parents) and your friends to fend for themselves! Meanwhile you can unwind and decompress from the day’s full-on sensory abundance in a quiet, oasis-like condo like this one. At least until the next day’s lineup beckons!

#77235 - Palm Springs, California

Relax in this fun, private pool house with mountain views and near downtown.

So what happens if you find yourself travelling with folks who are attending Coachella or Stagecoach, but you’re not? Well, naturally, you’ll want to ensure you’re vacationing somewhere that will let you get your groove on, too! This vacation home is located right in Palm Springs, minutes from downtown, casinos, outlet shopping, restaurants, and nightlife (in case you’re not totally exhausted by 7:00 or 8:00 PM!).

The world’s greatest dream trips

Dream Vacations

#135749 Palm Springs, California #203573 Canmore, Alberta #206028 Zrenj, Croatia #205800 St. Tropez, South Coast of France

Every place has its own beauty and mystery that needs to be unraveled. And for this reason alone, our list of the world’s greatest dream trips is going to be long. If you have the opportunity to travel, try to visit some of these places.

The Caribbean is a perfect destination, whether you are a beach lover or not. Get lost in its many idyllic island destinations and marvel at the beautiful and romantic island sunsets. If you love anything outdoors and natural, this is also a perfect place to visit. Explore their numerous coral reefs, as well as its beautiful and diverse marine life.

Japan is another great destination to explore. It is amazing how this country continues to advance in technology while preserving their oldest traditions and practices. Learning about their arts and culture is an experience you will absolutely enjoy. You might also want to admire those cherry blossoms in bloom.

The neighborhood - Unit ID 205591

The Tokyo neighborhood – Unit ID 205591

Cherry blossoms behind - Unit ID 205591

Tokyo cherry blossoms behind Unit ID 205591

 

 

 

 

One of the most adventurous destinations to discover is Australia. The Land Down-Under is blessed with pristine aquatic environments, popular with surfers. Koalas and kangaroos add to this land of diverse wildlife. And don’t forget the Sydney Opera House! Australia also offers many adventure activities such as hiking, skiing and cycling.

What a view from Unit ID 208267

View of  Surfers Paradise – AUS Unit ID 208267

100 Private Acres - Unit ID 207861

100 Private Acres in Australia – Unit ID 207861

 

 

 

Another dream place to be is Antarctica - if you want a unique and rare, albeit cold, adventure. Despite the chilling cold that will envelop you in this endeavour, it is a once in a life time experience. A trip to this majestic continent will allow you to meet some black and white animals that are endemic in this part of the world such as penguins and those mischievous but beautiful orcas.

Another two-toned species that you might want to get acquainted with are the cute and cuddly panda bears that are native in China. Conservation areas and sanctuaries are provided for this endangered species in this country. You might also want to walk the famous Great Wall of China. This is one of the Seven Wonders of the World for good reason.

Room to entertain - Unit ID 127487

Room to entertain in Hong Kong – Unit ID 127487

India is another stop you don’t want to miss. The home of the great Mahatma Gandhi, India is a religiously diverse country that people choose as a destination when travelling a deep and enlightening journey. Another reason to take this route is the magnificent Taj Majal. It is one of the finest architectural masterpieces in the world. You can also take a peek at the peaks of the Himalayan range which borders India from the neighboring countries.

Take in the sunset while dining in your seaside home - Unit ID 204062

Take in the India sunset while dining in your seaside home – Unit ID 204062

If you are interested in history, you might want to add Peru to your list. The fascinating Machu Picchu is a must-see. One of the new Seven Wonders of the World, this structure was built in 1450 by the Incas. There are other ruins to be examined and explored in this part of the world.

Another archeologists’ and historians’ paradise is located in England: Stonehenge is a pre-historic structure which is believed to be raised around 3000 BC. Despite the mystery that surrounds the monument, it has been a religious destination for pilgrims.

If you’re looking for some romantic locations, France is the place to be. Paris, being the most popular city in France, is considered one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world. The City of Light is a haven for people who love arts, history, and fashion. Home to the well-known Eiffel Tower, Paris is also known for the most visited museum in the world, The Louvre.

The infamous Moulin Rouge near Unit ID 83492

The infamous Moulin Rouge in Paris near Unit ID 83492

After touring France, you might want to jump to another famous European country, Italy. Known for its arts and architectural contribution to the world, Italy attracts artists and students who want to learn more about their craft. Going to Rome, you might also want to visit The Vatican City. It is located inside the city but it is an independent country on its own.

People watch from your terrace - Unit ID 205485

People watch in Rome from your terrace - Unit ID 205485

Family Estate with swimming pool - Unit ID 115968

Family Estate in Rome with swimming pool – Unit ID 115968

 

 

 

The list could go on. There are so many destinations to choose from. Wherever you decide to go, just enjoy the trip and make the most out of it.

 

Spring Break Last Minute Deals

Spring Break Last Minute Deals

Disney World, FL #203030 Oporto, Portugal #207280 Victoria, BC #203153 Maui, HI #55616 Golden, BC #201867 Tofino, BC #205093

Save big with these last minute deals for spring break and transform the kids’ vacation week into a memorable and fun getaway for the whole family.

USA: Utah: Park City Ski Area: Park City: PowderWood Resort: Vacation Rental Condo ID 54064
Green, eco-friendly 2br/2ba remodeled condo with free wi-fi and self check-in 20% off

It’s no wonder that the annual count of visitors exceeds the number of Park City’s registered residents. Home to three world class ski resorts, it is definitely a great place to escape for spring skiing or just relaxing. Park City has several luxury retailers, clubs, bars, and restaurants, and has nearby reservoirs, hot springs, forests, and hiking and biking trails.

Stay in a green condo right at the PowderWood Resort, just steps away from Tanger Outlet mall, several restaurants and the Utah Olympic Park. Located at the ground level, this particular condo unit is easy to find, easy to enter and exit. It has been remodeled with new recycled carpet and eco-friendly pad, laminate and tile, and new locally-made mattresses. Organic linens, bedding, mattress pads, towels, and soaps are ready for use. Only eco-friendly cleaning products are used, and garbage is recycled at the end of every visitor’s stay.

Europe: Italy: Tuscany: Arezzo Region: Castiglion Fiorentino: Vacation Rental Cottage ID 202867
Great value for up to 4, with shared pool 20% off

Visit Tuscany, Italy – where the Italian Renaissance began – and stay in one of these charming stone cottages. Carefully renovated by local artisans, these cottages retained the country setting whilst providing warmth and comfort. Enjoy the stunning view of the historic town of Castiglion Fiorentino framed through the cottage windows. Read a book or sip the best wines of Tuscany at a pergola by the pool side.

Surrounded by gardens, olive groves and natural countryside, this is certainly the perfect place to begin exploring Tuscany. Go sightseeing in the beautiful and historical towns. Visit famous museums like the Uffizi and the Pitti Palace. Tour some of the finest wineries in the world. Go truffle hunting. Join cooking classes. Learn a little of the lingua Toscana (Tuscan language). There are various sights and activities to choose from to make your vacation truly enjoyable.

Canada: Ontario: Greater Toronto Area: Toronto: Vacation Rental Condo ID 204944
Elegant & modern 1 bedroom – in the heart of Toronto 20%off

Looking for a better accommodation alternative when you visit Toronto, Canada?

This elegant and modern condo is located right in the heart of Toronto. It has one bedroom and one bathroom, and contains a washer and dryer in-suite. There is a full kitchen so you can cook your meals and save extra money, a balcony for when you need some air, a 37″ LCD TV, DVD player, and a leather couch to relax on. The building is equipped with 24hr security and concierge, a 10,000 square ft fitness center, a full fitness track for jogging, and a swimming pool. Definitely better than a hotel accommodation at a much cheaper price! Spend more on having a fun vacation. Get sprayed at Niagara Falls. Conquer your fear of heights at the CN Tower. Explore museums and art spaces. Go shopping!

British Columbia: Okanagan: Big White: Big White Village: Moguls: Vacation Rental Condo ID 205912
Fantastic family getaway with breathtaking views and cozy creature comforts. 20% off (March 8-15)

This rustic ski-in ski-out condo at the upper village in Big White is complete with all the comforts of home. It is tastefully decorated with full bathroom and kitchenette that is complete with a two burner stove, bar fridge and toaster oven. Recently added is a 32″ SMART TV and wireless internet. The games room has foosball and air hockey tables. The building also includes a sauna and shared jacuzzi. You can request catering for your convenience. Located on the 8th floor, enjoy the breathtaking views of the Monashee Mountains.

Just a quick walk down the hall and out the back door, and you are on the Moguls Track. What a great place for family skiing!

Where are you headed for Spring Break this year?

Good news! There’s a storm brewing

Storm watching on the West Coast

Tofino, BC #205093 Nanaimo, BC #49725 Arch Cape, Oregon #206405 Ucluelet, BC #89115

Since when is “bad” weather good news? When it’s a winter storm lashing the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest.

Don’t get me wrong. The ocean-side highways of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon are spectacular during the summer months. But there’s nothing like making this trip (really more of a pilgrimage) from November to mid-March, better known to the locals as “Storm Watching Season.”

Truly hardy types might venture directly out into the elements, to feel the wind, the salt spray, and the “mighty ocean tossed.” But I prefer my storm watching from the comfort of a luxurious suite, preferably with a like-minded companion, maybe a fire or a hot tub, and definitely a glass (or two) of local wine.

From just north of the California border all the way up Highway 101 to Washington and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island, there’s hardly a cove along the Pacific Northwest coastline that doesn’t offer stunning access to some of the most powerful forces in nature. And the trifecta of rugged coastline, turbulent winter weather patterns, and gracious vacation homes combine to create a perfect storm of weather watching get-aways.

The west coast of Vancouver Island is arguably the most dramatic “must-visit” destination. And it’s no wonder. The landscape is a raw, wind-sculpted testament to the power and the beauty of the elements. Waves that have travelled, virtually unobstructed, across the Pacific can reach in excess of 12 metres. (For perspective, the tallest dinosaur who ever lived, Brachiosaurus, was about that height.) As a bonus, the area is rich with the legends of the First Nations people. If you can tear yourself away from the vistas, visit the Kwisitis Visitor Centre in Pacific Rim National Park to learn more about the Nuu-chah-nulth people, their traditions, and stories.

Tofino, BC #205093

Tofino, BC #205093

The closest vacation home to the Visitor Centre is this one: Located directly on famed Chesterman Beach right in Pacific Rim National Park. If it were any closer to the ocean, you’d need a life jacket!

Ucluelet, BC #63916

Ucluelet, BC #63916

South of Tofino, Ucluelet is just as stunning, but further off the beaten path. Ideal for travellers who want to feel like they’re off the grid even though they’re swathed in luxury.

If you’re not quite ready for the rugged isolation of Vancouver Island, Washington might be just the ticket. Consider a holiday rental that’s on the water, but also close to the bright lights and big city of Seattle.

Puget Sound, WA #207327

Puget Sound, WA #207327

It’s hard to believe this magnificent, cliff-top rental, with its unobstructed views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, is a scant 30 minutes from SEATAC International Airport!

If your storm-chasing adventures take you down the fabled Oregon Coast, you’re in for a real treat. Vacation accommodations include cabins, like this one, literally carved out of the rainforest on the edge of the sea.

Arch Cape, OR #206405

Arch Cape, OR #206405

And if your storm watching is intended as the backdrop for a proposal or milestone birthday or anniversary, why not go all out and treat yourself to a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Port Orford, OR #114129

Port Orford, OR #114129

This incredible vacation home, in Port Orford, Oregon, is perched high on a secluded bluff and offers every possible luxury you can imagine. So you can do it all or do nothing at all. Either way, it’s time to check the weather forecast, pack a bag, and head for the West coast.