En español | After scouring rental websites, emailing with prospective landlords and finally settling on a studio apartment, I arrived in London to check out my $230-a-night digs. I collected a hidden key and lugged my suitcase to a second-floor flat in a brick row house in Islington, opened the door with a bit of trepidation and breathed a deep sigh of relief.
As a veteran of more than a dozen web vacation rentals, I’ve learned that booking one can be like looking for love on an internet dating site: What you see in an online photograph may not be what you get in real life. One upscale California rental turned out to be just feet from a busy freeway on one side and a noisy public beach on the other. A day camp opened to shouting kids at 8 a.m. under our bedroom window. No surprise — we departed early and succeeded in getting our money back for unused nights.