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How We Do It: Finding Great Places To Stay On Vacation

We are often asked, "How do you find such beautiful properties to stay at when you travel?"

We have a systematic process that we use to cull out beautiful properties, and we're happy to share it with you. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't simply instruct such inquirers to simply follow our The Roaming Boomers website. :-)

On the other hand, we understand that we can't be everywhere in the world, so here is the system that we use.

Before I begin, there is one caveat I should mention; we are predominantly a luxury travel website. Nonetheless, I'm confident that anyone will find the perfect vacation resort using our system.

If, however, you find a place in this list that is just beyond your reach financially, you might take a peek at 5 Star Resorts on a 3 Star Budget.

OK. Let's begin!

How to Find the Perfect Vacation Resort

  1. AAA Four-Diamond & Five Diamond List. For 75 years, AAA has been out sleeping in the nation's resorts, hotels, and bed and breakfasts to rate them with their proprietary scale. This list is generally our first stop. Here's the AAA Four-Diamond List, and here is the AAA Five-Diamond List.
  2. Forbes (formerly Mobil) Four-Star & Five Star List. This list contains far fewer properties than the AAA list. We have noticed that the criteria for a Four-Star property is more stringent than the criteria for a Four-Diamond property. Here's the Four-Star and Five-Star listings.
  3. Condé Nast Gold List. Unlike the previous two lists, this list is generated by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler. Their readers are primarily luxury travelers and we have found this list to be very reliable. Here's the link.
  4. Condé Nast Hot List. This is an eclectic list. It might be anything from a tree house to a farm house. We like out of the ordinary experiences, so we are always peeking at this list each year. Here's the link.
  5. Travel + Leisure 500. Readers vote on the world's top 500 resorts and hotels. Here's the link.
  6. The Kiwi Collection. This is one of our favorites. The list is culled by Kiwi staff, and they are not shy to remove a property if it slips below their very high standards. There's also lots of cool boutique properties. Here's the link.
  7. Select Registry. This list has nearly 400 of the nation's best Inns and Bed and Breakfasts. We learned to really love the personal attention found at many of these properties. Plus, because of the more intimate nature of the properties, we find ourselves quickly making new friends from all over the world. Here's the link.
  8. Historic Hotels of America. We are also a big fan of this list. We love historic hotels. This lists those hotels who have achieved the prestigious National Trust for Historic Preservation award. Here's the link.

Besides this list, we also regularly visit local Convention & Visitor Bureau websites, local travel bloggers, as well as the various websites of interesting properties.

When we're choosing a property, the #1 thing we are looking for is unparalleled experience. Experience can come in the form of luxury, uniqueness, or even staying in a yurt ( our yurt video)!

Well, there you have it. I promise, if you spend a little time clicking through all these links, you are certain to find a destination property to make your heart go pitter-pat. We certainly have!

David and Carol Porter are contributors on the AARP blog, blog regularly at and keep us updated on their travels via their Facebook Account.

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