She felt lucky to travel with AvantStay but we’re the lucky ones for hosting the beautiful and well-traveled Helen Owen over the Thanksgiving holiday! There’s a reason she has over 1M Instagram followers, and we think it’s because she doesn’t just stay at nice places, she PLAYS at nice places. Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

What did you love most about your experience with Avantstay?

First and foremost, my renting experience with AvantStay was already elevated due to the exceptional selection of properties available from the get go. Searching for a property to book usually involves a lot of digging to find a hidden gem amongst average options, such is not the case with AvantStay. Every single option is a property I could see myself booking, and that already makes the experience so much more inspiring and exciting.

Hellen Owen in AvantStay vacation rental

Can you tell us about a day in the life from your stay at our Newport home?

Ahh, our Newport days were just so lovely! We’d wake up, Whitney would volunteer to go downstairs and make us coffee. Then we’d all pile in the master bedroom for a little 8 a.m. coffee talk and giggles (our group giggles a lot, usually at complete nonsense). Once the coffee would fully kick in, we’d throw on our workout gear and get up to move our bodies in some capacity, whether it be a Barry’s class or a virtual session (it’s so much easier to find motivation to workout as a group!). Followed by brunch and lounging around our Newport home. The late afternoon would be spent on the beach, sipping on cold Kirra tea, people watching, laughing at absolutely nothing per usual, taking hundreds of photos, and debating on what to order for dinner. We’d end the night watching the sunset with takeout and an outdoor movie out on our canal-front deck. Pretty magical day, if you’re asking me!

Helen Owen with friends enjoying AvantStay group vacation rental

What happens in Malibu stays in Malibu, but if you had to share one funny story from your trip, what would it be?

We booked our AvantStay home in Malibu to celebrate Friendsgiving early, before our group split for the holidays. We happened to book on the hottest possible early November day—it was hitting high 90s, even on the Malibu coast! Feeling divinely blessed by the weatherman, we all show up to the property in our finest November-summer attire—shorts, skirts, not a jacket in sight. But as we pulled up to the house, we were suddenly swallowed by a dense low hanging fog. You couldn’t see beyond a dozen yards, and the fog was absolutely bone-chillingly FREEZING. It somehow was 90 and full sunshine 5 minutes up the road, but our house just happened to be in the middle of a pocket of polar ice clouds. Luckily I had a big bag of clothing to distribute and we saw our personal cloud coverage as a welcome opportunity to get into the Fall spirit and cozy up. The fog had nothing on us, we ended up having the most special Friendsgiving!

Bringing loved ones together is central to AvantStay’s mission. How did you and your friends celebrate Friendsgiving?

We set up a picnic style banquet in the gorgeous yard of the Bluewater Malibu property. Our friends from Bliss Beach created a gorgeous outdoor dining experience for our group, with a Fall inspired table-scape, lots of pillows to cozy up on, and slow jams playing throughout the evening. We invited all our friends, got catering from our favorite restaurant (True Food Kitchen), and loaded up on good conversation, squash pie, and lots of wine. I couldn’t have imagined a better, more memorable evening for us to celebrate our friendships and togetherness.

AvantStay Malibu yard of AvantStay vacation rental

What’s something only your friends know about you?

I like to eat, A LOT. I mean, I can (almost) keep up with Zack’s portions. And while I definitely try to steer myself toward healthy options, I need to indulge frequently to stay sane! Pie is a definite weakness.

You travel a lot. Is there anything that makes traveling with AvantStay unique?

Traveling with AvantStay is a much more personable, elevated experience for many reasons. Everything from the selection of properties, to the ease of the AvanStay app, thoughtfulness and presentation upon check-in, to the level of hospitality and dedication from the AvantStay team to making the stay memorable, catered specifically toward my needs. It all makes for a unique, far more pleasant travel experience.

AvantStay vacation rental view

We have homes all over! Where do you dream about traveling next (within our markets) and why?

I have been dreaming of a snowy escape! I would love to run away to an AvantStay home in Tahoe or Park City, Utah! And perhaps never return.

You’re a big-time wellness guru. Did you find it possible to stick to healthy habits at our homes?

Wellness came so easily during my stays! My biggest motivation is my friends and Zack, so staying active and healthy in our AvantStay home happens just as easily as it would at home (if not more, due to the increased motivation from my very active friends!).

Are you a pool or beach girl?

Beach all the way! But if there’s a pool, I won’t be opposed to that either.

AvantStay vacation rental backyard

These days, cleanliness and safety are more important than ever. Did you feel that AvantStay made it easy for you to WFH and travel safely?

Every single safety measure was taken and met! The deep cleaning/sanitation process in particular was taken so seriously! We arrived to the Malibu home a tad early and witnessed the end of the cleaning process and we couldn’t believe how thorough it was. Being that we were early for our check in, the cleaners even asked us to wait before entering to fully let the sanitation process complete which we appreciated so much!

Was there a particularly Instagrammable moment that didn’t make it on your feed while you were at Newport or Malibu?

Although you might think we’re not the group to let an Instagram-worthy moment pass by un-captured, we all decided via group text before our Malibu Friendsgiving to consciously “unplug” from our screens for the entire evening. Of course we captured the magic of the picnic set-up, but beyond that we put our phones away. After dinner we all piled around the fire pit, ate pie and had meaningful conversations. That fire pit moment was definitely a highlight of my year, and I still captured and stored the memory, just not on my phone.

Our properties in Arizona, Colorado, and Utah are perfect for both spa-goers and adrenaline seekers. Do you prefer relaxation or adventure while vacationing?

Ah, this is so hard! I am such a mix of both—I can’t really pick one over the other because I feel like the perfect trip usually involves a balance. Although, I am never mad to go a little heavier on the relaxing scale, with a couple adventures thrown in the mix to keep it fun. But if you ask me to stay home and relax I will gladly oblige.

chil land movie night in AvantStay vacation rental

Published by Agnes Werbe

Agnes brings 5+ years of content writing experience for fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands to AvantStay's marketing team. She received her bachelor's degree in English Literature at Vanderbilt University and spends her free time reading, exploring new cities, and writing hinge prompts for her friends.

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