Travel Tip – How to Use Google Earth to Find Unique Vacation Rentals.


Last summer while travelling through Spain our family had to maximize our budget for accommodation in order to stretch out the trip to last the whole summer. I have been using sites like VRBO and Homeaway to get great deals on condos and apartments in North America for years and new the value of that kind of accommodation for extended stays. The problem I was having in Spain was that there were less sites that covered the country from a national perspective, so finding places to stay was tricky. That is it until I was using Google Earth to pre-visualize some of the areas of interest [That’s another blog post entirely.] that we going to be travelling through. As the zoom tool Google Earth got closer to the city of Seville I noticed that there were little bed icons showing up across the city. “What is this?” I thought. Could this be another unadvertised feature of Google Earth? Why yes it was, Google maps now lets business’ geo-advertise for free. This is very handy for B&B, Pensions and lower profile accommodations. As the icons where clicked little windows extended out from the icons and there was hotel and rental apartment details. Curious I clicked a couple of the links that then opened up the web browser and what I found was a rag tag bunch of apartment rental networks for Seville. I poked around a bit more in Google Earth and found that there were similar icons in other Spanish cities. If you are looking to do the same in Canada try using Troovy it will give you similar results.


  1. Open Google Earth [Mac or PC]Google Earth Layers
  2. Zoom into the city of interest.
  3. Make sure that in your layers palette to the left that the “Places of Interest” is open.
  4. Scroll down to lodging and make sure that it is checked to ‘on’.
  5. Now zoom over the town or city that you are interested in finding accommodation and now little bed icons will appear. 
  6. Zoom in further, click the icon and now the apartment or hotel information will appear. Most of the properties will have reviews, location and web address details.

So through using Google Earth and geo-targeting the cities and towns that I needed accommodation I was able to find the following networks in Spain. I am listing off Spain apartment networks as examples because that is what I was looking for. I am sure if you poke around other countries that you will be able to find the same.

Seville Apartments 



Good luck and good hunting

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  1. Lee Frank says:

    That’s an awesome way to find things. I never ever thought of that.

  2. Pretty good idea. It worked for me. I need a place to stay in downtown Toronto in April and by looking closely I found a well rated b&b for only $55 a night. That is almost a third of what I paid at an inexpensive hotel last time I went. Thanks.

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