Worldwide Houseboat Rentals

Oh, the places you’ll go!

Published in the March 2018 Issue June 2019 Feature By Heather Magda Serrano

A couple of years ago, some friends in Amsterdam got together with a dream to share their passion for houseboating with the world. Juul Steyn, Pepijn Niesten and Kamiel Keeris are now the proud owners of the first worldwide houseboat rental community.

“We worked really hard to create something beautiful,” shared Keeris, “and I hope that people find us and enjoy the pleasure of staying on a houseboat for the night.”

With their unique and innovative company, you literally have the freedom to book a houseboat on the other side of the globe. In fact, that’s what their company’s called: BookaHouseboat.

The BookaHouseboat website allows you to browse through a plethora of houseboats available for rent all over the map. Not only will you get to visit new locations, but you’ll do it aboard a houseboat. And we already know that’s the best way to live and vacation. Am I right, houseboaters?

The sky is the limit with BookaHouseboat. Rent a houseboat in the Bahamas, the Kerala backwaters of India, or in the owners’ very own hometown of Amsterdam. And those are just a few of the options available.

It brings a joyous tear to the eye just thinking about the possibilities as I nostalgically quote one of my favorite childhood authors in saying, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

A Novel Experience

Like I said before, nothing quite beats a houseboating getaway. Keeris attested that as someone who lives on the water, you feel like you’re on holiday all the time. A feeling you wouldn’t mind perpetuating.

He talked about how there is nothing like waking up in the morning, opening your door and looking out across the water. Keeris’s passion was almost palpable as he talked about the unparalleled beauty and peace that come with living on a houseboat.

Then, not only are you living out on the water and doing the things you love, but as a result you end up bonding with people of mutual interests. Kindred spirits, you could say. That’s how our warm and friendly houseboat communities are born.

“It’s just a relaxing way of life,” added Keeris, “and we want to share that with other people as well. We want to share the water-living experience.”

Another thing the friends noticed as they built their company was that traveling trends were moving more toward novelty than convenience. That’s not to imply that houseboats are inconvenient in any way, oh contraire, but I think we can all agree there is a novelty that surrounds houseboating in a way that could never be matched by a Motel 6.

They’re special. They’re unique. There’s nothing quite like it. On top of that, many of the houseboats available with BookaHouseboat are historically significant.

BookaHouseboat converted a former WWII ship into a houseboat that is now available for rent. They also convert vessels such as ferry boats and authentic Indian spiceboats into floating homes. Staying in such a residence would be a rich, one-of-a-kind experience.

Popular Locations

Some of the more popular areas on BookaHouseboat include Rotterdam, Berlin, Hamburg and London.

Keeris also mentioned the houseboats available in Paris on the Seine are particularly sought-after. There’s little mystery as to why this is because being right in the center of Paris, you will never have a shortage of things to do or places to explore. The setting alone makes your heart skip a beat.

Of course, another favored location for renters is in the company’s home-base in Amsterdam. The city’s incomparable beauty attracts houseboaters from all over the world like bees to honey.

“It’s just like the pictures,” said Keeris, “maybe even better.”

You don’t have to take his word for it. Hop on a plane to Amsterdam, rent one of their houseboats and see for yourself!

These few destinations are just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless locations to choose from on BookaHouseboat. So come on! Time for some globe trotting!

Making Memories

Steyn shared a touching story of how one of their renters from America proposed to his Italian girlfriend on one of BookaHouseboat’s boats.

Marc Burnett is a fanatic angler and so is his now-wife Francesca. For the marriage proposal, he wanted to make it a day she would never forget and he definitely succeeded.

He rented a houseboat in Amsterdam, took her angling, and planned on having her reel in a big fish.

Burnett attached the engagement ring to a $300 bottle of champagne and hooked it to the end of her line. Just before she came out, he threw it in the water. Unfortunately, this incredibly romantic gesture didn’t work out as planned because Burnett overestimated the strength of his fishing line.

The line snapped, leaving her holding a fishing rod with a loose piece of line dangling impotently in the water. Needless to say, she was rather confused and he was rather lost for words.

After a moment that seemed to last an eternity, Burnett fell to his knees and asked her to marry him.

She said yes!

Even though they never found the bottle of champagne or the ring, the Burnetts walked away with something much better. They walked away with each other, the promise of a life together and the precious memories they made on their rented houseboat in Amsterdam.

Specialized Platform

The owners first got their idea for BookaHouseboat when they noticed the rising popularity of Airbnb. Airbnb is another online hospitality company that helps people to lease or rent their homes for a short-term period.

The thing about Airbnb is that all the houseboats are often buried under offerings of ordinary on-shore houses. It can be unnecessarily time-consuming to find houseboats on the website.

When the friends noticed this, they seized the opportunity to create a specialized version of this idea. They created a rental community that specifically caters toward houseboats and watervillas. Thus, BookaHouseboat was born.

BookaHouseboat has a more personal, customized touch. “We’re not a corporate organization like Airbnb,” explained Keeris. “We’re just three friends who made a really good platform.”

Financially Savvy

Could it really get any better? Because it just did.

In big cities such as Paris and Amsterdam, staying in a houseboat is more cost efficient than staying at a hotel. This holds especially true if you are traveling with your family or with a group of friends.

BookaHouseboat also offers about 180 different payment systems. No, that wasn’t a typo; they really do offer around 180 different forms of payment. That’s due to the countless currencies that saturate Europe.

“So it’s not just a credit card and paper,” added Keeris. “It’s your local banking as well.”

The owners of BookaHouseboat put a lot of time into creating the numerous different payment systems, and in the end, it has paid off.

Having so many different payment systems makes it more convenient for world travelers from all continents to book with BookaHouseboat. This is one of their powerful advantages over similar businesses like Airbnb.

Live The Dream

Steyn, Niesten and Keeris have undoubtedly struck gold with their sensational idea of creating BookaHouseboat. Just browsing the different locations where houseboats are available for rent on the BookaHouseboat website makes you weak in the knees.

It might be time to step out and try some new things in some new places. Take a page out of the Burnetts’ book and create memories that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

The hardest part is deciding where you want to go.

For more information, check out www.bookahouseboat.com.

Photos provided by BookaHouseboat

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