By Jennifer Flowers
January 25, 2013

If you’ve never tried a villa rental, consider making it your travel resolution for 2013: more globetrotters are discovering that renting a house or apartment while abroad allows you to truly live like a local while letting you explore the beautiful, hidden corners of popular destinations such as Italy and France. And it’s more common than ever to find companies that offer the amenities of a resort experience—daily housekeeping, concierge services, fully stocked refrigerators, and more.

Stay tuned for T+L’s Villa Rentals package in the March issue, but in the meantime, we can’t contain our excitement over this month’s debut of ThinkIonianIslands from Londoner Huw Beaugié and his Palermo-born wife, Rossella, the duo behind the highly regarded ThinkSicily and ThinkPuglia. The 15 properties—hidden on secluded beaches or in the lush countryside—are offering visitors better access to the less-discovered islands of Lefkada and Meganissi, located off the coast about a three-hour drive from Thessaloniki.

On this bitterly cold winter day in New York City, I can’t help but to fantasize about one property in particular: Agnantio, a hillside retreat where I could easily imagine myself waking up inside the whitewashed interiors, taking a dip in the sea-facing infinity pool, gazing down at the neighboring islands of Ithaca and Cephalonia from one of the sprawling stone balconies, or strolling to one of the nearby tavernas, which serve up the most exquisite seafood on the island.

Jennifer Flowers is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.