For any vacation other than a day trip, you need someplace to stay.
If you belong to a hotel loyalty program such as Hilton Honors or Marriott Bonvoy, you might need to book directly with a property to rack up points. Otherwise, try one of these options to save on hotel stays:
- Hotels.com: This is our top pick for finding the best price on a hotel. The site is easy to use, covers both chain and independent properties and offers multiple ways to search and sort results. Through its Hotels.com Rewards program, the site also gives users a free night for every 10 booked through Hotels.com.
- Travel rewards credit card: Whether you’re booking directly with a property or using a website like Hotels.com, use a travel rewards credit card to pay for it to get more for your money. Two of our favorite cards are the Chase Sapphire Preferred and the Capital One Venture. Both let you accumulate points to be redeemed for lodging, flights and travel upgrades without locking you into a specific hotel chain.
If you’d rather stay in a home instead of a hotel, here are three options for booking unique and affordable vacation rentals:
- Airbnb: Possibly the most recognizable name in vacation rentals, Airbnb is a website that connects travelers with property owners who are renting out either single rooms or their entire house. In addition to homes of all kinds, you’ll find treehouses, houseboats and other unique options here. Airbnb Plus properties have passed an in-person inspection and are verified to meet certain minimum standards.
- Homestay.com: Operating similarly to Airbnb, Homestay.com provides options for both short-term and long-term stays at properties throughout the world. Whether you’re looking for a vacation rental or need to rent while working or studying abroad, you’ll likely find a place that catches your eye on Homestay.com.
- Vrbo (short for “Vacation Rentals by Owner”): The website of Vrbo — which has been in operation since the 1990s — is also worth a look before booking a vacation rental. Condos, cabins and beach houses can be found here, along with other homes of all kinds. Use Vrbo’s Trip Boards feature to easily choose a rental when traveling with family and friends.