Homeward Bound: 6 Top Vacation House Rental Sites

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vacation home rentalThis post originally appeared on All You.

According to STR Global, a company that tracks hotel-industry data, Americans spend an average of about $114 for a hotel per night. If you’re looking for something a little more like home, though, you might consider renting out a vacation home to have the full benefits of privacy and household amenities with your R&R.

With services like Airbnb and HomeExchange gaining popularity, housing swaps and homeowners renting out their spaces for vacations are becoming all the rage. And they can save you a ton, too!

Here are six housing rental sites to check out and find your new home away from home — without stretching your budget.

Airbnb

How does it work? Fresh off of its new redesign, Airbnb allows vacationers to browse rental homes listed by residents in their destination cities. Just choose from 34,000 cities in 190 countries worldwide, find a listing and get in touch with the owner. Depending on the listing, you can either book the dates immediately, request a booking from the owner or send a message to the owner to ask them more questions about your stay.

How much does it cost? The service is free to use for travelers. Hosts can list their homes for free, and they pay a 3 percent fee after receiving a successful booking.

Bonus tip: If you request a booking and the owner hasn’t responded within 24 hours, your request to book expires. We suggest only sending out one request at a time to make sure you don’t end up accidentally double-booking a stay. However, if you do, you can retract one of the requests without penalty.

VRBO

How does it work? VRBO, or Vacation Rentals by Owner, is part of the HomeAway brand. Choose your destination (international cities are also available) and travel dates to choose from a selection of booking options. You can either book right away, or you can inquire for more information from the host about the place before you commit and make any payments.

How much does it cost? The service has no booking fees, and it is free for travelers. To list a property, homeowners can either start an annual subscription for $349, a 10 percent fee for each booking or a 13 percent fee for each booking with the help of a professional listing.

Bonus tip: VRBO suggests inquiring on three or more properties at a time so you can increase your chances of booking with a place you love.

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