Who says you have to stay in a stuffy hotel the next time you want to getaway? These five websites can offer much more than sample-sized soaps in your bathroom. The charm, personality, and comfort of a real home, apartment, or bedroom from a local can give you insight into your destination that a concierge can't. Plus, you may find that you can rent out your own place for a good chunk of change. Check out these sites before you book your next vacation.
- Airbnb — This site lets regular people rent out their homes, apartments, spare rooms, and couches for tourists and vacationers to call their own while they make their way through town. What's more, Airbnb just started offering sublets, so if you find yourself in a new city for an extended period of time, you can get great deals through a real homeowner.
- Jetsetter — Gilt's brand new vacation home rental site caters to the more upscale of renters, but does "fabulous" quite well — you can rent Richard Branson's 14-bedroom Necker Island estate for a mere $54,000 a night.
- VRBO — Promoting vacation rentals by owners, this site connects you to thousands of available rentals worldwide and even offers vacation protection in case of unforeseeable events, foreclosure, and double bookings.
- HomeAway — This site lets you browse and book vacation rentals and homes in thousands of cities across the globe. Lots of photos and clear pricing structures make it easy to book.
- Inhabit Vacations — Hand-selected apartments, villas, and rental properties in several world cities — from San Francisco, Paris, Bermuda, Portland, and more — ensure that you have the best of what each city has to offer.