Cheap Hotels 101
RENT AN APARTMENT
Staying put for a while? Renting an apartment or villa can save you loads if you're crashing in the same spot for several days or traveling with more than two people. In addition to snagging lower fees for longer stays, this strategy may also help save on grub -- beers and burgers from the fridge cost way less than from the pub. And then there's the added attraction of living like a local.
There are probably a million resources on apartment rentals, especially online. To narrow it down, start with sites that cut out the managerial middleman and let owners post their rentals directly. Sites like All Rentals by Owner (www.allrentalsbyowner.com) include a ridiculous amount of information -- amenities, area activities, on- and off-peak rates, and detailed room descriptions, to name a few -- and only charges listers, not renters. Owner Direct (www.ownerdirect.com) also has a glut of information and features a section of "rock bottom specials," listing the site's best deals.
Expat sites, like Prague's English-speaking www.expat.cz, are another stellar resource for low-cost, long- and short-term lodging. Much like the stateside phenom Craigslist.org, these sites let you tap into the local scene, which will likely lead you to authentic cultural experiences in addition to low-cost accommodation.
RENT AN EMPTY TIMESHARE
According to the American Resort Development Association, about three million American households own timeshares, and 8 percent are never used. That's a whole lot of open beds. There's already a sizeable market for timeshare reselling, but sprouting alongside it is a lesser-known business: timeshare renting. In this case, an owner unable to make use of a timeshare will rent it out at a discounted price. Rates are often more than 40 percent off retail and weeklong stays from Florida to Los Cabos can start at $300. Vacationresellers.com and Myresortnetwork.com both have thousands of listings to choose from and charge only listers, not renters, for the service. If you're heading to a prime tourist destination -- think beachside and ski resorts -- definitely explore this option.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication