smart spending

5 ways to save money on summer vacation

Think outside the hotel box
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Beach cottages

According to independent research conducted by HomeAway Inc., a vacation rental company based in Austin, Texas, a rental property costs 50 percent to 80 percent less per square foot than the average hotel room in popular destinations.

From kitchen space that cuts dining-out dollars to free Internet access, many vacation rental properties deliver added value and added space, especially for families, says Alexis de Belloy, HomeAway's vice president for North America.

"When you're in a hotel room with children and family, you have to get out to entertain them," de Belloy says. "When you're in a vacation rental, there are typically quite a few entertainment options on the property."

Travelers can find additional ways to save money on their summer vacation, depending on where they plan to visit.

"In big cites, vacation rentals are often in apartment and condo buildings, and owners are generally able to pass on certain privileges to guests such as parking and access to a pool, a gym or a spa," de Belloy says.

While summer may still feel far away, de Belloy advises travelers to begin their searches soon.

"The earlier you book, the more likely you are to find availability for the best properties," he says.




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