It's no surprise that vacation rentals have stolen the hearts of savvy travelers everywhere. Great savings, extra amenities, even the chance to get some local advice...what's not to love? The fact that HomeAway has hit one million listings -- making its inventory almost twice the size of other similar companies -- just comes to show how this once-alternative means of accommodation is going mainstream. To celebrate, we've rounded up five affordable rentals that you can book this summer and beyond, for a taste of something different:
1. Santa Teresa, Costa Rica: $80/night
For the design enthusiast, this Costa Rican rental delivers on one-of-a-kind digs with a futuristic, geodesic design. Sleeping four to five with two bedrooms spread over two floors, this villa is less than a five-minute walk to Santa Teresa Beah and the area's shops and cafes. We recommend getting out early to beat the heat, then settling in for an afternoon siesta if the rain hits. And, don't worry, the AC units are well-equipped to keep you cool. 4-night minimum.
Now here's a schoolhouse that we'd actually be happy to step into. This 1916 building that once served the children of families working in Gardiner's coal mines has been updated with a combination of cozy quilts and sleek appliances for a rural but pleasant escape. While you can see the endless aspen trees and wildlife perfectly well from indoors, we suggest getting out and enjoying the fresh mountain air -- horseback riding, zip lining, and more await. Sleeps 4. 3-night minimum in high season, 2-night minimum in low season.
Few places evoke tales of the Old West than Texas. Imagine yourself in those wild times but stay utterly comfortable with with air conditioning, private showers, and kitchenettes in these teepees. Each tent accommodates two queen beds with a pullout couch, perfect for those traveling with friends. Enjoy complimentary kayaks, fishing trips on the nearby Geronimo Creek, and the community hot tub and ping pong tables. 3-night minimum in high season, 2-night minimum in low season.
A classic Colorado Springs vacation gets even more charm in this small Victorian cottage, fully remodeled from its 1909 chicken coop past. The bright and airy quarters are dressed up with romantic decor that's thankfully soft on the frills, and the backyard gazebo and garden furnishings are perfect for an intimate, quiet night in for two. If you want to explore, though, you'll be just a short drive from Old Colorado City, Manitou Springs, the Olympic Training Center, and more. 5-night minimum in high season, 3-night minimum in low season.
If you're looking to get away from it all, this cabin rolls remote reprieve and the romance of simpler times all into one. By day, commune with nature by hiking, swimming, fishing, and boating alongside the wildlife in Glacier National Park. By night, cozy up to leather reclining chairs, a gas grill, and a double burner Coleman stove. The wraparound porch makes for relaxing summer evenings; in colder weather, head over to the sauna to warm up (sauna and shower is shared with neighbors). 3-night minimum in high season, 2-night minimum in low season.