There are also dozens of worthy smaller travel sites out there that may be a better fit for a specific need, such as traveling overseas or finding accommodations other than at hotels. A vacation property rental or home swap can be more affordable accommodations than a hotel, particularly for a longer stay. Check out our Useful Links page for a more comprehensive listing of sites that cater to specialized accommodations.
Headed over the pond? Kiplinger.com names U.K.-based LateRooms.com as the best site for last-minute deals on luxury hotel lodging. This site books 33,000 properties worldwide, but offers its best deals on 4- and 5-star hotels in the U.K. through its blind-bid "secret rooms" program. Although you don't know the hotel name, you know the general location, star rating and customer rating. BudgetTravel.com recommends Venere.com for booking independently owned properties overseas, including bed and breakfasts, apartments and farmhouses. Users are likely to find nightly rates far below the large hotels. Kiplinger.com recommends Hostelz.com for finding low-cost hostels worldwide.
If it's a vacation rental property you seek, either for one night or a long-term stay, plenty of sites specialize in connecting travelers with rental property owners and management companies. Travel and Leisure magazine recommends HomeAway.com, with its more than 230.000 rental properties around the globe, or VRBO.com for vacation rentals by owners primarily located in the U.S. Kiplinger.com says another option to HomeAway.com is Villas International, which books more than 25,000 properties, ranging from cottages and apartments to villas.
Swapping houses isn't for everyone, but it can be a way to cut out the high cost of accommodations and make lengthy and international trips more affordable. To find someone to swap houses with, Kiplinger.com recommends HomeExchange.com, and Travel and Leisure magazine recommends LuxeHomeSwap.com. Both of these sites require users to pay a membership fee.