How to Travel on a Budget Amid Inflation

Strong demand for short-term rentals has pushed prices up. Rentals are up 27 percent at Hawaii Life, a brokerage service with 320 rentals across the Hawaiian Islands, now averaging $ 490 a night., a rental company, said the average price for a unit in the United States is up about 10 percent compared to 2019. Some of its most affordable rentals are in Carlsbad, Calif. (the median price is $ 158 a night), Jacksonville, Fla. ($ 159), Tucson, Ariz. ($ 210), and Nashville ($ 212).

Keep an eye on fees, especially cleaning fees, which are best amortized over a longer stay. A $ 100-a-night cabin on Airbnb with a $ 150 cleaning fee comes to $ 250 for one night. Spread over a week, it adds closer to $ 20 a night to the rate. Or look for a rental without a cleaning fee, like one of the tiny homes at Majestic Farm in rural Sullivan County in the Catskill Mountains (from $ 155 a night).

Consider a big house – which may look expensive – and fill it with friends and family to split the cost. Sasha Hoffman, who runs the group-travel planning service The Sasha Edition, recently rented a villa for 14 on St. Lucia for $ 1,900; a nearby luxury hotel was charging $ 3,000 a night for a double. She and her group paid the equivalent of $ 135 a person a night.

Like other travel services, house-sitting took a hit during the pandemic, but has come back, like home rentals, by providing more privacy than hotels. House-sitting provides free accommodations on platforms like House Sitters America ($ 49 membership for one year) and MindMyHouse ($ 20 a year), which match homeowners to travelers.

At Trusted Housesitters ($ 129 annual membership), where membership is now higher than it was before the pandemic, most arrangements include pet sitting. Recent listings included a two-bedroom, two-cat apartment in Washington, DC, and a ranch home with a golden doodle near Raleigh, NC

The pets “are going to sleep in the bed with you, so you don’t need to be a pet lover,” said Stephanie Perry, of Dover, Del., Who frequently house-sits while running a digital business.

Similarly, home swaps on services like HomeExchange (annual membership $ 175) and Love Home Swap ($ 11 a month) allow you to exchange your house with another traveler. HomeExchange said it had 51 percent more exchanges in April 2022 compared to April 2019.

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