Americans are traveling again after the height of the pandemic, but their accommodations might look a little different now. Instead a hotel for a dream vacation, solo rental properties such as individual homes and villas are gaining popularity as travelers seek spots where they can keep a social distance while still enjoying the area. High-end rentals are enjoying a boom in popularity.
Hostaway, a leader in data management for vacation rental properties, reports that the amount of money being spent on luxury vacation rentals has been increasing by about 15% a year since 2019 — even for properties that charge up to $10,000 a night. Properties with swimming pools, hot tubs and mountain views are among the most desired.
Among the popular destinations, according to Hostaway, are Canada (up 57% in 2022 compared to 2020,) Mexico (up 200%) and the United Arab Emirates (up 47%).
“The overall picture is that confidence in travel is definitely back,” said Marcus Rider, the CEO of Hostaway. “The volume of U.S. travelers visiting Mexico this year, the growth of the sector in the UAE and the cash being spent on the luxury end of the market are all opportunities short-term rental operators in those areas should be taking advantage of right now.”
Even luxury can come at a discount, if you pick the right season for travel and take other factors into consideration. Read on to learn some popular high-end vacation spots where you can stay for less.
“Maui is one market where vacation rentals have taken advantage of a limited hotel market to offer some great deals on absolutely gorgeous places,” said Nick Mueller, the director of operations of HawaiianIslands.com. “The island’s small size means that even a house way up in the hills is only a short drive from, well, the entire island and all of its beaches and other natural beauty.
“It’s important to note that affordable is a relative term here. High-end Maui hotel rooms can go for close to $1,000 a night, but vacation rentals are closer to $400 and generally offer more spacious accommodations.”
A luxury summer vacation in Barbados can be pricey but is more affordable than a winter retreat, said George Hammerton, the director of Hammerton Barbados, a vacation rental company.
“Barbados has always been a high-end destination with a well-kept secret — that being the low season is in fact during the summer season,” he said. “As a result, prices can be as much as a fifth of what they are during the peak over Christmas and New Year. Demand remains high, but owners are also offering more flexibility with agents such as ours to secure special rates on occasion.”
A luxury two-bedroom rental on the beach starts about $5,000 for the week, including taxes, he said.
The Crystal Coast, North Carolina
Live in luxury — well, at least for a week — in The Crystal Coast, North Carolina, an 85-mile stretch in the Southern Outer Banks. Emerald Isle Realty represents some amazing properties throughout the area; and, if you can plan your travel for certain weeks, you can find on its website what the agency calls a “hot deal.”
Be ready to book for the discounted week because the deal probably won’t last for long. In an open week in June, the Round House cottage — all of the properties have names — was discounted to $2,087, a savings of about $400. The Thank God House had a bigger savings, a hot deal of $4,495 for the week instead of $6,395.
San Carlos, Mexico
San Carlos is one of the more affordable Mexican vacation destinations, said Larry Snider, the vice president of operations of Casago Vacation Rentals. He pointed out one specific rental property.
“This rental in San Carlos, Mexico, is just $75 a night, but allows up to six guests and has beautiful beachfront views and all the accommodations you need,” he said. “The high number of rental properties like this one with great views and close proximity to the beach definitely contributes to bringing down prices out of competition. Competitive prices are also a way to encourage tourism, which the Mexican economy relies on heavily.”
Palm Springs, California
In the 1920s, Palm Springs emerged as a retreat for Hollywood’s biggest stars — picture Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley lounging by the pool — but you don’t have to be a celebrity to vacation in the desert. The website Evolve showcases a number of luxury rentals in Palm Springs, and they don’t get any more affordable than a three-bedroom, four-bathroom house that sleeps seven and is walkable to downtown at an average of $136 per night. And it has a private pool, of course.
How does a bayfront one-bedroom villa in the Florida Keys sound? With a secluded beach and a private patio with bay views? Evolve has such a property on its website for an average of $159 per night in Islamorada, Fla. With a queen bed and a pull-out bed, it sleeps four. Make your vacation rental even more affordable by sharing the cost with a friend.
Jordan Morgan and his wife are expats who have been living abroad for eight years and specialize in personalized travel recommendations through their company, On Arrival. For an upcoming trip to Puglia, Italy, they took their own advice.
“We are staying in a private villa, built in a traditional trullo,” he said. “The villa is on its own private land with private swimming pool and nestled in an olive grove. It cost us just $293 per night — so a weekly rate would be around $2,000 for lodging. This is a two-bedroom villa that could comfortably sleep four.”
Miami Beach, Florida
With so many things to do in Miami Beach — starting with the beach, of course — it’s a popular destination for travelers, and high-end apartments, condos and villas are waiting for travelers. Depending on the size and proximity to the beach, travelers can find units starting at less than $150 per night.
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