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Home away from home: Where to stay on your next vacay

Planning a vacation is full of decisions. And once you’ve nailed down the destination and timing, your next step is to decide where you'll stay.

Nowadays, a the range of options can make it challenging to decide, leaving even the most avid travelers stumped. From traditional hotels to glamping, here’s a primer to help you narrow down where you could stay on your next adventure.

Check out hotels

If you like to chill by the pool or lounge on the beach, you'll want accommodations that can rise to the occasion. And while that premium experience often comes with a high price tag, hotels also offer a long list of amenities that can bring your trip to the next level.

There are also plenty of options in terms of how you can book. Scheduling directly through the hotel may offer more flexibility and help you earn reward points, while hotel deal sites might offer better prices. While booking, keep an eye out for additional costs like pet, resort and internet fees.

Investigate hostels

Even though they’re often called youth hostels, these accommodations can be an excellent alternative for budget travelers of any age. A bed in a shared dorm room is often the cheapest option, but you can get a basic private room at a hostel for significantly less than the cost of a hotel. Another cost-saving feature? They often have communal kitchens. So, if you’re a cost-conscious traveler, you can save money by cooking your meals.

Bear in mind that you may have to pay a key deposit, charges for using a credit/debit card, and bed linen and laundry fees, in addition to your nightly rate.

Go bigger with vacation rentals

Whether it’s a London flat, a Bahamas beach house or a Colorado cabin, vacation rentals can offer unique accommodations all around the globe. They’re typically a rentable furnished apartment, house or professionally managed resort-condominium complex, which often means they offer more space, privacy or unique features than a standard hotel. Depending on the destination, more space can mean a better deal for families or larger groups looking to split the cost. And having your own kitchen (with a view) can save you serious cash on restaurants.

Be sure to read the fine print for costs like cleaning, service, and occupancy taxes and fees before you commit.

Depending on the destination, more space can mean a better deal for families or larger groups looking to split the cost.

Seek a short-term room rental

This popular and ever-growing trend in the travel world is like a cross between vacation rentals and homestays.

By renting a room in someone’s house or apartment for a low nightly rate, this can be a great deal and give you the locals’ point of view when it comes to your traveling destination.

Get cozy at a bed and breakfast

Feeling a little rustic?  B&Bs can be a great option for travelers that don’t need all the modern amenities (like a flat-screen TV) but are still looking for a little bit of pampering during their stay. Although you may have to share a bathroom, a cozy B&B can be more cost effective, and since breakfast is covered, you’ll save on meals too. Just be sure you’re up for a more community-style experience since a social breakfast with strangers usually comes with the territory. And the savings keep coming, typically, B&Bs are all-inclusive with no additional fees like resorts or hotels.

Try a home exchange

Love travel but enjoy the comforts of home? Swapping houses could be the best of both worlds. Bonus? It’s one of the most inexpensive options since you’ll typically only pay an annual fee that costs about as much as a night in a hotel room to become a member of a home exchange network. So, after the first couple of nights of your vacation, your membership will have already paid for itself and more.

Get out with camping

Are you looking for more granola than glamor? Sleeping under the stars can be one of the most memorable and cheapest ways to vacation. Just be prepared for cooking on a camp stove or fire, washing dishes and dealing with inclement weather. Camping isn’t without its expenses either; upfront costs include campsite rental fees and equipment such as tents, sleeping bags and more. And don’t discount camping if you’re not the outdoorsy type. You can always look into renting a cabin or glamping (where nature meets modern luxuries).

Save your way

Where you stay is an important part of any vacation, but your accommodations don’t have to break the bank. If you're looking to build your travel budget , use Ally Bank's Savings Account buckets to show exactly how much you’ve saved (and how far you have to go) for that dream getaway.

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