When Katie Molloy decided to take a vacation to Cape Cod this summer, she knew a hotel room for seven days would break the bank for her family of four.
Instead, she turned to a popular vacation website, Homeaway.com, which allows users to browse through hundreds of thousands of rental properties and contact owners directly, without using brokers or pricey hotels.
“The site is just a starting point, and then all communication is between you and the owner,” says Molloy, who found a reasonable cottage rental in Falmouth for a week in August. “I like searching a website, because I can do it for a few minutes here and there and not commit to time on the phone with a broker.”
Websites like Homeaway.com are seeing a large increase in users with more people choosing to avoid expensive hotels or rent their homes to make money.
Currently, there are more than 225,000 vacation rentals to choose from on Homeaway.com. According to Victor Wang, a spokesman for the site, the number of homes available for rent in the Boston area in the past three months is up 38 percent compared to the same time period last year.
There are also sites for swapping homes, where you can score free lodging while someone else enjoys your home at the same time.
For Molloy, having a kitchen, living room and two bedrooms on vacation is a must with two toddlers — and finding it without a logistical nightmare is a big plus.
“The nice thing about a cottage is that we can put the kids to bed and then hang out in the living room,” says Molloy. “In a hotel, I guess we’d watch the TV on mute from our bed next to theirs. That’s not so fun.”