The Comforts of Home While on Vacation

Vacation-home rentals can be cheaper than hotels

By Kevin Cokely
|  Saturday, Apr 16, 2011  |  Updated 8:22 PM CDT
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Some homeowners rent out their second homes to vacationers.

Kevin Cokely, NBCDFW.com

Some homeowners rent out their second homes to vacationers.

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Getting away doesn't have to mean having to give the comforts of home.

People such as Michelle Helterbran, of Coppell, rent out their second homes to vacationers.

"We actually travel a lot and stay at vacation rentals when we're out and about," she said. "It's so much easier with the kids to have an entire house and a kitchen."

She rents out her family's three-bedroom vacation home on a private cove at Richland Chambers Lake in Navarro County.

"Generally what you'll see is in a situation where you have a three- or four-bedroom house that the cost per bedroom is going to be about the same or less than you'll be spending for a comparable hotel room, and then also you'll have the added benefits of having a full kitchen a living room to be able to hang out in after the kids go to bed," Helterbran said.

Her lake house can sleep as many as 12. Starting at just $375 a night, houses such as hers can offer big savings over a group stay at a hotel.

"I would much rather have a whole home and have the comforts of home -- nice kitchen, places to be other than sitting on the bed and watching TV," Helterbran said.

Austin-based website Homeaway.com lists 225,000 homes around the world, with hundreds right here in the Lone Star State, including Texas ranches, lake houses, beach homes and even condos near Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

"There's properties all over the place, and they come in all shapes and sizes," industry expert Christine Karpinski said. "Most people think of the vacation rentals as something for the rich and famous, but there's properties that go down into like $69 to $89 to $99 a night all the way up to thousands of dollars a night."

Here are a few websites we found that list vacation homes for rent:

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