You don’t have to own the place to live in a proper home on holiday. If a holiday house or timeshare isn’t right for you but you still want something private, authentic and cheaper than a hotel, consider lettings. Airbnb (airbnb.co.uk) is one of the biggest vacation rental sites offering everything from a spare room in someone’s house to a windmill, chalet, boat, log cabin, or castle. Look for rentals that have four-star reviews and message the host to get a sense of what they’re like before you book. Reputable hosts will never ask you to send money in any other way than through the website.
Try a home swap
A cheaper way of seeing the world is to swap homes with someone who lives in a place you want to stay in exchange for them visiting your home. Try simultaneous swaps or have them stay while you’re at home. ■ The main operators are Homebase Holidays (0203 695 1123/www. homebase-hols.com) and Homelink (0196 288 6882/www.homelink.org.uk)