The best iPhone deals happening right now, including 50% off the iPhone 12 Mini with a new line at AT&T

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Apple iPhone Deals 2x1
  • Apple’s iPhones are pricey, but you can often find them at a discount.
  • Some of the best iPhone deals available now include big savings on the iPhone 11 and 2020 iPhone SE.

With so many Apple iPhone models to choose from, it can be confusing to find the right one for your needs. With that in mind, we tested and ranked the best iPhones to help you choose. They can get pricey, though, so it’s always nice to buy with a discount.

You can find deals on many iPhone models throughout the year. Apple’s smartphone lineup currently includes the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Mini, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 11, and iPhone SE. The latest generation isn’t seeing discounts just yet, but there are plenty of deals to shop on older models.

Check out the table of contents to the left to hop to deals for a specific model.

Comparing iPhone models

Average price Camera lenses Display size CPU 5G Battery life with video playback
iPhone 13 $699 to $799 2 5.4- or 6.1-inch A15 Bionic Y Up to 19 hours
iPhone 13 Pro $999 to $1,099 3 6.1- or 6.7-inch A15 Bionic Y Up to 28 hours
iPhone 12 $699 to $799 2 5.4- or 6.1-inch A14 Bionic Y Up to 17 hours
iPhone 12 Pro $999 to $1,099 3 6.1- or 6.7- inch A14 Bionic Y Up to 20 hours
iPhone SE $399 1 4.7-inch A13 Bionic N Up to 13 hours
iPhone XR $499

1

6.1-inch A12 Bionic N Up to 16 hours
iPhone 11 $499 2 6.1-inch A13 Bionic N Up to 17 hours
iPhone 11 Pro $899 to $999 3 5.8-inch A13 Bionic N Up to 20 hours

Of course, it can be overwhelming to figure out the best one for you, so check out our guides to the best iPhones and the best smartphones to help narrow your options down.

We’ll update this list as new deals surface.

The best iPhone deals happening now

iPhone 12 Mini (medium, Preferred: AT&T)Refurbished iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) (medium, Preferred: Verizon)iPhone 11 (medium, Preferred: Verizon)Refurbished iPhone 11 Pro (64GB) (medium)MagSafe Charger (medium, Preferred: Apple)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini

Product Card (medium, Preferred: Apple)iPhone 12 Mini (medium, Preferred: AT&T)

An improvement on previous models in terms of design and camera quality, the iPhone 12 is our current pick for the best iPhone you can get overall. It comes in five colors: white, black, blue, green, and red. Depending on your storage needs, you can choose from the 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB storage sizes. You can also pick between the normal 6.1-inch display and the 5.4-inch display Mini. The Mini has shorter battery life since it’s a smaller phone.

Though the phone came out a year ago, deals for it aren’t very common just yet — it’s even difficult to find available from other retailers without being locked to a carrier. Right now, the best place to find it unlocked is from Apple, but if you’re willing to enter a contract with AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, or Sprint, you can find stock from other retailers, like Amazon and Walmart.

iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max

iPhone 12 Pro (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)iPhone 12 Pro Max (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Apple no longer sells the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max through its online store, but other retailers still offer these models. Though they’re being replaced by new iPhone 13 versions, the 12 Pro series still feature excellent cameras in low light and an elegant design. The Pro Max will cost you an extra $100, but it has a larger 6.7-inch display and longer battery life than the smaller 6.1-inch version. Both are available in four colors: graphite, silver, gold, and pacific blue. You can choose between 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB depending on your needs. 

Just like their smaller siblings, the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max don’t typically see especially good deals.

iPhone SE (2020)

iPhone SE (2020) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)

Though it only comes with a single-lens camera, the iPhone SE is the best value you can find out of an iPhone. It has an older design, similar in look and feel to the iPhone 8; it’s also the only modern model that retained the home button. It runs using the same powerful chip as the iPhone 11 and can cost as little as $399 if you settle for the 64GB. It comes in three colors: white, black, and red. 

iPhone SE deals are pretty common to come across nowadays — if you’re lucky you can even find one free from carriers like AT&T or Verizon. 

iPhone XR

iPhone XR (medium)

The iPhone XR has a big, 5.94-inch screen and still includes modern features like Face ID, the Touch ID replacement that uses your front-facing camera to unlock your phone, and wireless charging. Though it’s no longer sold directly on Apple’s site, it’s one of the cheapest iPhone options you can buy without compromising too much on performance. You can choose between white, black, blue, yellow, coral, and red. 

If you don’t mind buying renewed, Amazon and Best Buy are worth looking into. Right now the street price for one is $499 for the 64GB storage size. 

iPhone 11

iPhone 11 (medium, Preferred: Verizon)

Though it’s the past generation of iPhone, the iPhone 11 still has great value worth considering if you want to pay less. It has a fast A13 Bionic chip, long battery life that we found lasted over 32 hours, wireless charging, and a dual-camera setup. It comes in six colors: white, black, green, yellow, purple, and red. 

Its street price has dropped down to $499 for the 64GB storage capacity. 

iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro (medium)iPhone 11 Pro Max (medium)

The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro Max are still great options for their solid triple camera system, speedy A13 Bionic chips, and Face ID to replace TouchID for unlocking your phone. The Pro offers up to 18 hours of battery life with video playback and the Pro Max offers up to 20 hours. We think they’re still a good value if you can find them at a decent deal price.

Apple no longer sells the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, but you can still find them from other retailers — though they’ll likely be locked in with carriers like Verizon and AT&T. If they see a reasonable discount, it may be worth buying so long as you don’t mind entering a contract with a carrier to do so.

Frequently asked questions

Where can I find the best iPhone deals?

Retailers like Best Buy, Walmart, Woot, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint are great places to find brand new iPhones with promotional discounts. Though the Apple Store may be your go-to, it’s rare to find iPhone deals from the store.  

There are tons of places to find discounts from, but we’ll keep this story updated with the best deals available from any retailer. 

Are refurbished iPhones worth buying?

In general, so long as it’s marked as “manufacturer refurbished,” it’s worth it. Buying refurbished iPhones can save you a lot of money, especially with their high price tags. 

Here are the best refurbished iPhone deals available now.

Refurbished iPhone 11 Pro Max (64GB) (medium, Preferred: Verizon)Refurbished iPhone 11 Pro (64GB) (medium)Refurbished iPhone XR (64GB) (medium)

Should I trade in my old iPhone?

It depends on the promotional offer, but oftentimes trading in an old model will knock a hefty sum off a brand new one. Usually, cell service providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint will have ongoing trade-in deals worth considering, year-round. 

When do new iPhones come out?

The newest generation of iPhone was announced on September 14, with preorders starting September 17. The iPhone 13 will be generally available starting September 24. 

When is the best time to buy an iPhone?

As with most tech, the best discounts tend to crop up during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The previous year’s models tend to see all-time lows at this time, especially with a new generation usually announced in September. It’s unlikely that the newest generation will see any price drops, though; models usually need to be out for at least a year before retailers start offering discounts. 

Amazon Prime Day is also a good time to find discounts, but the deal event usually lands mid-summer, meaning the newest models are only a few months away. 

What is the cheapest iPhone available?

The 2020 iPhone SE is undoubtedly the best budget iPhone available. Starting at only $399, it provides the full iOS experience and runs on the same chip as the iPhone 11. Right now, you can even get one free, with a new line on an eligible Verizon Unlimited plan.

iPhone SE (2020) (medium, Preferred: Verizon)

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to watch the NFL without cable – the 2021 season enters its second week with a Thursday night game on NFL Network

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

NFL How to stream games online 4x3
The 2021 NFL season began on September 9.

  • The 2021 NFL season kicks off its second week with a Thursday night matchup on NFL Network.
  • Games are spread across several channels, including NFL Network, ESPN, NBC, Fox, and CBS.
  • HD antennas and streaming services offer select NFL games without the need for a cable subscription.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The 2021 NFL season enters its second week with a Thursday night matchup between the Washington Football Team and New York Giants. The game starts at 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.

Throughout the season, NFL games are spread across five primary channels: ESPN, NBC, Fox, CBS, and the NFL Network. Meanwhile, the next Super Bowl will be broadcast on NBC.

To help ensure you get access to every game you want to watch, we’ve broken down the ins and outs of streaming the NFL season without a cable subscription.

NFL week 2 schedule

Week two of the NFL regular season features an exciting lineup, including a Sunday Night Football matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens on NBC and Peacock. This week’s Monday Night Football game will feature the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions on ESPN.

Primetime games are shown nationally, but local broadcasts for afternoon games are determined by your area. Bye games will not start until after week four.

Game

Date and time Channel
Washington Football Team at New York Giants September 16, 8:20 p.m. ET NFL Network
New England Patriots at New York Jets September 19, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars September 19, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins September 19, 1 p.m. ET Fox
San Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia Eagles September 19, 1 p.m. ET Fox
Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis Colts September 19, 1 p.m. ET Fox
Las Vegas Raiders at Pittsburgh Steelers September 19, 1 p.m. ET CBS
Cincinnati Bengals at Chicago Bears September 19, 1 p.m. ET Fox
Houston Texans at Cleveland Browns September 19, 1 p.m. ET CBS
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers September 19, 1 p.m. ET Fox
Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals September 19, 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers September 19, 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks September 19, 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers September 19, 4:25 p.m. ET CBS
Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens September 19, 8:20 p.m. ET NBC, Peacock Premium
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers September 20, 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN, ESPN2

How to watch NFL games without cable

You can access select NFL games without a cable subscription via streaming services like Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, FuboTV, YouTube TV, Paramount Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Peacock Premium, and NFL Sunday Ticket. You can also watch local NFL games with an HDTV antenna.

The 2021 NFL regular season began on September 9. During the regular season, Sunday afternoon games with an NFC home team will typically air on Fox, and Sunday afternoon games with an AFC home team will typically air on CBS.

Meanwhile, Sunday Night Football airs on NBC, and Thursday Night Football will broadcast on NFL Network all season long. Select Thursday Night Football games will also be shown on Fox and streamed via Amazon Prime and Twitch. Finally, Monday Night Football is on ESPN.

Additionally, you can stream all your local in-market games on your mobile device for free using the Yahoo Sports app or the NFL app.

Here’s a full roundup of all the services you can use to stream NFL games without cable.

HDTV Antenna

one by one antenna

You can purchase an antenna, like this 1 By One model, to add to your TV for about $24, giving you access to local channels within a certain distance. 

What you get:

Hooking up an HD antenna to your TV gives you access to local over-the-air (OTA) signals in your location. This means that you will be able to access the local affiliates of major broadcast networks, like Fox, CBS, and NBC.

This lets you watch all the regional games broadcast from wherever you’re located. You also get the Sunday Night Football matchup that airs on NBC. Because it’s only a one-time payment, this is a great option if you’re solely interested in watching the team in your area. However, you will not get access to any out-of-market games or games that air on ESPN or the NFL Network.


Sling TV

How Much is Sling TV 4x3

If you’re looking for a live TV streaming service to watch football, Sling TV is a great budget option that gives you most of the channels you need at a cheaper price than Hulu or FuboTV.

There are three different plans, depending on what channels you prioritize. Sling Orange and Sling Blue each cost $35 a month, while the combined Sling Orange + Blue plan costs $50 per month. Additionally, you can purchase the Sports Extra package to add NFL RedZone to your plan for $11 per month.

What you get:

Sling Orange has ESPN, while Sling Blue has Fox and NBC in select markets as well as the NFL network. CBS is not currently offered by Sling. While there is a Sports Extra package, it does not include any channels that air live NFL games. 

Your best bet to get access to the most NFL games via Sling is to sign up for the Sling Orange + Blue plan and cash in on Sling’s current promotional offer of a free antenna for local channels. The free antenna requires that you prepay for two months of the Sling service. Plus, if you want RedZone you can add the Sports Extra package to the Orange + Blue Plan for a total of $61 a month.

If you don’t want it all, you can just sign up for Sling Blue to gain access to Sunday afternoon games on Fox and Sunday Night Football games on NBC, or just Sling Orange to gain access to Monday Night games on ESPN, in addition to the local offerings included with the antenna. As with all streaming services, game availability is subject to blackouts.

With Sling’s channel listings, add-ons, and the fact that they provide a free antenna, you can gain access to all local channels, the NFL Network, ESPN, and NFL RedZone, making it one of the most cost-effective ways to watch the NFL without cable. 

TV (small)
Hulu with Live TV

Hulu Basic vs Hulu Premium 4x3

In addition to all of its other offerings, Hulu + Live TV has nearly everything you need to stream NFL games for $65 per month. However, like Sling TV, there’s no option to add the NFL Network or NFL RedZone as a channel, which could be a deal-breaker if you’re hoping to watch and monitor action across the league.

What you get: 

Like an HD antenna, Hulu + Live TV gets you access to all the local affiliates of the major broadcasts, meaning Fox, CBS, and NBC. These will show the games that are within your regional broadcast map with the exception of any blackouts. In addition, you also get ESPN, which gives you access to all Monday Night Football games, and some of the best NFL coverage and analysis on TV. 

While you don’t get access to watch out-of-network games from across the country like you do with NFL RedZone or NFL Sunday Ticket, this is a comprehensive way to tune into most locally and nationally televised games. Hulu does not offer a way to watch the first three regular Thursday Night Football games, however, since those will be aired on NFL Network. 


FuboTV

FuboTV

At $65 a month for the Starter Plan, FuboTV is one of the most comprehensive yet expensive live streaming options for NFL football. You can also spend an extra $11 per month to add the Sports Plus with NFL RedZone package.

What you get:

In terms of NFL games, the Starter Plan includes access to local CBS, NBC, and Fox stations (regional availability and blackout restrictions apply). FuboTV’s Starter Plan also grants you access to ESPN to watch Monday Night Football, and NFL Network to stream Thursday Night Football all season long. 


YouTube TV

YouTubeTV NFL Network

With a base price of $65 a month, YouTube TV is another service that offers access to most NFL games. Additionally, the service announced an agreement with the NFL to offer NFL Redzone as an add-on included in their Sports Plus package for an additional $11 a month. 

What you get:

Like other services at this price range, YouTube TV offers access to all the local channels you need to watch NFL games, including CBS, Fox, and NBC. YouTube TV also offers ESPN and NFL Network in their base package, so you’ll be able to watch all Monday Night Football and Thursday Night Football games. And with the news of the new Sports Plus package, you can also watch NFL Redzone for an additional $11 per month.


NFL Sunday Ticket

NFL logo

NFL Sunday Ticket used to only be available with a cable subscription, but NFL fans in non-DirecTV markets anywhere in the country can now gain access to every Sunday afternoon game.

There are two separate plans available: The NFL Sunday Ticket To Go plan costs $73.49 per month for four months, which is $293.96 total. There is also the NFL Sunday Ticket Max plan for $99 per month for four months, adding up to $396 total.

What you get:

Both plans give you access to all out-of-market Sunday afternoon games. This means that you do not get access to Thursday, Sunday, or Monday night games. You also won’t be able to stream locally televised games with only an NFL Sunday Ticket subscription. However, this is the only way for people hoping to watch full live games of their favorite teams out of market. A fun feature included in both plans is that you can watch four games at once on your screen.

In addition to the normal features, NFL Sunday Ticket Max adds in NFL RedZone and the DirecTV Fantasy Zone, which is a new channel solely dedicated watching games through the lens of fantasy football. 


Paramount Plus

CBS All Access NFL

If you’re just interested in watching locally televised AFC home games, then a Paramount Plus subscription could be all you need. The service lets you stream live CBS television, as well as a growing library of on-demand shows and exclusive titles. Paramount Plus is available for $5 a month with commercials or $10 a month with ad-free streaming. With that said, all live broadcasts, including NFL games, still feature commercials with the ad-free plan.

What you get:

Paramount Plus offers live streaming for every NFL game that airs on the regular CBS channel in your local market. However, since Paramount Plus only offers CBS content you won’t be able to watch any games that air on other networks or any out of market matches. You can see a full schedule of NFL games set to air on CBS here.

Essential Monthly Plan (ad-supported) (small)Premium Monthly Plan (ad-free) (small)
Peacock Premium

Peacock Sports

Peacock won’t be streaming any exclusive games during the 2021 season, but Premium subscribers can stream all the NFL games being broadcast on NBC.

What you get:

For $5 a month, Peacock Premium will give you streaming access to NBC’s Sunday Night Football games, as well as Super Bowl LVI, the Thanksgiving game between the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints, and the 2021 kick-off game between the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The NFL’s flex scheduling gives NBC the option to change the Sunday Night Football game of the week, which typically guarantees that the primetime game will be one of the week’s best matchups.

Premium (Monthly Plan) (small)
Amazon Prime Video

Amazon NFL football

Though yon won’t get local channels, NFL Network, or in-depth analysis, Amazon Prime Video members can watch select Thursday Night Football games with their subscription for no additional cost. A standalone Amazon Prime Video membership costs $9 a month, and the service is included as part of an Amazon Prime subscription for $119 per year or $13 a month.

What you get:

Amazon Prime Video will stream 11 Thursday Night Football games starting week five of the season. These game will also be broadcast on NFL Network and Fox. Since Amazon won’t be streaming any additional games, Prime Video on its own is really only suitable for casual football fans who just want to stream a few games this season. 

Prime Video Monthly Subscription (small)Prime Monthly Subscription (small)
Yahoo Sports app and NFL app

Yahoo Sports app NFL

If you’re only interested in watching in-market games without cable or an antenna, then you can stream live local and primetime games on a mobile device using the Yahoo Sports or NFL app. Both options are free and each app is available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. 

What you get:

These apps provide live streaming for regular season local and primetime games, playoffs, and the Super Bowl. With that said, you can only watch the games on a mobile device. You’ll also need to ensure that your location services are activated on your phone or tablet.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Apple AirPods deals you can get now, including $70 off the AirPods Pro

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

the best apple airpod deals available now including the airpods, airpods pro, and airpods max
  • Apple’s AirPod lineup makes listening to audio on iPhones easy.
  • AirPods and AirPods Pro are frequently on sale, but some discounts are better than others.
  • Right now, you can get the AirPods Pro for $70 off their full retail price.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Apple’s AirPods are popular for a reason: they’re among the most convenient and best options for wireless earbuds. They automatically pair with your Apple devices the moment you open the case nearby, and you can use your Apple devices to help you pinpoint a misplaced AirPod.

Apple products, like AirPods, go on sale regularly. In fact, you can find them for less than what you’d pay at Apple nearly every week. During Apple’s back-to-school promotion, you can get a free pair of AirPods with a Mac or iPad purchase.

Below, we’ve highlighted the best AirPod deals available in September 2021, including $70 off the AirPods Pro. If you know which model you’re looking for, you can skip ahead by clicking its name in the table of contents to the left.

You can also check out the best iPhone deals and the best iPad deals for more Apple savings.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Comparing AirPods models

AirPods AirPods Pro AirPods Max
Our review Best on a budget Best overall Best for audiophiles
Typical price $120-$160 $200 $500
Features Quick pairing, “Hey Siri,” automatic switching, charging case Same as AirPods, plus active noise cancellation, spatial audio, water resistance, and multiple ear tips Same as AirPods Pro, plus over-ear design, better active noise cancellation, improved audio with adaptive EQ, digital crown for media playback

The best AirPods deals happening now

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)AirPods with Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Airpods Max (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

AirPods with regular charging case deals

airpods pro wireless charging
It’s easy to check what version your AirPods are running.

AirPods with Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The standard AirPods with Charging Case are the cheapest AirPods you can buy. The included charging case charges via a Lightning cable, the same cable you use to charge your iPhone.

The AirPods have a five-hour battery life, and the case stores 24 hours of battery charge. A quick 15-minute charge in the case gives them an extra three hours of listening time. They are not sweat- or water-resistant – you’ll have to check out the AirPods Pro below if that’s important to you. You can read our full AirPods review here.

Contrary to what MSRP would like you to think, AirPods typically only sell for $120 across online retailers – a good $40 less than listed. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday we saw them fall as low as $99, but that kind of promotion is rare.

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case deals

airpods next to iphone

AirPods with Wireless Charging Case (medium, Preferred: Target)

The AirPods with Wireless Charging Case are identical to the 2nd-gen AirPods with Charging Case, except the case can be charged wirelessly as well as via a Lightning cable. That means you can power the case on a wireless charging pad that uses the Qi wireless charging standard. You can read our full AirPods with Wireless Charging Case review here.

Though they’re listed for more, the typical price for the Wireless Charging Case AirPods is $160 across online retailers. During Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we saw them fall as low as $140; it’s unlikely they’ll drop that low again outside of short-lived discounts from one or two retailers.

AirPods Pro deals

Airpods BF

AirPods Pro (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The AirPods Pro are Apple’s flagship AirPods, and they’re also our pick for the best wireless earbuds for Apple fans. They have a shorter stem than the original AirPods, and they have an in-ear design with tips for three different sizes. If you’ve ever had difficulty keeping Apple’s earbuds in your ear, these are the solution. The wireless charging case is also wider than the standard charging cases.

Despite their smaller size, they come with active noise cancellation, and they sound a little better than the regular AirPods. Battery life with noise cancellation enabled isn’t as long as the regular AirPods, but it’s still pretty good (4.5 hours versus 5 hours). The wireless charging case holds a 24-hour total charge.

The AirPods Pro are also sweat- and water-resistant, whereas the regular AirPods are not. You can read our full AirPods Pro review here.

A pair is listed for $249, but the typical price hovers around $200 across online retailers like Walmart and Costco. We’ve seen them drop lower during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but if you need a pair now, don’t settle for paying any more than $200.

AirPods Max deals

AirPods Max being worn

Airpods Max (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

If you’re an Apple aficionado looking for the best audio you can find, the AirPods Max are for you. Audio from the AirPods Max is crisp, clear, and open; their noise-cancellation is powerful. They’re surely pricier than other headphones with similar performance from Sony and Bose, but the AirPods Max are a huge listening upgrade from the AirPods and AirPods Pro. You can read our full review of the AirPods Max here.

Since release, the typical price for a pair has dropped to $500, with some colors as low as $490.

Tips for finding the best AirPods deals

Apple products, despite their reputation for never going on sale, see discounts frequently. Unlike most other electronics, AirPods see discounts year-round and, in some rare cases, see better discounts than we see during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

To make sure you get the best price on Apple AirPods, don’t shop at Apple. Best Buy, Target, and Walmart frequently mark down Apple’s headphones.

Where to find Apple AirPods

AirPods are available in most retailers that sell tech, in addition to the Apple Store. You can find them at Best Buy, Target, Costco, Walmart, and anywhere else you’d see electronics.

Apple’s year-round education pricing includes discounts on Macs and iPad. During its back-to-school promotion, you can get a free pair of AirPods with a Mac or iPad purchase.

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 19 best online writing classes led by famous authors, including Malcolm Gladwell, Neil Gaiman, and Judy Blume

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Best online writing classes taught by bestselling authors and writers 4x3
Some of the best online writing classes include MasterClass courses with authors Salman Rushdie, Roxane Gay, Amy Tan, and Malcolm Gladwell.

  • Strong communication and writing skills will help you succeed in any profession.
  • Online classes are an affordable way to learn writing tips and receive feedback on your work.
  • All the classes on this list are taught by award-winning writers with decades of experience.

Good writing skills can take you far (just take it from a business major who wormed her way into an editorial career). Strong written communication skills can help you land a job or move up in your career, but good writing doesn’t come easily or instinctively to everyone. As with any skill, you won’t get any better at writing simply by reading books or watching videos about it.

Online classes from e-learning platforms like MasterClass and Skillshare are affordable, flexible ways to not only learn the proper strategies but also practice and receive feedback on your writing. And who better to learn from than actual published authors, writers, and editors?

All-Access Pass (small)

The following classes are all taught by accomplished, award-winning writers who have decades of experience in communicating ideas, telling stories, and captivating audiences. Some specialize in fiction, while others employ storytelling tricks to make even the driest facts shine.

If you see the word “creative” in the title, don’t immediately dismiss the class. All the courses have valuable lessons to learn for making your writing more effective, whether you’re in a creative industry or not.

19 writing classes taught by experienced authors, writers, and editors:

Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass on the Art of Storytelling

Neil Gaiman sitting in front of a large bookshelf

The teacher: Award-winning writer Neil Gaiman (“The Sandman,” “Coraline,” “American Gods“) has dabbled in everything from novels and comic books to film and audio theatre.

The course: Gaiman covers the fundamentals of storytelling, from finding your voice to fleshing out your characters.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Teaches the Art of Storytelling (button)
Joyce Carol Oats’ MasterClass on the Art of the Short Story

Joyce Carol Oates in a library talking to a screen

The teacher: Joyce Carol Oates is the author of over 58 novels (“We Were the Mulvaneys,” “Blonde,” “The Accursed“), as well as countless short stories, essays, and articles. She is also a former professor of creative writing at Princeton University.

The course: Oates’ class helps students finetune their storytelling instincts for short story writing, from learning how to observe the world around them to nailing down structure and form.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Teaches the Art of the Short Story (button)
Judy Blume’s MasterClass on Writing

Judy Blume smiling in a maroon jacket

The teacher: Judy Blume’s beloved children’s books (“Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” “Superfudge“) have sold millions of copies, and Blume has written over 25 novels. She’s also the recipient of the 2004 National Book Foundation medal for distinguished contribution to American letters, as well as numerous other awards.

The course: With a focus on writing for young readers, Blume’s course dives into developing ideas, creating plot structure, and even pitching book ideas to editors, and even dealing with issues like rejection or censorship.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Teaches Writing (button)
N.K. Jemisin’s MasterClass on Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing

NK Jemisin sitting, wearing a maroon sweater and green scarf

The teacher: NK Jemisin, a Hugo Award winner for three consecutive years for her “Broken Earth” trilogy, is an an acclaimed science fiction and fantasy author.

The course: Jemisin’s course, geared towards sci-fi/fantasy writing, teaches students how to build a believable world from scratch (including macro and micro details), create characters that truly feel relatable even in fantastical settings, and find a literary agent.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

N.K. Jemisin Teaches Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing (button)
Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style

creative nonfiction

The teacher: Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992 and is the author of eight books, including New York Times bestseller “Rin Tin Tin” and “The Orchid Thief,” which was later adapted into Spike Jonze’s “Adaptation,” (in which Meryl Streep portrayed Orlean).

The course: The best nonfiction makes facts compelling and interesting to read, but it’s not easy to do this. This course takes students through Susan Orlean’s writing process, from finding a topic to making final edits, and helps them polish their own creative processes. The class project is a 1,000-word profile on someone you find mysterious. 

The price: Free with 14-day Skillshare trial; $8.25 per month or $19 per month after trial ends.

Creative Nonfiction: Write Truth with Style (button)
Malcolm Gladwell’s MasterClass on Writing

Malcolm Gladwell

The teacher: Malcolm Gladwell has written for “The New Yorker” since 1996. His fascinating books, which include “The Tipping Point,” “Blink,” and “Outliers” reveal the most unexpected insights into our world. “The Tipping Point” was named as one of the best books of the decade by Amazon customers, The A.V. Club, and The Guardian, and was Barnes & Noble’s 5th bestselling nonfiction book of the decade. 

The course: In 24 lessons, you’ll learn how to find, research, and write stories that capture big ideas. This is Gladwell’s first-ever online class, where he analyzes his own works to reveal his unique creative process. He also answers select student questions during virtual office hours. 

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Malcolm Gladwell Teaches Writing (button)
Roxane Gay’s MasterClass on Writing for Social Change and Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact

Classes taught by celebrities Roxane Gay

The teacher: On top of writing bestselling memoirs like “Bad Feminist” and “Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body,” Roxane Gay is a professor and New York Times columnist, making her as experienced an author as she is an educator.

The course: If you want to see change in the world, strong storytelling skills can help you get there. Gay’s MasterClass teaches you how to tap into your identity, figure out your voice, and write about emotionally hard subjects with care, so that you can get people on board with the broader visions you have for improving the world.

Roxane Gay also teaches a short Skillshare class on crafting impactful personal essays from start to finish. You can read a review of it here.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.
Free with 14-day Skillshare trial; $8.25 per month or $19 per month after trial ends.

Roxane Gay teaches Writing for Social Change (button)Creative Writing: Crafting Personal Essays with Impact (button)
Daniel José Older’s Storytelling 101: Character, Conflict, Context, Craft

storytelling

The teacher: Daniel José Older is the bestselling author of the “Bone Street Rumba” urban fantasy series and the YA novel “Shadowshaper.” “Shadowshaper” was a “New York Times” Notable Book of 2015 and named one of Esquire’s “80 Books Every Person Should Read.” Older’s short stories and essays have appeared in the Guardian, NPR, and a number of other sites. 

The course: This short 40-minute class breaks down the fundamentals of narrative storytelling and what makes a story different from a mere anecdote. Learn the “4 C’s” of storytelling and see them in action in one of the teacher’s own short stories. The fun final project is to write a short story about something that happened on a single block in your hometown over the course of one hour.

The price: Free with 14-day Skillshare trial; $8.25 per month or $19 per month after trial ends

Storytelling 101 (button)
Steven Heller’s The Designer’s Guide to Writing and Research

Steven Heller

The teacher: Steven Heller writes the Visuals column for the “New York Times Book Review” and is the editor of the AIGA Journal of Graphic Design. A former “New York Times” art director, he is the author, co-author, or editor of over 170 books on design and popular culture, and also regularly contributes to design publications. 

The course: Geared towards designers, this course illuminates the parallels between writing and design. You’ll learn about the professional importance of research and writing to designers today, best practices for developing your voice, and creative ways to communicate. The final project is a 500-word essay on an object in your wallet, bag, or pocket. 

The price: Free with 14-day Skillshare trial; $8.25 per month or $19 per month after trial ends

The Designer’s Guide to Writing and Research (button)
David Sedaris’s MasterClass on Storytelling and Humor

David Sedaris’s MasterClass on Storytelling and Humor

The teacher: If you want to inject your writing with a dash of comedy, David Sedaris — “The New Yorker” essayist and author of “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” “Calypso,” and “The Best of Me” — is one of the best people to teach you how to do it.

The course: Beyond covering tips and tricks for writing eye-grabbing openings and endings with huge payoffs, Sedaris also gives his advice on finding humor in the darkest moments of our lives.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

David Sedaris teaches Humor and Storytelling (button)
Amy Tan’s MasterClass on Fiction, Memory, and Imagination

Amy Tan Masterclass

The teacher: Most known for her bestselling novel “The Joy Luck Club” (which spent 40 weeks on the “New York Times” bestseller list), Amy Tan is an inspiration to anyone who’s started exploring their writing voice later in life — she started at age 33 and published her famed debut novel a mere few years later. Tan went on to write many other books, including “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” and “The Kitchen God’s Wife: A Novel.”

The course: With a focus on utilizing your most powerful memories, this course teaches you how to find your voice as well as sharpen your story with compelling beginnings and endings.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Amy Tan Teaches Fiction, Memory, and Imagination (button)
Shani Raja’s Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer

Shani Raja

The teacher: Shani Raja is a former Wall Street Journal editor who has written for The Economist, Financial Times, and Bloomberg News. He has also taught advanced writing skills to professionals and edited for leading global companies like Microsoft, IBM, and PwC.

The course: Another bestseller from Shani Raja, this course promises to “dramatically improve the quality of your writing in as little as days or weeks” through a few key principles. Both new students and experienced writers have benefitted from the course, which teaches you how to sharpen your words and command the reader’s attention.

Raja also has a Udemy course on the four levels of writing mastery.

The price: Both of Raja’s Udemy courses are $109.99 each.

Writing With Flair: How To Become An Exceptional Writer here. (button)Ninja Writing: The Four Levels Of Writing Mastery (button)
Margaret Atwood’s MasterClass on Creative Writing

Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing

The teacher: Of “The Handmaid’s Tale” fame, Margaret Atwood has been titled the “Prophet of Dystopia” for works such as “Oryx and Crake” and the “Handmaid’s Tale” sequel, “The Testaments: A Novel.”

The course: Atwood’s MasterClass “covers the general points of interest for writers — how to get started, handle the middle of a story, develop characters, craft dialogue, and address writers’ block — as well as more specific queries, like research and maintaining historical accuracy,” according to Insider senior reporter Mara Leighton. You can read her full review of the course here.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Margaret Atwood Teaches Creative Writing (button)
Simon Van Booy’s The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit

Simon Van Booy

The teacher: Simon Van Booy’s short story collection “Love Begins in Winter” won the 2009 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. He has written two other short story collections as well as three anthologies of philosophy, and his work has been translated into over a dozen languages throughout the world. In 2013, he founded Writers for Children, a project that helps young people build confidence in their storytelling abilities through annual awards.

The course: Writing should be approachable and fun, not torturous. By optimizing your space for your writing style, creating a daily writing routine, and acting on inspiration, you can build a long-term writing process to rely on for years to come. This short video course teaches you how.

The price: Free with 14-day Skillshare trial; $8.25 per month or $19 per month after trial ends

The Writer’s Toolkit: 6 Steps to a Successful Writing Habit here. (button)
Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s Finding Your Writing Voice: How to Express Your Unique Self in Your Work

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

The teacher: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is a former Entertainment Weekly writer and current TV columnist for BBC Culture who has also written for The New York Times Book Review, Fast Company, New York’s Vulture, and The Verge. She wrote the New York Times bestseller “Seinfeldia: The Secret World of the Show About Nothing that Changed Everything.”

The course: You don’t have to lose your unique personality when you write; in fact, it’s what will make your writing stand out in the crowd. Using pop culture icons like Beyoncé and Britney Spears, the class discusses different voices and explores ways to take chances with your writing. 

The price: Free with 14-day Skillshare trial; $8.25 per month or $19 per month after trial ends.

Finding Your Writing Voice: How to Express Your Unique Self in Your Work (button)
Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass on Storytelling and Writing

Salman Rushdie’s MasterClass on Storytelling and Writing

The teacher: Winner of the Man Booker Prize, Salman Rushdie is known for his mystical world-building and genre-bending plotlines as seen in books like “Quichotte,” “Midnight’s Children,” and “Shame.”

The course: Rushdie provides tips on creating fleshed-out characters, believable surrealist worlds, and an air-tight plot. This is a great course for those who have lots of fantastical ideas but struggle to ground them into a cohesive story.

The price: $180 ($15 per month) for an annual MasterClass membership.

Salman Rushdie Teaches Storytelling and Writing (button)
Clare Lynch’s Writing With Confidence: Writing Beginner To Writing Pro

Dr. Clare Lynch

The teacher: Dr. Clare Lynch is a former Financial Times journalist who teaches academic writing and professional communication at the University of Cambridge. She has written for organizations like Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, and UBS and is the author of the business-writing blog Good Copy, Bad Copy

The course: Learn powerful principles that can be applied to all types of writing, including emails, speeches, news writeups, and even presentations. The course takes you through fundamentals from techniques to beat writer’s block to lessons on getting readers hooked and creating a clear, persuasive angle. 

The price: $109.99.

Writing With Confidence: Writing Beginner To Writing Pro (button)
Joyce Maynard’s Writing Your Story

Joyce Maynard's Writing Your Story

The teacher: The author of 17 books (including novels and memoirs), Joyce Maynard has worked as a “New York Times” reporter and a contributor to outlets like NPR and “Vogue.” Her books include “Labor Day,” “The Good Daughters,” and “Under the Influence.”

The course: Focusing on memoir writing, Maynard explains the difference between simply retelling events that happened to you and exploring your journey as a protagonist. She also covers some of the biggest questions that come up when writing about yourself, from what to cut to dealing with fears of judgment so that you can present a narrative that’s authentic to readers.

The price: $89 for the course, or $11 per month for a CreativeLive membership.

Joyce Maynard’s Writing Your Story (button)
Wesleyan University’s Creative Writing Specialization

wesleyan university

The teachers: Salvatore Scibona was named one of “The New Yorker’s” “20 under 40: Fiction Writers to Watch” and is the author of 2008 National Book Award finalist “The End,” the research for which he conducted while on a Fulbright Fellowship. 

Amy Bloom, author of two “New York Times” bestsellers and three collections of short stories, has written for “The New Yorker,” “The New York Times Magazine,” and “Vogue,” among many other publications, and has won a National Magazine Award for Fiction. Her work has been translated into fifteen languages.

Brando Skyhorse is an Associate Professor of English at Indiana University in Bloomington who won the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2011 Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction for his debut novel “The Madonnas of Echo Park.” 

Amity Gaige is the author of three novels, “O My Darling,” “Sea Wife,” and “Schroder,” which was shortlisted for The Folio Prize in 2014. To date, “Schroder” has been published in eighteen countries.

The course: This specialization created by Wesleyan University consists of four courses (each taught by a teacher listed above) and covers elements of three major creative writing genres: short story, narrative essay, and memoir. It culminates in a challenging capstone project in which you’ll draft, rewrite, and complete a substantial original story in the genre of your choosing. 

The price: Free with 7-day Coursera trial; $49 per month to keep learning after trial ends.

Creative Writing Specialization (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 22 best Agatha Christie books, according to Goodreads members

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Diagonal Pattern of popular Agatha Christie Books; including And Then There Were None and  Murder on the Orient Express
According to Goodreads reviews, some of Agatha Christie’s best books include “And Then There Were None,” “Murder on the Orient Express,” and “The Mysterious Affair at Styles.”

Agatha Christie is one of the best-selling authors of all time, holding the Guinness World Record for best-selling fiction writer with over 2 billion copies of her books sold. Her murder mysteries have become a staple in crime fiction as she keeps readers guessing, story after story. Across 66 novels and 14 short story collections, Agatha Christie introduced readers to countless characters including the notorious Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and the duo Tommy and Tuppence.

To rank Agatha Christie’s greatest works, we turned to ratings from Goodreads members. Goodreads is the world’s largest book reviewing platform where over 125 million members can rate and review their favorite books. Whether you’re searching for your first Agatha Christie novel or a gripping new murder mystery, here are some of the best Agatha Christie books, according to Goodreads members.

The 22 best Agatha Christie novels, according to Goodreads members:

And Then There Were None

and then there were none

“And Then There Were None” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99

With nearly one million ratings on Goodreads, “And Then There Were None” is a classic murder mystery and the most popular Agatha Christie novel amongst Goodreads reviewers. When 10 strangers gather at a mansion, they discover they’re systematically being murdered as described in an eerie poem framed in every room of the home. The guests must figure out who is behind the murders before everyone is killed. 

Murder on the Orient Express

murder on the orient express

“Murder on the Orient Express” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27

In this murder mystery that ends with a satisfying plot twist, a snowdrift stops a very full train called the Orient Express just after midnight. By morning, an American man is found stabbed to death in his compartment, locked from the inside: A mystery only Hercule Poirot can solve.

The Mysterious Affair at Styles

the mysterious affair at styles

“The Mysterious Affair at Styles” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99

Agatha Christie wrote her first novel, “The Mysterious Affair at Styles,” while working as a nurse during World War I. This book introduces readers to Hercule Poirot, a Belgian detective and World War I refugee, who begins to investigate when his benefactor is mysteriously poisoned — and it seems nearly everyone is a suspect. 

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

the murder of roger ackroyd

“The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.99

One of the most controversial of Agatha Christie’s novels for its wild plot twist and non-traditional mystery style, “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” is also one of the most gripping Christie novels. When an English widow and her fiance are both killed within 24 hours, Poirot must unravel the tangled mystery in this clever and thrilling tale. 

Death on the Nile

death on the nile

“Death on the Nile” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.99

On a Nile cruise for her honeymoon, the young and wealthy Linnet Ridgeway approaches Hercule Poirot and asks him to keep her former friend from following her, resentful after she married her friend’s fiancé. When Linnet is found dead, Poirot finds that the former friend is far from Linnet’s only enemy. 

Murder at the Vicarage

murder at the vicarage

“Murder at the Vicarage” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.69

This is the first Agatha Christie novel to feature Miss Marple, an elderly woman who acts as an amateur detective consultant and previously only appeared in Christie’s short stories. When a widely disliked Colonel is found dead, there is no shortage of suspects through which Miss Marple must sort. 

The ABC Murders

the abc murders

“The ABC Murders” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99

In this mystery, a killer is systematically making their way through the alphabet, first targeting Alice Asher in Andover, then Better Bernard in Bexhill. Hercule Poirot must follow the ABC Railway Guide — the murderer’s calling card — to get one step ahead of them before someone else is killed. 

The Man in the Brown Suit

the man in the brown suit

 “The Man in the Brown Suit” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.95

Full of thrills and espionage, “The Man in the Brown Suit” is about a young girl named Anne who witnesses a man die after falling onto the subway tracks. She discovers a mysterious note in his pocket with an address — and when a woman is found dead there the next day, Anne decides she must investigate. This is also the first Agatha Christie novel to feature former spy and ex-Army Colonel Johnnie Race, who works alongside Hercule Poirot in later novels. 

The Body in the Library

the body in the library

“The Body in the Library” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49

In this mystery where nothing is as it seems, a family wakes one morning to find a strange woman in an evening dress dead in their library. With a possible connection to another body found nearby, Miss Marple is called to investigate and piece together this strange and deadly puzzle. 

The Murder on the Links

murder on the links

“The Murder on the Links” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9

When Hercule Poirot and his assistant, Captain Arthur Hastings, receive a letter that a wealthy man fears his life is in danger, they rush to Paris to find he’s already been killed by a letter opener and left in a grave next to a golf course. With building suspense and layers of complex clues, this murder mystery is an exciting Agatha Christie favorite. 

Evil Under the Sun

evil under the sun

“Evil Under the Sun” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49

While trying to enjoy a peaceful holiday, Hercule Poirot finds himself in the middle of another murder investigation as a young woman is found strangled to death on a beach. This Agatha Christie novel is full of red herrings as Poirot untangles a motive and tracks down a killer.

A Murder Is Announced

a murder is announced

“A Murder Is Announced” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.16

Miss Marple is staying in a small village when an advertisement in the local paper announces a murder will take place and includes a date, time, and location. While the community is unsure whether the advertisement is a practical joke or scare tactic, Miss Marple is unable to resist and goes to the location to see the lights go out just before someone is murdered. 

Crooked House

crooked house

“Crooked House” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.41

“Crooked House” is a standalone Agatha Christie novel, a rare gem that doesn’t feature any of her beloved recurring characters yet entices readers all the same. In this mystery, a young widow is a prime suspect when her wealthy husband, 50 years her senior, is found poisoned. Despite the rumors spreading through the community, criminologist Charles Hayward has far more suspects than just the widow. 

4:50 from Paddington

4:50 from paddington

“4:50 from Paddington” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.49

When Elspeth McGillicuddy witnesses a murder on a passing train, it seems no one believes her unlikely story. She turns to the beloved Miss Marple, who is eager to investigate and uses her resourcefulness and keen eye to find the murderer. 

Five Little Pigs

five little pigs

“Five Little Pigs” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49

In this crime fiction novel, Mrs. Crale sends a letter posthumously to her daughter, insisting upon her innocence despite the overwhelming evidence that she’d poisoned her husband 16 years earlier. When the letter offers more questions than answers, Crale’s daughter turns to Hercule Poirot to reopen the case and find out who may have really killed her father. 

Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

hercule poirot's christmas

“Hercule Poirot’s Christmas” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.29

Returning for a suspenseful Christmas mystery, Hercule Poirot is called when a family reunion turns deadly after the patriarch announces a change in the will, punctuated by insults towards each of his sons. Everyone is a suspect In this tense holiday whodunnit mystery, and Hercule Poirot is the only detective who can figure out the murderer. 

Poirot Investigates

poirot investigates

“Poirot Investigates” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $3.95

“Poirot Investigates” is a collection of detective short stories featuring Hercule Poirot solving a series of exciting cases. Loved for Agatha Christie’s entertaining writing style, these stories are creative, clever, and fun to read as Poirot solves anything from a strange and demanding letter sent to a movie star to a suicide with suspicious circumstances. 

The Secret Adversary

the secret adversary

“The Secret Adversary” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.95

“The Secret Adversary” is the first Tommy and Tuppence mystery from Agatha Christie featuring a young couple who decide to start a business called “Young Adventurers Ltd” to make money. When their first assignment calls for them to play detective, they must unravel the mystery of a young woman who has been missing for five years. 

Peril at End House

peril at end house

“Peril at End House” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.89

While on vacation in Cornwall, Hercule Poirot and his assistant, Arthur Hastings, meet a young woman named Nick who has recently narrowly escaped a series of suspicious life-threatening accidents. Convinced that someone is trying to kill Nick, Poirot launches a full investigation into the accidents and the secrets behind Nick’s dark home. 

Cards on the Table

cards on the table

“Cards on the Table” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.69

When a boiserious but unpopular man named Mr. Shaitana invites eight guests over to play bridge — four sleuths and four previously suspected of murder — he is murdered in plain sight. The four detectives, including Hercule Poirot, each investigate one of the other guests in this suspenseful murder mystery full of plot twists. 

Appointment with Death

appointment with death

“Appointment with Death” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.14

One of the most despicable characters in Agatha Christie’s work is Mrs. Boynton, a mother who abuses her children and is mysteriously murdered with only a tiny puncture wound as a sign she’d been killed by injection. With only 24 hours to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot unravels Mrs. Boynton’s relationships to investigate her murder. 

Murder in Mesopotamia

murder in mesopotamia

“Murder in Mesopotamia” available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49

Set on an archaeological excavation site in Iraq, “Murder in Mesopotamia” is told through the perspective of Amy Leatheren, a young nurse who becomes Hercule Poirot’s assistant when a brutal murder occurs. Intricate and thrilling, this murder mystery is a highly descriptive and vibrant classic that will keep readers stumped until the very end. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 25 best Airbnbs in Florida, from a Harry Potter-themed home in Orlando to beachfront pads in Miami

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Best Airbnbs in Florida for Spring Break

  • Florida offers a wide range of year-round vacation appeal, from white-sand beaches to lively cities.
  • Florida Airbnbs offer a convenient base that is often cheaper or more spacious than a hotel.
  • We found the best Airbnbs in Florida, from the Panhandle, down the Gulf Coast, and in the Keys.

Whether you’re looking to escape the winter chill, visit theme parks, or sunbathe on a stretch of white sand, Florida is a worthy year-round vacation destination.

Florida is also easily accessible from many American cities and an especially appealing option for East Coasters looking for some easy to reach sunshine.

While there’s plenty of gorgeous hotels in Florida to choose from, the state also has a wide range of fantastic Airbnb vacation rentals that are often cheaper, more spacious, and just as comfortable. Here are the top Florida Airbnbs to suit all tastes.

You can browse all the best Florida Airbnbs below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best Airbnbs in Florida, sorted by area and price.

Best destinations Miami Banner

Cottage with a private pool in Miami

Best Airbnbs in Miami - Cute cottage w/ pool near Brickell & Little Havana, $120
Enjoy a private pool for a fraction of the cost of a hotel room.

Book this Miami cottage on Airbnb

Located near the trendy Brickell neighborhood in Miami, this home is named “La Casita Blanca” for its all-white exteriors. It features modern decor in soothing neutral tones, but here it’s really about enjoying time outside in the stunning fenced-off yard. In addition to the lush lawn and garden wall, there’s a cute eating nook and lounge chairs for soaking up the sunshine. 

When you’re ready to cool off, dive into the kidney-shaped pool featuring dolphin mosaic tiles. However, keep in mind that while this is a guest house that’s completely separate, the yard and pool are shared with the main house nearby. 

 

Oceanview condo in Miami Beach

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida 1
Wake up to dramatic ocean views right from bed.

Book this Miami studio on Airbnb

Nothing is more pleasing than staying in an Airbnb that feels like a hotel for a lot less, and this property has all the makings of a dream beachfront stay.

The sleek, modern decor is coupled with resort-like amenities such as the pool, gym, and tennis courts, in addition to the prime beach location.

Interiors are gleamingly modern, with 180-degree ocean views of the crystal clear water, including right from the plush King-size bed. There’s also fast Wi-Fi and a smart TV with Netflix.

Contemporary studio with views in Miami

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida 3
A thoughtful Superhost takes care of every detail in this well-appointed apartment.

Book this Miami apartment on Airbnb

This apartment’s Superhost thinks of even the smallest of details, starting with a bottle of champagne upon arrival.

The apartment has a refreshingly clean, simple, and elegant feel with translucent dining chairs, a small writing desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests also have access to a pool, hot tub, and gym, as well.

Charming Coconut Grove is close and full of shops and restaurants, and if you seek the sand, the beach is just a short ride away.

Cozy home in Miami

Best Airbnbs in Florida for Spring Break
Stay within walking distance of Midtown Miami and the Design District.

Book this Miami home on Airbnb

Unlike other Miami listings, this property offers the chance to stay in a house rather than an apartment. For this listing, it’s all in the details. The bright blue “Eat” sign in the kitchen matches blue accents that appear across the home, right down to the bowls in the cabinet. Beach towels, an umbrella, and beach blankets are provided, and a travel crib is also available for parents.

The outdoor space comes with various decks, a grill, and an outdoor garden and the full-sized kitchen and washer/dryer make it a great fit for a week-long stay or longer. Conveniently, this home is also within walking distance to Midtown Miami and the Design District.

Art-filled condo in downtown Miami

Best Airbnbs in Miami - Stylish downtown condo, $364
A huge private balcony offers views of the Miami skyline and Biscayne Bay.

Book this Miami apartment on Airbnb

The downtown Miami apartment features sleek white and gray interiors and plenty of contemporary art adorning the walls.

One serious perk is the huge private balcony with views of the skyline and Biscayne Bay. King-size beds and a Roman tub set up the scene for a sumptuous stay, while a dedicated workspace in one of the bedrooms means you can also use this spot as a base for a working vacation.

A shared gym with a dry sauna, plus a pool area that includes four separate hot tubs are building amenities. Restaurants, shops, and a convenience store are also right downstairs. 

Trendy apartment near Wynwood

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida
This apartment is much like Wynwood itself: young, hip, and trendy.

Book this Miami apartment on Airbnb

If you’re looking to take advantage of Miami’s art district, consider a base in vibrant Wynwood. This listing is a short walk from the revered Wynwood Walls, which are an anchor of the local art scene, surrounded by plenty of shops and restaurants.

The home harbors the same aesthetic of Wynwood itself: young, hip, and trendy. Its four-guest capacity is perfect for small groups (despite only having one bedroom), and the apartment is part of a larger complex with a pool and gym. 

Discover more of the best Airbnbs in Miami

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Fort Lauderdale

Relaxed pad in Fort Lauderdale

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida 10
Cool colors and modern decor set this up to be a comfortable stay.

Book this Fort Lauderdale home on Airbnb

The granite kitchen, serene bathroom, and in-unit washer/dryer all make this home a great pick for a week-long stay for up to four guests. The interiors are modern with a tile backsplash in the kitchen, a long kitchen island that doubles as a bar with black stools, and unique flooring in the bedroom.

Past guests praise the shower as the highlight, with one describing it as “a dream shower with great pressure.” The fenced-in pool is shared only between three units, so it’s easy to maintain social distance and there’s also a backyard with a pool, grill, and lounge chairs.

Modern apartment near Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale

Apartment in Colee Hammock Blocks from Las Olas Boulevard Fort Lauderdale
This four-unit apartment building was designed in 1964 and is still regarded as an architectural highlight of the city.

Book this Fort Lauderdale home on Airbnb

This home serves as an elegant base for a Miami visit, situated in the upscale Colee Hammock neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. Built in the 1960s, the building was crafted around a huge oak tree in the courtyard.

Inside, you’ll find uniquely shaped rooms and minimalistic but updated decor that still has beachy flair via palm-print wallpaper in the white kitchen and a leopard rug in the living area.  A private patio adds additional hangout space, complete with a charming hammock. 

Beach house with private pool in Fort Lauderdale

North Fort Lauderdale Beach House
A fenced-in yard houses a private pool and a huge patio.

Book this Fort Lauderdale house on Airbnb

This contemporary house is located right near the beach and is especially ideal for families. It features plenty of space for spreading out with one room equipped with Twin-size beds that’s just right for kids.

The open-concept living area includes a media console and comfy couch for at-home movie nights, and the modern kitchen is great for enjoying meals at home.

Large sliding glass doors lead to a fenced-in yard with a private pool and a huge patio area with a gas grill. If you’re driving, you’ll enjoy that this home has a driveway for free and easy parking. 

Sleek luxury condo in Hollywood

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida 9
This beachfront condo comes with the use of hotel-like perks such as a pool, hot tub, gym, and tennis court.

Book this Hollywood condo on Airbnb

Enjoy all Fort Lauderdale has to offer from a quieter home base, such as this spot in Hollywood, which is only a 25-minute drive away.

With a minimalist kitchen and waterfront terrace, this condo embraces luxury with hotel-like perks such as an inviting pool, hot tub, gym, and tennis court. It’s directly on the beach, making it easy to maximize your time on the sand. Best for couples, it houses up to two guests.

The decor is stylish but inviting, with neutral furnishings accented by beachy and bright photographs. There’s also a small balcony with two chairs for enjoying those pretty views.

Discover more of the best Airbnbs in Fort Lauderdale

Orlando

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Orlando

Condo with pool near Disney Springs in Orlando

The pool complex at an Orlando Airbnb located within the Sheraton Vistana Resort.
This Airbnb is a hotel suite that comes with all the amenities of a full resort.

Book this Orlando suite on Airbnb

Enjoy the best of both worlds with this hotel room available through Airbnb. It’s a two-bedroom unit that’s actually located within the Sheraton Vistana Resort, so you’ll enjoy all the amenities of a hotel with more privacy and space than is typical.

Only one mile from Walt Disney World, this incredibly affordable vacation rental comes with a King-size master suite with a Sheraton Bed and whirlpool tub, as well as a guest bedroom with two Twin-size beds, and a living area with a sofa bed, making this a great pick for families or groups. 

There are TVs in the living room and each bedroom, a Bose sound system, and a full kitchen with a breakfast bar. While week-long stays are the minimum, a washer and dryer makes that a cinch. Other standout features include the private balcony, free Wi-Fi, and access to resort perks like tanning beds, spa services, basketball and volleyball courts, a playground, robust programming and activities, several pools, and much more.

Spacious townhouse for Disney families in Kissimmee

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida
Lean in to Disney vacation vibes with a home themed after the park itself.

Book this Kissimmee home on Airbnb

This huge, five-bedroom townhouse is only five miles from Walt Disney World. It’s well-equipped with a full-sized kitchen and themed bedrooms for the kids or kids at heart, decked out in full Disney paraphernalia. This is a home that offers a true sense of place to get you into the Disney vacation spirit. 

When you tire out from the theme parks, retreat to this cozy space or take a dip in the community’s on-site pool. However, it’s worth checking with the host if the space is currently open.

Palm Beach-style apartment in Orlando

Palm BeachStyle Apartment orlando airbnb
Pastel prints and boho accents make this home an Instagrammer’s dream.

Book this Orlando apartment on Airbnb

Get a taste of vintage Florida charm in this high-end space with bright colors everywhere you look. A light blue couch is accented by pink floral pillows, while an egg chair in the corner and turquoise stools are equally eye-catching seating options. 

This listing is especially ideal for couples looking for a quirky and fun stay. It’s located in Winter Park just outside downtown Orlando, making it great for nights out enjoying the dining and nightlife scene of the area. But if the beach is on your radar, the apartment also provides complimentary beach essentials for you to use during your stay.

Huge townhouse with a private pool in Orlando

Outstanding Townhouse orlando airbnb
Glam furniture gives this home a refined feel.

Book this Orlando townhouse on Airbnb

Large families or pods of friends will love this townhouse with five spacious bedrooms alongside sophisticated interiors like leather sofas and earth-toned accents.

It has a playful side too, with some bedrooms including Star Wars and Disney motifs that kids will surely love. Another major draw is the private pool, ideal for a lazy day at home or cooling off after a busy day at the parks.

Lake Buena Vista and all its attractions are right nearby, making this listing’s location an equally attractive reason to book. 

Harry Potter-inspired home in Kissimmee

Best Airbnbs in Florida for Spring Break
Inspired by everyone’s favorite castle, this home is covered in Hogwarts nostalgia with five themed bedrooms.

Book this Kissimmee home on Airbnb

Orlando isn’t only about Disney and Harry Potter fans, rest assured that we found the ultimate house for a future visit to Universal’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Just a 10-minute drive to the theme park, every inch of this home is covered in Hogwarts nostalgia and can accommodate up to 13 wizards or muggles with five themed bedrooms.

Inspired by everyone’s favorite castle, the over-the-top decor is truly one of a kind, and magical features include five bedrooms for the whole family, a living room with large screen TV with Netflix and Nintendo Switch, plus a dining hall, fully equipped kitchen, a swimming pool, a patio with a grill, and a laundry room. 

Discover more of the best Airbnbs in Orlando

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner The Keys

Resort-style apartment in Key Largo

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida 14
The apartment is part of a beach resort with breathtaking views, a beach, a pool, hot tub, and tennis courts.

Book this Key Largo apartment on Airbnb

The idyllic Florida Keys are known for remote scenery and relaxed vibes, and this property makes it easy to savor both. The apartment is actually part of a beach resort with breathtaking views, beach access, a great pool, and hot tub, as well as tennis courts, though you should confirm their operation with the host before booking.

Aside from the basics, the resort also offers many perks such as a poolside bar, an on-site restaurant, decks for fishing and boating, and grills. 

The apartment itself has a modern kitchen with high-end appliances and beachy details like starfish lamps, palm leaf-patterned bedding, and ocean-themed artwork.

Studio near Duval in Key West

Best Airbnbs in Key West - Central based studio one block from Duval, $147
This home is just a block away from Duval Street.

Book this Key West studio on Airbnb

This cozy apartment is small but expertly laid out with a plush Queen-size bed, a full kitchen with modern granite countertops, a separate dining area, and an oversized wardrobe for easy unpacking. It also has a small, furnished deck that’s an ideal spot for your morning coffee.

This home’s best amenity is its location. Found just a block from Duval Street, the lively main drag, you’ll be close to many of Key West’s top attractions. As an added bonus, it also comes with a free and private parking spot.

Sailing yacht in Key West

A boat on the water in Key West available on Airbnb
Climb aboard this boat (it will be docked for your stay) for a whimsical night in Key West.

Book this Key West yacht on Airbnb

For a unique stay, consider this spacious sailing yacht. The ship is more spacious than you might think with three full bedrooms that feature a Queen, Full, and Twin beds. 

The vintage Mason boat is decked out in midcentury modern furnishings with fun turquoise accents and wood trim. Enjoy a meal with a view in the cozy eating nook that features big windows. There’s a four-burner gas stove, an oven, and a refrigerator and freezer in addition to a grill for making meals onboard. 

When you’re ready to enjoy the ocean, just hop right into the water.

Discover more of the best Key West Airbnbs

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Gulf Coast

Waterfront home in Clearwater

best florida airbnbs clearwater studio
Watch boats go by from bed.

Book this Clearwater studio on Airbnb

This listing is self-described by the host as “the perfect space for a couple” and comes with a waterfront view, beach chairs, and the option to rent jet skis and paddleboards.

Time spent on land will also be positive, based on past guest reviews noting the studio’s cleanliness, coziness, and proximity to Clearwater’s shops and restaurants. The studio has a minimalist chic aesthetic with an entirely wooden wall behind the bed, a midcentury modern-style armchair, and wall sconce light fixtures that make the space pop.

Chic apartment in Tampa

Best Airbnbs for Spring Break in Florida
This well-appointed apartment is listed by a Superhost.

Book this Tampa apartment on Airbnb

Hardwood floors, a gorgeous kitchen, and minimalist lighting — you might want to live here. This apartment fit for four people is sophisticated and comes with amenities like a lovely balcony, community pool, gym, and grill.

It’s also a quick five-minute drive to downtown Tampa. If this home gets snatched up, the Superhost also lists some other beautiful properties around Tampa. 

Home with tennis and beach access in Sanibel Island

best florida gulf coast airbnbs sanibel
This home is pet-friendly and a short bike ride or walk to popular Bowman’s Beach.

Book this Sanibel Island home on Airbnb

Situated on picturesque Sanibel island, this sun-filled home makes it easy to enjoy tropical vibes. Just right for those seeking a quieter escape, the house is in a lush residential neighborhood lined with trees and comes with access to a community pool and tennis courts. It’s also a short bike ride or walk to Bowman’s Beach.

Double-height ceilings, floor-to-ceiling patio doors, and terra cotta tile give the living room a breezy feel. There’s a well-appointed kitchen and breakfast area, and a screened-in porch has an additional table and chairs for dining or entertaining.

This property is also pet-friendly for those traveling with four-legged friends.

Waterfront home on Pine Island

Waterfront home with kayaks and boats
This home has its own dock and comes with kayaks and paddleboards, and boat rentals are available.

Book this Pine Island home on Airbnb

Found on Pine Island not far from Fort Myers, this Airbnb is an ideal stay for anyone seeking a getaway surrounded by nature where they can easily hit the water. Take a ride along a bike trail that runs the full 18-mile length of the island, or hike within the numerous nearby nature preserves.  

You can also enjoy the water right outside the front door. This home is right on its own dock and comes with kayaks and paddleboards. Boat rentals are also available for fishing trips or sailing. Lucky guests might even catch dolphins swimming by.

The home itself is lovely with floor-to-ceiling windows to highlight the water views.  Two modestly-sized bedrooms come with Queen beds, and there is a pull-out sofa for any extra guests.

Quaint studio in Sarasota, $252

Overlooking the beach in Sarasota from this Airbnb in Florida.
This bungalow is part of Casey Key Resort with 200 feet of private beach as well as dockage on the Bay.

Book this Sarasota home on Airbnb

This cute and cozy Sarasota home has all the makings of a tranquil couple’s weekend. Facing the Gulf of Mexico, the waterfront studio comes with the necessary items to relax and escape, such as a deck dotted with beach chairs, chaise lounges on the water, and even complimentary housekeeping, if you want to request it.

While it does have a full kitchen, the apartment isn’t huge, so it’s best for couples or solo travelers.

Spacious waterfront home with private pool in Marco Island

Waterfront family friendly Marco Island home
Take a dip in the pool, enjoy the canal views, or grab a beach cart or bicycles to hit the sand.

Book this Marco Island home on Airbnb

Ideal for large families or big groups, there’s plenty of space to entertain and spread out here. The sprawling first floor features an open kitchen and two living areas, each with plush couches, coffee tables, and beach-chic decor, including white wicker furniture and pale blue accents. 

In the backyard, take a dip in the 23-foot heated pool or just enjoy the canal views from the large screened-in porch. When you’re ready to hit the beach, the garage is stocked with a beach cart, beach chairs, sun tent, and bicycles. 

Located on a waterway where fishing and kayaking are encouraged (in fact the house has fishing poles and kayaks and life jackets for guests to use), the house is also just a 15-minute walk to Tigertail Beach and the JW Marriott on Marco Island.

Beachy condo in Panama City Beach, $228

Best Airbnbs in Florida for Spring Break
This apartment offers front-row views of the Gulf of Florida.

Book this Panama City Beach condo on Airbnb

Panama City has long been the epicenter of spring break activity in Florida, but lately, it turned its party reputation around and become a quieter destination for families, too. In line with that, this picturesque beach condo promises to be far more peaceful than you might expect of PC.

Drink your morning coffee while gazing out at the ocean from the waterfront balcony, or grab an appropriately-spaced chair by the beach or pool. With a King-sized bed and bunk beds, it accommodates up to six guests and would be great for families or small groups. 

Discover more of the best Airbnbs on Florida’s Gulf Coast

FAQ: Florida Airbnbs

When is the best time to visit Florida?

The best time to visit Florida is from October through May. June through August is typically humid and there are high chances of a tropical storm. However, that means summer is the best time to find deals, while the winter sees prices surge. 

Where should I stay in Florida?

The best place to stay in Florida depends entirely on your vacation plans and needs. If you want to visit Disney and the other theme parks, you’ll want to be in Orlando or Kissimmee. 

Gulf Coast beach areas offer soft white-sands and turquoise waters that rival the Caribbean. Clearwater, Destin, Naples, and Marco, and Sanibel Island are all popular and beautiful areas.

Of course, if you prefer the big cities and plenty of art, culture, and nightlife, then Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Sarasota, Tampa, or West Palm Beach will be especially appealing. 

What is there to do in Florida?

Florida is best known for its beaches on both coasts. But there’s plenty to do beyond sunbathing and burying your toes in the sand (though there’s nothing wrong with just doing that!).

Of course, there are theme parks, including Disney World, Universal, Epcot, Legoland, and so many more. In Miami, you can wander through the murals of Wynwood, eat at world-class restaurants, shop at upscale boutiques, and enjoy the nightlife and lively clubs. The so-called Space Coast gets its name thanks to the Kennedy Space Center, which you can visit.

Nature lovers can explore the Everglades, float on a tube down a river in Ginnie Springs, swim with manatees, snorkel, or head out on a fishing excursion. There is also plenty to do off-shore, from chartering a fishing boat to snorkeling at an artificial reef.

How we selected the best Airbnbs in Florida

  1. Airbnb listings are for the entire home, in line with current expert safety recommendations.
  2. All homes participate in Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean program, meaning the host is committed to a rigorous cleaning protocol developed with leading health and hospitality experts.
  3. We kept affordability in mind but included a range of listings and price points, from $65 to $350 to start. Keep in mind that right now is a peak season when prices tend to rise.
  4. All listings are highly rated with a review score of 4.2 or higher.
  5. Homes are in desirable locations throughout Florida, including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, the Gulf Coast, Orlando, Panama City, the Keys, and more.
  6. Warmth is only enjoyable on your own terms – every listing has air conditioning, and many have access to a beach or pool, with necessary amenities like beach chairs or grills. 

More of the best places to stay in Florida

best hotels destin florida
Read the original article on Business Insider

18 remote vacation rentals for when you want to get away from it all

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

most remote vacation rentals in the us
  • During COVID-19, the ideal vacation is in a remote setting, away from others outside your group.
  • We found remote homes across the US on vacation rental sites such as Airbnb, TurnKey, and Vrbo.
  • These highly-rated listings are secluded and priced between $99 and $499 per night to start.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

While heading off to a remote paradise sounds incredible, it may not be on the table amid a global pandemic. After all, most travelers can’t afford to rent out a Richard Branson-style private island in the Caribbean, a la Kim Kardashian. Though if you are looking, we did manage to find more affordable hotel buyout options and the best private islands to rent on Airbnb.

Luckily, there are closer-to-home ways to take an off-the-grid safe vacation during COVID without sacrificing comfort or exceeding your budget. Many of the best vacation rentals on Airbnb, TurnKey, and Vrbo are tucked away in remote corners of the country, while still remaining affordable and reachable by car, even if the closest big city is a couple of hours away.

I’ve been writing about consumer travel for 20 years, with a specialty in covering the US, and dove into finding the best secluded vacation rentals. Just keep in mind that while remote homes often come with electricity and running water, it may be a long drive from the closest store. Be sure to check what the rental includes and arrive stocked with the supplies you’ll need.

Browse all the best remote vacation rentals below, or jump directly to a specific area here:

These are the best remote vacation rentals in the US, sorted by price from low to high.

100-year-old farmhouse in Utah

most remote vacation rentals -100 Year Farmhouse Utah
This historic farmhouse comes with an outdoor hot tub, Wi-Fi, and colorful modern furnishings.

Book this Utah farmhouse on Airbnb

Relax under the never-ending skies of Ephraim Canyon in Utah in this century-old farmhouse that sleeps up to four. It may be getting on in years but recent refurbishments mean that the decor and interiors are shipshape and colorful, and there’s also a cute yard with cornhole, horseshoes, and a picnic area. 

Modern amenities include Wi-Fi and Apple TV, plus an essential outdoor hot tub for a soak as the sun sets or rises. Families can pass the time outdoors with nearby hiking and fishing, or go sledding in the winter months. The home feels cozy and bijoux, but still comfortable, affordable, and surrounded by acres of land. 

Moose haven cabin in Colorado

Moose Haven Cabin in Walden, Colorado
This off-the-grid cabin feels a lot like camping with its wood-burning stove, outdoor shared bathroom, and nearby hiking trails.

Book this Colorado cabin on Airbnb

The rugged panorama of Rocky Mountain National Park separates this scenic village from Denver, Colorado, with guests ascending to around 9,000 feet to reach this remote property.

The cabin is a basic but a beautifully constructed A-frame that will suit anyone wanting a rural, back-to-nature vacation far from daily stresses. 

The interior is cozy and rustic, with a wood-burning stove and polished wooden floors and fittings. Maintaining the campsite ambiance, there are comfortable shared bathrooms and showers just 20 yards from the cabin. Solar power and a gas grill provide added comfort, but this home is thoroughly off the grid, so don’t plan to get online.

Nearby hiking (and snowshoeing in winter) is world-class and you’ll leave feeling renewed and invigorated. 

Homesteader desert cabin in California

Homesteader Cabin in Joshua Tree, California
Escape to this barren desert refuge that dates back to 1955.

Book this California cabin on Airbnb

Downtown Joshua Tree is just 12 minutes away by car but it’s a different world out here by this home, surrounded by five acres of undeveloped land under an endless blanket of stars. The hiking and natural delights of Joshua Tree National Park are also easy to access.

This cabin dates back to 1955 and maintains many original features, and in some places, the original paint. It’s a charmingly ramshackle homestead, but the hosts upgraded the amenities with Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and hot water. The oranges and creams of the interior reflect the desert outside, and midcentury modern furniture pieces make for a more urbane design than you might expect.

Neighbors include a thriving art community, local rabbits, tortoises, and roadrunners. 

A mountain cabin with a hot tub in North Carolina

most remote vacation rentals - Mountain Cabin with HotTub
Retreat to this mountainside getaway for a romantic getaway.

Book this North Carolina cabin on Vrbo

Straying beyond the beaten path can come with romantic rewards for couples, especially at this mountainside one-bedroom bolthole on seven acres of land.

The nearby ridges of Western North Carolina await for hiking, rafting, canyoneering, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hot air ballooning, and skiing. 

The modern cabin itself is as desirable as the pristine location, which is set against a lush farming valley. A quaint deck and wood-burning fireplace evoke a bucolic atmosphere and are complemented by modern technologies for relaxing down times. The standout, however, is the outdoor hot tub for an indulgent soak under a canopy of stars. 

A woodland cabin in Vermont

WoodlandCabin
A short hike is required to reach this charming tiny home hidden among the trees.

Book this Vermont cabin on Airbnb

The 20 acres of land surrounding this home in the foothills of Vermont’s Green Mountains are thick with vegetation and woodland charm. This purpose-built so-called tiny house delivers on its off-grid promise with a look that is seemingly out of a fantasy novel or fairy tale. Knotted wooden beams and timber combines for a magical, whimsical feel that delivers a pioneering spirit.

Amenities include a wood-fired stove and fireplace, but there is no refrigeration outside of a cooler, so plan accordingly. Solar power heat water but there is no electricity or Wi-Fi. 

Instead, come for the hiking, rock climbing, and swimming holes (and skiing in the winter), and wait to update social media with photos when you reluctantly return to real life. 

A desert adobe in New Mexico

desert adobe in New Mexico
The breathtaking desert landscape outside of this rustic adobe inspired Georgia O’Keefe’s artwork, “Perdernal.”

Book this New Mexico adobe home 

This peaceful rural adobe is set in the picturesque Cerro Perdernal desert, the same landscape famously painted by Georgia O’Keefe. Located halfway between Santa Fe and Taos, this rural home offers beautiful, unobstructed sunset and mountain views from its porches, and modern southwestern decor made up of soft neutral colors, wood-beamed ceilings, and earthen tiled floors. 

The living room connects with a fully equipped kitchen with a fireplace and a vintage gas stove. Each bedroom has simple furnishings, Queen-size beds, and sandstone floors. However, the main bedroom stands out with a large stone fireplace, access to the outdoor patio, and a full bath decked out in Talavera tiles.  

This adobe structure feels secluded but shares the property with an on-site guesthouse that may be rented together or separately. There are nearby scenic hiking trails and lakes for nature excursions as well. 

Mountain cottage in Oregon

MountainCottageOregon
From the family room’s built-in bar to the game room, there’s plenty of room to spread out at this rural cottage.

Book this Oregon cottage on TurnKey

A wonderfully rural five-acre wooded lot welcomes up to 13 guests at this five-bedroom house surrounded by picturesque lakes and mountains.  

The amenities are extensive with a game room, outdoor hot tub, TV, internet, and the chance to craft evening cocktails at the built-in bar while someone strikes up a suitably suave tune on the piano.  

Venture beyond the compound and find the scenic links of Aspen Lakes Golf Course a mile away, and the HooDoo Ski Area is 25 miles away.

Vineyard chalet in Oregon

Chardonnay Chalet at the Vineyard in Roseburg, Oregon
Enjoy a complimentary bottle of wine that welcomes you to this picturesque vineyard chalet.

Book this Oregon chalet on Airbnb

The vast expanses of the Pacific Northwest are laid out before guests at this remote chalet, some 90 miles south of Eugene. Tens of acres of wine country surround the property, with vineyards and hills transporting visitors to an idyllic setting akin to Tuscany or the South of France. 

The vines may be decades old, but the property is modern with polished wooden floors and windows that show off the picture-postcard surroundings. Oenophiles will love the location and touches such as the wine barrel vanity, and there’s also a rain shower, fast Wi-Fi, fresh eggs from the on-site chickens, and of course, a bottle of wine to welcome you.

A charming woodsy cabin in Oklahoma

remote Oklahoma cabin
Get cozy near multiple stone fireplaces throughout this lavish cabin.

Book this Oklahoma Cabin on Airbnb

Tucked within the pine trees of Eagle Mountain, this remote woodsy cabin boasts luxurious touches with midcentury modern furniture and elongated windows that frame enthralling views of the surrounding lush forest. 

The stocked kitchen has sleek black cabinets and appliances, while an indoor fireplace keeps things cozy alongside an outdoor gas fireplace and hot tub.

One bedroom with a sultry soaking tub makes this an ideal pick for a romantic getaway, though there are also twin air mattresses available should you want to book this home for a small family or group.

Cabin on a private reservoir in Montana

CabinPrivateReservoir
This backwoods log cabin is nestled along a private reservoir and comes with a kayak to use.

Book this Montana cabin on Vrbo

Equidistant between the National Parks of Helena-Lewis and Clark and River Breaks, there’s a real frontier feel to this home, which enjoys a coveted spot overlooking its own reservoir, almost four miles outside of Lewistown.

The property makes for a sweet angler’s getaway with plum fishing spots along the nearby waterways. 

The cabin itself is comprised of elaborate wooden interiors bedecked with animal hides and wood-burning amenities for a strong rural ambiance. Fire up the grill on the large deck and trade fishing tales as you cook up the catch of the day. There’s little phone coverage, and no internet, so trade being online for days out paddling with the included kayak.

A log cabin on the river in Colorado

LogCabinOnRiver
Warm up with this exquisite log cabin’s hot tub or fire pit after a day of skiing at nearby Eldora Mountain.

Book this Colorado cabin on Airbnb

A set designer for a movie would be hard-pressed to come up with a more classic log cabin-looking property than this two-bedroom delight in the heights of Black Hawk, Colorado.

The sense of seclusion is palpable, though within 15 minutes you can drive to the nearby town of Nederland or the Eldora Mountain ski resort. 

The handsome, sturdy log structure is built onto a gentle, lush green hillside. Gather on the deck around the fire pit while steam gently rises from the outdoor hot tub. 

The smell of timber fills the interior, and the place comes fully loaded with modern conveniences such as Wi-Fi, cable TV, a music system, as well as a wood-burning fire, games, and an irresistible hammock. 

Mountain tree house in the forest in California

Big Bear Treehouse in Big Bear, California
This luxe treehouse has scenic forest views and bright sunlight that pours in from huge picture windows.

Book this California tree house on Airbnb

To call this home a tree house feels like underselling the property somewhat, as it falls more within the luxury cabin arena. Surrounded by trees outside Big Bear, the town and ski resorts are around a 15-minute drive away, and the National Forest is right there as you open the curtains. 

Huge picture windows allow scenery and daylight to flood the living spaces, and vaulted ceilings open the home up in dramatic fashion. Hardwood floors, wooden panels, and exposed beams create a chalet-like ambiance, while the furniture shows off the hosts’ flawless taste with an elegant, midcentury modern theme.

A statement stone fireplace keeps things warm in winter, while outside a propane grill and wraparound balcony invites you to linger.

A charming yurt on a farmstead in Colorado

Yurt
Indulge in ranch life at this Mongolian-style yurt.

Book this Colorado yurt on Airbnb

Views of stunning Mount Sopris and 110 acres of seclusion await up to four guests at this impressive glamping yurt.

The Mongolian-style yurt offers the right balance of adventure and comfort, with a supremely commodious, wood-framed canopy under which to sleep. The space feels akin to something from a period drama but comes with Wi-Fi, a kitchen, and a bathroom (with a piping hot shower) that won’t test anyone’s standards of comfort too stringently. 

Ranch life here comes with its own array of amenities beyond the space and scenery, mostly in the form of fresh food from the farm owners, including, but not limited to, eggs, milk, poultry, and cuts of meat for your barbecuing pleasure. 

There are hiking paths up through the neighboring National Forest, and if you don’t bring your own horse (which you are encouraged to) then you can rent one and hit those dusty trails. Private stargazing sessions and alpaca yoga add to an enticing menu of activities. 

See more of the best yurt rentals in the US

Farmhouse on 100 acres in Pennsylvania

Farm House on 100 Acre Farm in Lititz, Pennsylvania
This bright red farmhouse is 15 minutes from a charming colonial area once known as America’s coolest small town.

Book this Pennsylvania farmhouse on Airbnb

It’s hard to imagine a cuter farmhouse than this bright red beauty set on 100 acres of land in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside. There are a few small villages within striking distance, but tiny Lititz is an 18th-century hamlet that was named “America’s Coolest Small Town” in 2013 by Budget Travel and is only 15 minutes away.

Inside the Hopeland Farm Red House, modern windows and doors mix with vintage furniture and midcentury pieces for an updated yet rustic look. Old wood burners and an antique piano are complemented by abstract art and abundant daylight.

Enjoy farm life here where your only neighbors will be chickens and ducks on your way to buy vegetables and eggs from the hosts. 

Dog-friendly retreat in Texas

Dog friendly, 104 acres retreat in Blanco, Texas
Set on 104 gorgeous acres of land with ponds, this spacious home is a good pick for those looking to bring pets along.

Book this Texas home on Airbnb

You have to zoom out pretty far on your phone’s map feature to see the closest places to this exceptional Texas ranch house. Blanco, a good 15 minutes by car, is technically a city, but with a population of around 1,700 people, it’s more of a sleepy little town where people come to fish and buy lavender. 

This home spreads out on a whopping 104 acres and on-site ponds and the nearby Blanco River add to the scenic environs, the latter being great for fishing and tubing.

The house, which welcomes pets, is awash with daylight thanks to huge windows and striking vaulted ceilings. A casual contemporary look includes stone fireplaces, mounted hunting trophies, high-end leather sofas and armchairs, as well as granite worktops and stainless steel appliances. Have a cook-out under those huge skies with the grill and outdoor dining area. 

Large lakefront home in Maine

LargeLakefrontMaine
This expansive lakefront home has spectacular views of Graham Lake.

Book this lakefront home in Maine on Vrbo

This delightful lakefront house can welcome up to 17 people with almost 4,000 square feet to sprawl out. There’s also plenty of room to claim for yourself outside amid the natural expanse of Hardwood Hill Island Nature Preserve and nearby Acadia National Park. Graham Lake sits right outside, as well.

The house has multiple large living areas and plenty of amenities for group meals, both indoor and out. There’s also Wi-Fi and the home comes with its own dock and kayaks to get out on the water. 

Home with a lake and pool in New York

Sackett & Van Dam Guest House in Red Hook, New York
Dip into this farmhouse’s private lake or saltwater pool for a refreshing escape.

Book this Red Hook house on Airbnb

Red Hook itself isn’t much more than a village, just north of Poughkeepsie in Upstate New York, two hours from Manhattan.

This wonderful farmhouse is a good 10-minute drive from even that small development, along remote country lanes. Its sprawling 120 acres will deliver a serious dose of isolated tranquility, and the land contains both a private lake and a saltwater pool. 

The house itself is a beautifully converted red brick barn, with wooden beamed ceilings and a contemporary look that you might more associate with an urban warehouse. Polished wooden floors, reclaimed wood furnishings, and sleek top-of-the-range appliances fill the open-plan living space.

Open the curtains each morning to admire sun-drenched paddocks, or in the winter, there’s snow-shoeing or skiing nearby. Guests can hike, bike, and buy fresh eggs year-round.  

A secluded tree house in Montana

best treehouse rentals montana (1)
A mesmerizing spiral staircase wraps around a Douglas fir tree that grows through this dream tree house.

Book this Montana tree house on Vrbo

On seven acres of private woods, this two-story tree house is unique and plenty remote while still featuring creature comforts like two decks, a breakfast nook with a handmade wooden bar, fast Wi-Fi, and plush bathrobes.

The showstopping piece is a spiral staircase custom crafted around a Douglas fir tree that grows right through the home. There is one true bedroom, but the house can sleep up to four guests thanks to padded seating areas that double as extra sleeping space.

While secluded, the location is close to the entrance of Glacier National Park and the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort.

FAQ: Remote vacation spots

How can I find remote rentals near me?

Most remote cabins and vacation rentals are located amid forests, deserts, woodlands, and national parks. They balance the feeling of being remote with vehicle access to shops and gas stations, etc, within 30 minutes drive or so. This might mean it is near a city or a village, but we looked for properties that are largely set on their own grounds for a strong sense of isolation. 

Search on places like Airbnb, TurnKey, and Vrbo in small towns and remote settings well outside major cities. The best way to do this is to select an area, and then search listings by map view.

What kind of facilities do remote homes have? 

Remote vacation rental facilities vary — some have Wi-Fi and air conditioning, whereas others are more like an elevated camping situation with shared bathrooms and showers.

We included a wide selection as people have differing levels of how off-grid they want to get. 

Many remote homes are located in delicate environments so be sure to check the listing carefully when you book. Hosts will have listed the specific requirements, for example, if you can cook outdoors, and you may incur extra costs if you do not comply with these rules. 

What should I pack with me? 

Check the more detailed listings via the links to the property pages and see what the hosts suggest, especially as to whether they supply linens, towels, and kitchen essentials.

Where can Americans travel right now?

The CDC recently said people who are vaccinated can travel safely within the US. However, there are certain countries where Americans can travel without restrictive entry requirements.

Are vacation rentals safe?

If you’re wondering whether vacation rentals such as Airbnbs are safe, we spoke with experts who said staying at a private vacation rental, as opposed to a hotel may actually be one of the safer travel options, because booking an entire house eliminates interactions with hosts or other guests.

Airbnb also implemented new procedures and cleaning policies, which all hosts must follow.  

How we chose the best remote vacation rentals

  1. The vacation rental is for the entire home in line with social distancing guidelines.
  2. Homes are located in remote settings amid mountains, woodlands, lakes, deserts, and national parks, surrounded by nature but with access to nearby towns or villages for supply runs.
  3. All properties are highly-rated listings with a minimum past guest rating of 4.5 out of 5.0. 
  4. Vacation rentals boast unique features such as interesting architecture ranging from simple adobe huts to deluxe compounds, as well as inviting decor, and plush amenities (think pools, hot tubs, and great outdoor space).
  5. Prices start between $99 and $499 per night to accommodate a wide variety of budgets and group sizes.
  6. All of the properties adhere to strict COVID-19 cleaning policies.
  7. All of the properties have availability to book over the coming weeks or months, as of publishing. 

More great vacation rentals to safely enjoy the outdoors

best national park vacation rentals joshua tree
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best wetsuits of 2021 for surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Wetsuits protect you from cold water, allowing you to surf, swim, or dive longer than if you didn’t wear one.
  • Choosing a wetsuit depends on how you’ll use it as surfers have different needs than kayakers, for instance.
  • Our top pick, O’Neill’s Psycho Tech, features water-resistant neoprene, durable stitching, and a comfortable fit.

For anyone who doesn’t live in the tropics, wearing a wetsuit while surfing is a necessity. Paddling out to a break with water temperatures below 65 or 70 degrees Fahrenheit without a generous helping of rubber ranges from slightly uncomfortable to downright deadly. But wear the right wetsuit and you’ll quickly forget all about the hypothermia-inducing water temp (for the most part).

Surfing isn’t the only water sport one might wear a wetsuit for, however. Paddleboarders, kayakers, and divers, among others, also don neoprene getups to keep cold water from cutting their outings short – but not every wetsuit is a jack-of-all-trades type of suit. What one person might need for kayaking might be too cumbersome or ill-fitting for a surfer.

To help anyone shopping for a new suit, I’ve field-tested a number of wetsuits from top brands like O’Neill and Rip Curl, consulted with diving and surfing enthusiasts, and conducted plenty of research to come up with a list of the best currently available.

At the end of this guide, I’ve included answers to a few FAQs, including the differences in suit types and thickness, as well as some insight into the best way to care for your wetsuit and how to pick out a diving suit.

Here are the best wetsuits:

The best wetsuit overall

ONeill wetsuit

The O’Neill Psycho Tech is made with water-resistant neoprene to keep it from retaining water, and its top-notch stitching makes it almost watertight.

Pros: Warm, almost watertight stitching, lightweight, quick-drying

Cons: A little pricey

O’Neill’s Psycho Tech is the kind of cozy, stretchy, almost watertight suit that becomes oh-so-precious to cold-water surfers when winter storms roll through and leaky seams threaten to end surf sessions early.

If there’s one company I’d put all my good faith in keeping me from the wrath of hypothermia, it’s the late, lauded laureate and godfather of the modern wetsuit, Jack O’Neill.

O’Neill puts a lot of money into research and design, and while the US military doesn’t exactly endorse or use any single wetsuit, they’ve frequently sent personnel out in O’Neill suits. That alone may or may not speak volumes to you, but the US military is not known to be one to skimp on matters of national security.

This wetsuit is flexible, and I’ve found it to hold up in temperatures considerably lower than their rating. My old Psycho II model from 2009, which saw heavy service through 2010 and has seen service in most of the years since, is still, shockingly, in pretty good shape. The new Psychos are miles ahead, but there aren’t enough problems or even one single tear in my suit that warrant tossing mine out just yet.

Cleanline Surf, the Pacific Northwest’s coldwater surf aficionados, called the Psycho Tech “the pinnacle of wetsuit technology and performance.” The site goes on to taut it for being lightweight, warm, durable, and flexible — I don’t disagree.

Also, the TechnoButter neoprene rejects water so well that it stays light even when wet, and it dries much faster than most suits.

The best budget wetsuit for women

RipCurlDawn

Rip Curl’s Dawn Patrol suits cost less than $200, feature an easy-to-use rear zip entry, and have both stitched and glued seams for added durability. 

Pros: Easy in and out via a rear zip entry, stitched and glued seams, inexpensive (as far as wetsuits go)

Cons: Its 3/2 millimeter thickness won’t keep you warm very long in colder water temps

Rip Curl’s Dawn Patrol suits are extremely flexible, thoroughly stitched, taped, and glued, and very reasonably priced.

The suit has been a bestseller for several years and being blindstitched, glued, and taped for under $200 certainly hasn’t hurt its reputation. It also comes in both men’s and women’s designs, but, I must make a full disclosure: I’ve never owned one, though I’ve envied them from close and afar over the years. 

The best budget wetsuit for men

7seaslarge

VISSLA’s 7 Seas is economical but doesn’t cut any corners to deliver a functional wetsuit at a fair price.

Pros: Price tag, sleeve gaskets, stitching and gluing, 1-year warranty

Cons: Neoprene retains water and gets a little heavy

I tried VISSLA’s 7 Seas model in New York this late spring and was hot in the 3/2-millimeter full suit. That’s a good sign. I also caught up with an old friend on Montauk who’s in his third season with the same model, which is as much as most people ask of even a luxury suit. That was good enough for me.

It fit me exceptionally well, which is a shock because I’m six feet tall, generally, stay shy of 160 pounds, and almost no company designs standard suits sized for stick-figured string beans like me.

The seams are held together by double blind-stitching and taped three times over, which somewhere around five years ago was unthinkable for a suit under $200. Matter-of-factly, this suit is designed in much the same way one of my nicer suits from about 10 years ago was, only that one cost me about twice as much. The suit’s also backed by respective 1-year warranties for both the neoprene and the stitching.

Although the neoprene retains water and gets heavy, the suit is remarkably stretchy — maybe stretchier than Patagonia’s Yulex suits — and the wrist gaskets that are located a few inches above the cuff really kept water from getting up my sleeves and slowing my paddling. Further, taking water up the sleeves in fall or winter is shockingly chilling.

I also liked the fuzzy lining, which is akin to Patagonia’s, but, again, this suit is less than half the price (at the time of this publishing). While Patagonia’s suits are nice, and I love mine, I don’t see any need to step up unless you really feel like spending the extra money or you’re going to be surfing in exceptionally cold waters where you’ll probably want the best technology you can get.

The best non-neoprene wetsuit

Patagonia wetsuit

There are other non-neoprene suits emerging on the market, but my Patagonia suits have lasted through a lot, and it will take a lot for another suit to knock them off their throne.

Pros: Long-lasting (as long as if not longer than most neoprene suits), neoprene-free, almost petroleum-free, very warm, so you can often get away with a thinner suit

Cons: Not cheap, maybe a little stiffer than neoprene suits

Patagonia’s current crop of wetsuits comes via a biochemical company called Yulex. Yulex manufactures neoprene from the guayule plant, a hardy shrub native to the Southwestern United States that’s used to make rubber that’s both renewable and nearly chemical-free.

The latest Yulex-branded suit now has a new patterning intended for “improved fit and increased mobility.” Yulex’s brand of rubber often had a reputation among wetsuit users as being stiff compared with neoprene, which isn’t generally a good thing for water enthusiasts. However, the suits do feature a fuzzy synthetic liner that makes the inside of the suit feel silky smooth while also doing well to make me feel warmer in frigid water. 

The company now uses a water-based glue in all its suits, eliminating the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that were used for decades. The new suit also includes solution-dyed fabrics that reduce water consumption and CO2 emissions by 86% and 96%, respectively.

Of course, as goes with the Patagonia story, everything is Fair Trade Certified, and you’ll also get Patagonia’s Ironclad Guarantee, so if you’re not thrilled with your new suit, you can send it back.

What excites me most about this suit is that, although Patagonia hasn’t made the leap to zipperless suits, the corrosion-resistant zipper on this suit is now actually replaceable, so if it wears out before the wetsuit does, you can extend its life a little longer. This is great news because oftentimes the collar or zipper area is the first thing to wear out on a wetsuit.

Learn more about Patagonia and Yulex’s bio-rubber here.

The best wetsuit for paddlesports

Screen Shot 2018 08 07 at 5.16.06 PM

If you’re tired of hanging up your paddles for the winter, O’Neill’s O’Riginal spring suit is just enough to keep you comfortable as water temperatures reach the 60s and maybe the 50s. 

Pros: Flexible, breathable, affordable

Cons: The chest rubber can be overly sticky

Because our bodies are mostly out of the water when paddling, we tend to work up a sweat beneath a neoprene wetsuit. While any combination of layers can do the trick, I’ve found that a farmer john-style (sleeveless) wetsuit with flatlock seams works best unless you’re dealing with temperatures below 50° F or so, at which point I’d opt for a dry suit. Stohlquist makes a good one for men and women.

Since you’re getting such a thorough upper body workout, I’d suggest avoiding sleeves, which apart from causing you to overheat also tend to constrict movement and cause chafing. O’Neill’s O’Riginal spring suit is 2 millimeters thick and comes with flatlock seams, and at less than $100 can’t really be beaten.

If it’s a little cooler, you might want one with full-length legs (the women’s model, the Bahia, comes in a 1.5mm), or a 3mm. O’Neill doesn’t make the sleeveless suit in a 3mm, but Aqua Lung does, for men and women. Anything above 3mm tends to get a little too hot for paddlesports, at least if you’re not getting in the water.

If you want to spend even a little more money — unless you’re surfing in one of these suits, keep in mind that quality might not be quite as paramount — Patagonia’s Long John (men’s) and Long Jane (women’s) are $169 and worth it. They’re made of the same non-neoprene Yulex rubber as Patagonia’s other suits, but flatlock-stitched so that they breathe a little better.

Wetsuit FAQs

What different kinds of wetsuits are there?

Apart from temperature, what you’ll be doing in or on the water is a major deciding factor for which wetsuit is best. If you’re swimming or surfing, a floaty, hydrodynamic closed-cell or single-piece suit is likely your best bet. These are either chest- or back-zipped and come with different sleeve and leg cuts.

But if you’re diving, a closed-cell wetsuit allows too much water flow between it and your skin. You’ll find yourself feeling stiff and cold, and stiff and cold are never what you want while diving for long periods of time. An open-cell wetsuit provides suction between the skin and suit that’s nearly watertight. While these types of suits are a pain to get in and out of, they keep you much warmer and allow for much greater flexibility underwater.

Editor’s note: If you use a little eco-friendly dish soap, getting into an open-cell wetsuit is much easier.

Open-cell suits usually don’t have zippers apart from the wrist and leg cuffs but closed cells come in a variety of different zipper configurations. Some manufacturers are starting to develop zipperless models, too, which could eliminate zippers altogether — at least on more expensive suits.


What are the differences in wetsuit zipper types?

Back-zip suit: Back-zip wetsuits are the original design, and almost always cheaper than chest-zip or zipper-less suits. They’re fine for swimming in temperate waters on relatively warm days, but I’ve found that having cool water seep down your back on a chillier day — or in the middle of winter, for that matter — can be miserable.

Chest-zip suit: Usually more expensive, chest-zip wetsuits tend to keep you warmer thanks to a smaller, well-protected zipper that sits on the front of the suit. This also makes them the most difficult to get in and out of, but, overall, we think they’re worth it. They tend to last longer, and some even allow for the neckpiece to be replaced, which is often the first thing to wear and tear on a wetsuit.

Zipperless: I haven’t yet tried out a zipperless wetsuit, though I’ve been hearing positive buzz about O’Neill’s Hyperfreak Comp zipless model. It would be more of a performance suit than most require, and it’s hard to say whether the lack of a zipper will, in turn, stretch the suit more or keep us warmer, but we will see how they fare over time and update this guide with our findings.


How thick should my wetsuit be?

Wetsuit thickness is measured in millimeters, and the core is most often thicker than the extremities to keep your body temperature up while allowing for more mobility in the arms and legs. This is why you’ll see two — or sometimes three — numbers, listing the core’s thickness first (e.g., 3/2, or 4/3/2).

Temperature rating corresponds with thickness, for the most part, but varies some from company to company and material to material, but here’s a basic rule of thumb:

  • Mid 60s to low 70s: 2 mm
  • Low 60s to high 60s: 3/2 mm
  • Low 50s to low 60s: 4/3 mm, or 4/3/2 mm
  • Low to high 40s: 5/4 mm, or 5/4/3 mm
  • High 30s to low 40s: 6/5 mm or 6/5/4 mm
  • Upper 30s and below: While a good 6/5- or 6/5/4-millimeter suit can do you well in the upper 30s, it’s tough to stand it any colder. There are 7/6- and 7/6/5-millimeter wetsuits, but they become impedingly stiff at that point. A good 6/5 or 6/5/4 with hood, boots, and gloves will take care of most of us through winter.

What sizes do wetsuits come in? 

Size charts vary from company to company, so make sure to have a look at the chart to be sure which one fits you best.

Unless you get a custom suit, none are likely to fit you perfectly but you should be able to get close enough.


What are wetsuits made out of?

Not all wetsuits are created equal, and while most are made of neoprene — and come from the same factory in Taiwan, despite different brand names — it’s the stitching and seams that make all the difference.

  • Overlock stitching: This is the most basic stitching, and it will let water flow through your suit like Victoria Falls. Okay, not really, but I save these cheap suits for spring and summer, or when it’s not exactly board-short temperature, but a constant flush is actually refreshing.
  • Flat stitching: This is probably a little fancier than the stitching they taught you in Home Economics class. By no means is it watertight, but it lies flatter and holds up better than basic overlock stitching.
  • Blindstitching: Blindstitched suits have even narrower stitching than flat-stitched ones, and the seams are usually glued, which does a pretty good job of preventing water seepage.
  • Sealed, taped, glued: This is a definitive step up, and usually what you’ll find with blindstitched suits. Once you get into blindstitching, you start to notice that very little water seeps through your suit, and you stay relatively dry inside. The best of these suits are also sealed and taped both inside and out, but the full combination is where suits start to get above the $500 price tag, which isn’t crucial for most. Still, if you plan to be surfing in sub 55-degree Fahrenheit temps, we highly recommend forking over the extra dough.

How to take care of your wetsuit

All outdoors equipment requires a little love to survive its life expectancy and, hopefully, beyond. Protect your wetsuit and it protects you — at least from the cold.

Here’s what every first-time wetsuit owner should know: 

Wash your suit every time you use it, or at least as frequently as you can stand to. Wetsuits take on everything you put into them, from your sweat, sunscreen, seawater, and yes, urine. While it may not damage your suit, it will surely smell bad.

And even though Helen Hunt does it, it’s not exactly a good idea to pee in your wetsuit, for obvious reasons. Regardless of whether or not you decide to relieve yourself in your suit, get a wetsuit shampoo, and follow its instructions well. Do NOT use any old soap for this, or you’ll be sorry.

Store your wetsuit in a dry, shaded area with plenty of ventilation. We all know what happens to wet things in confined spaces, but hanging your wetsuit to dry in the sun is surely the quickest way to end its life.

Hang your wetsuit loosely on a thick-framed clothes hanger, a proper wetsuit hanger, or fold it loosely. If you hang a wetsuit on a sharp wire hanger, it will stretch out. If you fold it too tightly, it’ll crease. I roll mine up when I travel to avoid creasing.

How to choose a diving wetsuit

shutterstock_678622990

A simple, closed-cell suit like a surfing wetsuit works above the surface where you have heat from the sun and little pressure, but when you get below the surface, it can get stiff and cold. An open cell suit will keep you much warmer and more flexible, whether you’re freediving or using scuba tanks. 

I’ve never actually owned an open-cell diving suit — I use a surfing suit to dive, which I assure you is less than ideal — so I called on a lifeline: an old friend who spends his workdays and sometimes his nights underwater in the marrow-chilling depths of New Zealand’s Marlborough Sounds. If anyone has earned the authority to deem a wetsuit good or bad, we figure it might be a commercial diver, after all.

A commercial diver’s input

The array of both open cell and closed cell diving suits in the locker where he works is almost exclusively with Beuchat and Cressi wetsuits, and while many of the members of the dive team do wear closed cell suits to work, they don’t last as long — maybe that’s intended. Open cell suits are snug, and almost suction-cup your skin, which is extremely efficient for keeping you warm, but makes them very difficult to get on and off.

When we would go spearfishing together — I in my 5/4-millimeter closed-cell surfing wetsuit, he in his 7-millimeter open-cell diving suit — I’d be in and out of my suit in half the time it took him to roll his on and off. But, by the same token, he could still feel his hands and feet after an hour of diving. Meanwhile, my lips would be turning blue.

Bottom line: If you’re going to be in even moderately cold water, save yourself the agony of freezing and put up with the nuisance of stretching into a skin-tight open cell suit.

How to shop for a dive suit

If you’ve never worn or owned a diving wetsuit before, you’ll probably want to go to the local dive shop and have the pros sort you out, or at the very least fit you.

When picking out a diving suit, color, or rather pattern, is a consideration that goes beyond aesthetics. If an experience with wildlife is what you’re after (even if you’re not in search of dinner), then a camouflage suit is probably a good idea, simply because you won’t startle as many creatures as quickly as you would with a black suit, or one of any color, really.

Also, note that camouflage is relative: If you’re going to be in open water, you’ll want a rhapsody in blue, and if you’re going to be in kelp, coral, or rocks, you probably want to look for a more greenish-brown pattern.

A few drawbacks

The main downfall of many closed-cell suits is that they are made of or coated with a softer, more delicate rubber-like neoprene skin which, while it keeps you warmer and leaves you agiler in the pressured depths, is highly prone to tearing.

Also, always make sure your wetsuit is wet when you’re pulling it on, and follow instructions for care and maintenance like these, from Aqua Lung. Never leave any wetsuit in the sun but especially not a suit with skin material, which will melt and stick to itself, a tragedy not covered by any warranty far as I’m aware.

Aqua LungBeuchat, Cressi, and Mares are companies that have all been around since recreational diving has, more or less, and they all have similarly long legacies and popular standing with commercial and recreational divers alike.

Pros: Tighter-fitting, more watertight, keeps you warmer, less constricting

Cons: Can be more expensive, much more delicate, difficult to don and doff 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best jump ropes of 2021 for an effective cardio workout

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Jumping rope is one of the best cardio exercises you can do at home, practically for free.
  • The best jump ropes are durable and adjustable in length and should ideally come with extra ropes or handles.
  • Our top pick, Crossrope Get Lean, has multiple weighted ropes, exchangeable handles, and its own workout app.

Most of us associate jumping rope with days on the playground but for the everyday athlete, it’s one of the best cardiovascular activities you can do as an adult, Andrew Laux, NASM-CPT, and personal trainer with fitness platform, Fyt, told Insider.

Though jumping rope gets your heart pumping, it also helps improve bone density, and builds strength and stability through your entire kinetic chain (your feet to your shoulders). Plus, it’s a fun workout you can do almost anywhere, Laux said.

Aside from learning how to use a jump rope, the one thing you need to gain the benefits of the workout is the rope itself. And if you think all jump ropes are the same, think again: Many manufacturers have made improvements and tech updates to jump ropes over the years, offering a variety of ease of use, adjustability, and weight options.

To find the best jump ropes for cardio, I tested brands like Crossrope, Rx Smart Gear, and SKLZ, relying on my own experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness writer, while also keeping in mind the important features a rope should have.

At the end of this guide, I’ve included some insight from Laux on the proper technique for jumping rope, as well as answers to a few FAQs and how I tested each of the ropes in this guide.

Here are the best jump ropes:

How we test jump ropes

best jump ropes 4x3

Each jump rope featured in this guide went through a series of tests to see how well they stacked up across these four categories: Ease of use, versatility, durability, and value. Specifically, here’s how each category factored into which jump ropes ultimately made this guide:

Ease of use: Jump ropes should be easy to use right out of the box (so long as you have your timing and rhythm down), but through the course of testing for this guide, we realized there’s plenty to a jump rope that can make it easy to use. First, is how comfortable the handles feel in-hand. We also considered the flexibility of the rope, if it rotated cleanly on the handle, and if it avoided getting tangled too easily.

Versatility: There are a variety of workouts you can do using a jump rope, and they’re not all just the standard motion you first think of. Whether we were doing double under, crossing the rope, or any other variation, we looked at how well the rope moved along with us at every turn. Even if our own jump roping technique wasn’t flawless, we still were able to see how versatile the rope was able to be.

Durability: Much of our jump rope tests occurred outdoors where the rope would constantly hit the cement beneath our feet. Because of this, the part of the rope hitting the ground would naturally start to file down. After spending several hours jumping rope with each pick, none of those we featured ended up snapping or even filing down dangerously close enough to breaking. 

Value: Jump ropes shouldn’t cost much to begin with but it is important not to just buy whatever the cheapest on the market is. Keeping in mind the three categories above, as well as a jump rope’s actual sticker price, is a great way to judge the overall value. Our top pick is even $99, which seems like a lot for a jump rope, but considering everything it comes with, and the fact it scored the highest in terms of ease of use, versatility, and durability, it’s worth every bit of that investment.

The best jump rope overall

Get_Lean_Set

Crossrope reimagines the tried-and-true jump rope by offering multiple weighted rope options, an easy-to-use handle clipping system, and a companion app with workouts and insight. 

Pros: Ropes come in multiple weight options, easy-to-swap soft handles, companion app has great workout guidance

Cons: Expensive

At $99, Crossrope’s Get Lean Set isn’t exactly inexpensive — but it’s not just any ole jump rope, either. 

This specialized jump rope set features ergonomic handles that are lightweight and easy to hold. The handles feature a quick clasp system making it easy to swap them in and out of the different weighted ropes. Each handle has a soft grip that won’t slip out of your hand, even when you start sweating — we’ve tested this in the humidity of NYC and the comfortable, tacky grips are a very welcome sight.

The other feature that makes Crossrope an attractive choice is its variety of rope weights. The Get Lean Set, specifically, comes with both a 1/2-pound rope good for advanced cardio exercises and a 1/4-pound rope that works well for HIIT routines and endurance training. As mentioned above, the handles just click in and out of the end of each rope for easy swapping. 

Crossrope also offers a companion smartphone application that comes standard with workout inspiration and routine guidance. The Lite version is completely free whereas premium access runs $10 per month. — Rick Stella, health and fitness editor

The best jump rope for speed work

wod jumprope

When speed and lasting performance are your main concerns, the WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope is your best option.

Pros: Comes with an extra cable, features a smooth bearing system for speed work

Cons: Susceptible to wear when used on hard surfaces

If you’re looking to perform quick tempo jumps, like high knees, crossover, or double unders, you want a speed rope, which moves faster, Louis Chandler Joseph, NASM-CPT, trainer at Dogpound in LA told Insider. “Speed ropes are also great for working hand-eye coordination,” he added.

WOD Nation Speed Jump Rope uses a patented four-metal ball bearing system in the handles. There is a bearing on the tip of each handle to hold the cable and another bearing in each handle for smooth rotations, and the handles are made of tapered nylon resin for a better grip.

This speed rope comes in nine colors and with an extra cable, replacement hardware, and a carrying bag. The cable is 2.5mm thick and 11 feet long, which you can easily adjust. 

WOD Nation’s jump rope comes with a “100% satisfaction guarantee,” so you can try it for 60 days and if you’re not completely satisfied, return it for a complete refund. (However, its return policy says it will only accept returns on unused items within 14 days of purchase, so that’s a bit confusing.) If you order through Amazon, you get 30 days to return. — James Brains, home and kitchen reporter

The best jump rope for beginners

SKLZ jump rope

The SKLZ jump rope is easy to use, lightweight, comfortable, and affordable, making it a smart choice for those just starting to jump rope. 

Pros: Easy to adjust, comfortable grip, smooth rotations

Cons: Comes with just one rope — no fancy additions

If you’re new to jumping rope, you need a straightforward jump rope that’s easy to set to your height and easy to swing. The SKLZ jump rope is all of this and more: The soft, padded handles allow for a solid, comfy grip, while the swivel on the inside of the handle makes for easy rotations and lots of control (which is super helpful for those jumping in small spaces).

It’s also lightweight, making it easy to move at a pace that works for you, especially as you tackle technique and eventually add in speed. 

Adjusting the rope is easy — just unscrew the handle, pull the rope through to the length for you,  push the plastic tab back, and cut the extra. Then, close the handle back up. Cutting the rope does means it’s a one-and-done adjustment so you can’t share your rope with someone of another height. But at under $15, your partner or roommate can buy their own cheap, too.

I tested this rope both indoors on carpet and outside on cement, and it lasted through lots of jump intervals. It’s definitely a no-frills cable but offers everything you need to get your jump rope routine started.

The best jump rope for multiple users

RX smart gear Rapid Fit Jump Rope

The Rx Smart Gear Rapid Fit Jump Rope allows you to easily switch between lengths, so the whole family can use it. Plus, it’s so smooth and comfortable. 

Pros: Easy adjustment and multi-user, smooth rotations, comfortable (and narrower) handle

Cons: More expensive than other ropes

If you’re 5-feet tall and sharing this rope with your 6-foot-tall partner, you can both use this Rx Smart Gear jump rope without anyone compromising proper length. The Rx Smart Gear Rapid Fit Jump Rope allows you to swap between sizes, just by pressing the end of the handle, removing the cover and pulling the rope to the top (to make it shorter) or bottom (to make it longer).

The standard size of the Rapid Fit Jump Rope works for people 5- to 6-feet tall. There’s also a short cable option that’s a better fit for anyone under 5 feet, as well as a longer cable for those over 6 feet. 

To be adjustable, this rope has long, thin handles. This shape has the added benefit of being easy to grip while you flick your wrists on the spin, and it offers good control over the rope so you can dial up or down the speed. 

This adjustable jump rope also comes with a carrying case. The price point is higher than other models, but it’s cheaper than buying two high-quality jump ropes of different lengths.

The best budget jump rope

Tone It Up Jump Rope

The lightweight Tone It Up jump rope comes in at under $10, while still offering an easy-to-use rope that’ll last through countless cardio sessions. 

Pros: Inexpensive, lightweight, soft and comfortable handles, easy to use and adjust

Cons: Not as durable as others; if you don’t cut the rope, it twists as you jump

For a super affordable jump rope, the Tone It Up offering costs less than $10 and is available at Target, while still delivering all the basic necessities of a cardio jump rope. At less than 13 ounces, the lightweight design makes for easy rotations and quick rounds. The padded foam handles also make for a soft feel as you hold onto the rope through each jump. 

To adjust the cable, simply unscrew the end of the handle, and move the plastic stopper tab to the spot that works with your height — the cable is short enough for those 4-foot-9 and long enough for those 6-foot-6. While you can shove the excess rope back into the handle, I suggest cutting off any extra (particularly if you have a lot of excess). The wound-up rope inside the handle occasionally made the rope twist up as I hit my rotations. 

To top off the benefits of this purchase, you’ll also support a women-owned brand.

What else we tested

RXSG EVO GO Speed Rope

Rx Smart Gear EVO GO Speed Rope ($125): If you’re looking for a truly lightweight rope for picking up speed on your feet, this rope has a well-designed handle that makes it comfortable and easy to whip the rope around. This rope comes at a fixed height. It didn’t make our main list because of its expensive price tag, but we do love this rope for speed work. 

SKLZ Speed Rope ($25): Another rope that handles well, works fast, and makes for smooth transitions, this SKLZ Speed Rope is also super affordable. The sturdy handles felt heavier than other speed ropes, and the adjustable rope itself stands up against kinks. The biggest downside is you need a wire cutter to remove the extra material, which isn’t always easy to get your hands on.

Jump rope FAQs

What’s the proper jump rope technique?

Jumping rope is dauntingly easy — but the right technique is very helpful to master the cardio skill. Andrew Laux, NASM-CPT, and personal trainer with fitness platform, Fyt, offers three tips:

1. First, think of it like a pogo stick. “Keep your body in a straight line but relax your muscles and joints so you can easily absorb the jump and get ready for the next,” he said. Bend your knees slightly and jump on the balls of the feet to help with that impact.

2. It’s important to keep your shoulders back and chest tall (think of this as like having good posture).

3. And finally, look out on the horizon. “Once your eyes drop to your feet, your form will crumble,” Laux warns. 

When it comes to your actual jump rope workout, Laux loves jumping to his favorite song, resting for one minute, then repeating for another few pump-up jams. If you’re just starting out, though, he suggests going for just 10 seconds of effort, then resting for 20 seconds.

As you get better and can do five to 10 rounds, build the work interval, and decrease the rest break.

“Once you build up your strength and fitness levels and slowly build up your jump duration, you will find yourself jumping for longer time periods like 5 minutes or even 10 minutes nonstop,” he said. “It takes time, but you will get there.”

Learn more in How to jump rope in 4 easy steps, and a few fun workouts you can do at home.


What features should a jump rope have? 

If you’re considering which jump rope to buy, think about how you want to use it. “The heavier the handles, the harder the shoulder and forearm workout,” Laux explains. “The lighter and thinner the rope, the faster you can spin the jump rope around and around.”

Anything labeled as a speed rope will likely feel lightweight and fast, while a more straightforward rope (usually plastic with foam handles) may be slightly heavier and likely, more affordable. 

The most important thing to consider once you know the kind of rope you want is its length. If a rope is too long, it might be harder to find your rhythm. Conversely, one that’s too short may increase your chances of tripping.

Make sure to check out the brand’s sizing guide before you buy. Then, to measure a jump rope to your height, step in the middle of the rope with both feet, ensure the rope is symmetric and taught, and adjust it so the bottom of the handle reaches your armpits, said Louis Chandler Joseph, NASM-CPT, trainer at Dogpound in LA.

You can always test out the rope and decide if you want it to be shorter or longer, too. Once you have a length you’re comfortable with, use scissors or wire cutters to clip the ends of the cable so you don’t have annoying and unnecessary lengths of the rope hanging off the handles. 

Also, Chandler Joseph suggests hanging your rope for storage — though, some ropes (like the Rx Smart Gear rope) do come with their own carrying case, making it far easier to stash away. Just try to avoid any kinks or bends, no matter how you chose to store them.

Expert sources

  • Andrew Laux, NASM-CPT, and personal trainer with fitness platform, Fyt

  • Louis Chandler Joseph, NASM-CPT, trainer at Dogpound in Los Angeles

Read the original article on Business Insider

22 of the very best Airbnbs across California, from beaches and deserts to wine regions and big cities

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

best Airbnb Luxe listings - Oceanfront Home in Malibu, California

The Golden State is a stunning example of raw natural beauty whether you seek the sprawling hills of wine country, fancy a dip along sun-kissed coastal shores, crave the cultural satisfaction of city centers, or want to hike among the Redwoods.

I’m a Los Angeles-based travel writer who has covered some of the best places to stay in California for Insider and have explored my beloved state of California widely – by car, by foot, by plane.

And because experts told me that private vacation rentals are likely safer than hotels during COVID, I rounded up the best Airbnb vacation rentals in California, from Monterey to Malibu and beyond. These are some of the coolest, most unique Airbnb homes in the state.

Browse all listings below, or jump to a specific area:

These are the best Airbnbs in California, sorted by region and price.

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Los Angeles

Guest house with pool and hot tub in Venice

venice beach pool home airbnb
This affordable home offers a lot of value before you even consider there’s also a pool.

Book this Los Angeles studio on Airbnb

Santa Monica and Venice are among LA’s most popular and central beach areas, and lodging in the area can be pricey. But this affordable option in Venice offers a lot of value before you even consider there’s also a pool. 

It’s technically a Spanish architecture pool house, but it’s totally private, and charming to boot, with room for two adults. The cozy space boasts a private outdoor bathroom, a sauna, three fire pits, a hot tub, plus loaner bikes and skateboards to hit the beach.

There’s also a ping-pong table in the rec area. The laid-back California decor includes a framed map of Venice, distressed furnishings, and tile flooring. 

Private guest house in Larchmont Village

Larchmont Village best LA airbnbs
Central Larchmont is close to Hollywood and Downtown LA.

Book this Los Angeles guest house on Airbnb

Non-locals may not know about the Larchmont area, which is not a household name like Hollywood, but it’s a beautiful, bustling, central, and safe area with its own charming walkable center with shops and restaurants.

This listing is for a private, two-story guesthouse with vaulted ceilings, well-curated furnishings, and an open layout. The downstairs living area has a flat-screen HDTV with premium channels, a compact but well-equipped stainless kitchen, dining area, powder room, and French doors that open to a landscaped backyard. There’s a Queen bed in the airy master suite upstairs, which also has a reading nook, desk, and spa-like bathroom.

Bungalow in Hollywood

Hollywood bungalow best LA airbnbs
Hole up here to disconnect or write that screenplay.

Book this Hollywood bungalow on Airbnb

Hollywood and its environs are as cacophonous and congested as they are lively and exciting. But this cozy Hollywood Hills area listing will make you feel like you’ve gotten away from it all while still staying within LA’s core.

This private guest unit nestled in the hillside makes for a peaceful retreat that allows for full relaxation or full focus on work or creative projects — ideal, perhaps, for an inspiring new work-from-home situation.

There are panoramic city views from Hollywood to the Pacific Ocean from the freestanding bathtub, as well as a sunny terrace with an inviting daybed swing, and a distinctly bohemian vibe. The listing has a Queen-sized bed and one-and-a-half baths, so come with a loved one, or check-in solo to work on your screenplay. 

Find more great Los Angeles Airbnbs

Romantic beachfront apartment in Malibu

Malibu Beachfront Apartment - Airbnb
Waves lap at the edge of the deck in this zen home.

Book this Malibu home on Airbnb

Malibu beachfront real estate is extremely expensive, so this is a great chance to get location, location, location at a relatively affordable price given the area. This Airbnb Plus category listing is an open-plan beachfront apartment with a deck right over the water. A wall of windows maximizes the epic view.

Bright white furnishings and exposed wooden beams create a chic but accessible vibe, and the marble bathroom is downright zen. The all-white color scheme and vintage accents create a romantic vibe that’s especially great for a couple’s retreat.

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner San Diego

Waterfront condo facing the Pacific Ocean

Oceanfront San Diego condo
This oceanfront condo is only steps from the Pacific with direct views of it from the deck as well.

Book this San Diego condo on Airbnb

This oceanfront condo is located literally steps from the Pacific — and the sea sprawls down below for a spectacular view. This Ocean Beach apartment is an ideal launchpad for a San Diego visit; abundant dining and drinking options surround it.

The decor is inspired by a coastal palette for a bright and cheerful vibe. It has a full kitchen, fans to circulate the sea breeze, a Queen bed in the bedroom, and a Queen-size sofa bed for kids or additional guests. It’s located on the ground floor, so no steps are required. And there’s free street parking available (even in peak season, you’ll probably find it within a block or two away).

Find more great San Diego Airbnbs

Boho loft in Little Italy

Room A at The Dutra Inn Little Italy San Diego
The private rooftop at this boho-chic loft has gorgeous views of downtown and San Diego Bay.

Book this San Diego loft on Airbnb

In one of San Diego’s most exciting neighborhoods, this boho-chic loft is a private unit within an apartment-style hotel.

It’s a strong pick for design aficionados thanks to southwestern-style like a longhorn skull, vibrant red and yellow tones, and a portable Art Deco bar. There are also colorful tribal prints, a bright red-tiled kitchen backsplash, midcentury furniture, and old whiskey bottles fashioned as photogenic decor.

The major highlight, however, is the private rooftop with views of downtown San Diego and the bay, plus a convenient location close to the Gaslamp Quarter.

Zen-like studio near the bay

Screen_Shot_2020 06 15_at_11.12.35_AM
The beamed ceiling, bamboo accents, and leafy plants make this studio feel like a Balinese escape.

Book this San Diego studio on Airbnb

Experience the sprawling city that is San Diego without feeling overwhelmed by all the urban buzz. This calming, even zen-like studio is just steps to the bay and an easy walk to the beach. It’s great for a relaxed, car-free beach getaway — even just from the city’s more congested center.

Vaulted, beamed ceilings make the space feel airy, and a skylight makes it bright and cheerful. It sleeps two with a queen bed, and there’s a small patio with a grill for cozy home-cooked meals. For the active couple, travel light and make use of the two included boogie boards and beach cruisers for outdoor fun and exercise during your stay. There’s also private off-street parking for when more than a bike is required.

Find more great San Diego Airbnbs

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner San Francisco Bay Area

Remodeled home near Golden Gate Park

Screen_Shot_2020 06 15_at_2.26.52_PM
Retreat to a serene bedroom with a memory foam mattress.

Book this San Francisco home on Airbnb

With its palpable tech wealth, San Francisco and the Bay Area have become one of the most expensive places in the country. But you can still visit the city without going over budget in this lovely, affordable Airbnb near Golden Gate Park and the beach in the Outer Sunset.

The home is chic, bright, and sparkling. There’s a Queen-sized bed with a memory foam mattress and a cool blue headboard under a nautical whale wall hanging. The bathroom gleams in crisp white, and the elegant furnishings and living room pieces lend a sophisticated, curated feel.

Modern apartment in Haight-Ashbury

Victorian_apartment airbnb in san francisco
Admire views of the city through picturesque bay windows.

Book this San Francisco apartment on Airbnb

This design-minded apartment in a Victorian Building near Haight-Ashbury offers quintessential San Francisco flair with views over a historic neighborhood. 

Lounge in Barcelona chairs taking in the light from the bay window, or switch on a gas fire and relax against the city’s frequent chill. This Airbnb Plus listing has a gourmet gas stove, plush neutral-toned bed linens, and laundry for guests.

Hilltop apartment in Potrero Hill

A living room in an Airbnb in San Francisco
Soothing neutrals combine with gleaming white for a crisp, contemporary color palette.

Book this San Francisco apartment on Airbnb

San Francisco can be notoriously gray, but Potrero Hill is one of its sunniest neighborhoods, and this hilltop apartment affords beautiful city views. With room for two guests with one bedroom and one bath, this updated in-law apartment is an elevated Airbnb Plus category home and spans 900 square feet. It is located within a historic home built in 1910 but is entirely private with a separate entrance. (The hosts are a family living in the unit above.)

The kitchen feels luxe with stainless steel appliances, sleek white cabinetry, and a spa-like bathroom with a rain shower. An overall soothing color palette is accented by fun pops of color from the bright yellow front door to turquoise chairs on the small deck. 

Find more great San Francisco Airbnbs

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Wine Country

Relaxing and pet-friendly home in Sonoma

Relaxing and pet friendly Sonoma home
Rent this home for long term stays near Sonoma.

Book this pet-friendly Sonoma home on Airbnb

This ideal wine country rental is within walking distance of Abbot’s Passage Winery, a three-minute drive to the town of Glen Ellen, and a 10-minute drive to Sonoma Square. 

The three-bedroom home has a large backyard with a bocce ball court and a Chinese Elm tree for shade. There’s room for a large group or family, with a King bed in the master bedroom and Queen beds in each of the other two bedrooms, plus a Queen-size sofa bed in the family room.

There’s also a well-equipped kitchen, a gas barbecue, two full bathrooms, plus a washer-dryer on site for guest use. A 56-inch smart TV in the family room comes with hundreds of movies, and there’s a library well stocked with books for the analog types.

There is a 31-night minimum, but we included this home for those looking for a great base for remote working.

Farmhouse cottage in Napa

Screen_Shot_2020 06 15_at_11.37.11_AM

Book this Napa Valley cottage on Airbnb

If you’ve longed to visit wine country for winery tours and barrel tastings, plan your stay in this fully renovated farmhouse cottage located in a tranquil neighborhood on Main Street, just a mile from the downtown area. The sweet 600-square-foot space has two Queen-sized beds, a couch, and a kitchenette. This home is best for a couple or friend getaway as children under 12 are not permitted.

Here, the amount of interaction is up to the guest — a key concern in the pandemic age. Hosts can make themselves available to talk about restaurants and wineries or make themselves scarce, leaving you to enjoy a glass of wine on the patio after a day out touring the vineyards.

Mountain guesthouse with a pool in Napa

The pool deck of a home near Napa in California on Airbnb
Enjoy views from the pool of the valley all the way to San Francisco.

Book this Napa guesthouse with a pool on Airbnb

This tranquil guesthouse with vineyard views is hidden in the mountains only a few minutes up a country road from Napa. 

The interior is light and open, with vaulted ceilings and minimalist decor including fold-down beds concealed behind panels that resemble Shoji screens.

The kitchen has a white marble island with a breakfast bar, a fire-engine-red Smeg refrigerator, and the hexagonal-tiled bathroom features a walk-in shower. 

Outside, there’s an elegant lap pool, hot tub, and seating area for watching the sunset with a glass of wine. Walk beyond the house to meet local cows, alpacas, and sheep, and you’ll be rewarded with views all the way to San Francisco.  

Find more Airbnbs near California wineries

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Beaches and Coasts

Cliffside cabin in Trinidad Bluffs

Trinidad Bluffs cabin
This cabin is located at the edge of the bluff with full 180-degree ocean views.

Book this Trinidad cabin on Airbnb

Southern California’s beaches may be better known, but high up in Northern California are more remote, rugged, and spectacular stretches of beaches and coastlines where you will find crowd-free tranquility and cooler air year-round.

This cabin in Trinidad is located at the edge of the bluff above the sea, with full 180-degree ocean views. It has easy access to redwoods, beaches, lagoons, hiking, boating, and many more activities in the natural environment.

The rustic cabin is set up like a studio, with wooden walls and flooring. Inside is a fireplace, a basic kitchen, and sliding doors that open to a deck with chairs for admiring those views.

Secluded retreat in Santa Barbara

Screen_Shot_2020 06 15_at_3.25.52_PM
Stay near downtown Santa Barbara in this posh home in the tony neighborhood of Montecito.

Book this Santa Barbara home on Airbnb

Take a romantic coastal drive to the Santa Barbara area and settle into this 717-square-foot ultra-posh Montecito retreat. It has a Queen-sized bed, a big living room with a sleeper sofa, fireplace and kitchenette, a private guest laundry room, and even a bathroom with steam. 

The home is located on the bottom floor of the host’s tri-level home with a separate entrance at the side yard, but it feels quite private. A seasonal creek surrounds the large wraparound wooden deck, fully ensconcing you in nature, and the home offers easy access to great nearby hiking trails, and beautiful Butterfly Beach is a five-minute drive away.

Scenic mountain home in Carmel near Big Sur

Screen_Shot_2020 06 15_at_11.06.47_AM
Savor Big Sur views and the raw natural environment in serenity and privacy.

Book this Big Sur home on Airbnb

The coastline around Big Sur is the stuff of screen savers and the cliffs make for an awe-inspiring if harrowing road trip. Here, it’s all about the views and the raw natural environment, and this rental lets you take savor both in serenity and privacy. View tons of stars at night, hear the birds sing, and watch the red-tailed hawks circling above.

Arrive via a private paved and gated driveway to this home with a full 365-degree view of redwoods and oak ridges; it enjoys full sun all day long. The listing is just right for a solo traveler or a couple with two bedrooms, each with a Queen-sized bed. There are also lawn chairs, an outdoor fireplace, and a distinctly indoor-outdoor vibe.

Find more Airbnb homes on California’s beaches and coast

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner Desert

Stardust Oasis guest house in Palm Springs

Stardust Oasis guest house in Palm Springs
This ultra-mod home is quintessential Palm Springs.

Book this Palm Springs house on Airbnb

A visit to Palm Springs is all about midcentury modern lodging, and this tricked-out guest house fits the bill perfectly with 60s-style curated furnishings and a palette of the era including turquoise, yellow, and olive green.

This LGBTQ-owned and operated, 270-square-foot listing is set up like a hotel room with a private entrance, patio, fire pit, lounge area, outdoor shower, and small kitchenette (no stove) — all private. It’s just right for couples or solo travelers but no kids are allowed.

You’ll get DirecTV on a 55-inch 4K Samsung, an open closet with drawers to unpack, and a bathroom with a large rainfall shower. The King-size bed has a memory foam mattress for great sleep quality.

Midcentury home with a pool in Palm Springs

Screen_Shot_2020 06 16_at_9.16.38_AM
This home with a private pool is worth the splurge for more space to spread out.

Book this Palm Springs house on Airbnb

For the full Palm Springs getaway experience, you’re going to want to rent a home in the vibrant midcentury modern style for which the town is famous.

This two-bedroom, two-bathroom home is in the desirable Ruth Hardy Park/Movie Colony East neighborhood with views of the dramatic San Jacinto mountains, and room for four adults. An additional two children can fit in the foldout sofa in the living room.

The entertainment setup includes Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming channels. But you’ll probably spend most of your time outdoors in the sleek saltwater pool, spa, and lounging area. 

Off-the-grid house in Pioneertown

Off the grid House in Pioneertown
Step away from society in this eco-friendly home with minimal Wi-Fi and no TVs.

Book this Pioneertown house on Airbnb

Pioneertown offers total remoteness. Out of sight in the California high desert, this sequestered refuge has no TVs, only satellite Wi-Fi for emergency communication. Guests are meant to instead soak in views of the desert with floor-to-ceiling windows in almost every room. Not only is the architecture stunning, but the property is eco-conscious, powering energy and hot water entirely using solar panels.

The modern and minimalist design also includes a petite kitchen island next to an expansive dining table and a living room with a hanging fireplace that serves as a focal point. A shaded outdoor patio is set between this part of the home and two bedrooms, one with a King-size and one with a Queen-size Casper mattress, where you can enjoy panoramic views from bed.  

Find more great Palm Springs Airbnbs and more of the best desert Airbnbs

Travel Hotel Reviews Banner National Parks

Tiny house in Yosemite

Screen_Shot_2020 06 16_at_9.00.00_AM
This cheaply-priced tiny home is a half-hour from the entrance to Yosemite.

Book this tiny house in Yosemite on Airbnb

When visiting Yosemite National Park, the goal should be to spend as much time absorbing wide-open nature and the jaw-dropping beauty of famed peaks like Half Dome and El Capitan as possible, not cooped up in your lodging.

That’s why a tiny house is a perfect complement to such a trip. This one is located just about 30 minutes from the park entrance and is also a great launchpad to explore Bass Lake. And there are llamas to boot.

With this listing, you’ll receive access to the whole tiny house, which includes a bathroom with a hot shower, a flushing toilet, and a sink. The downstairs bedroom has a Queen-sized bed in a room done up in cozy farmhouse style that feels wholly welcoming despite the diminutive size. Plus, you can feel good about booking here: 15 percent of the proceeds from this listing will support three charities: Thistle Farms, Equal Justice Initiative, and Charity Waters.

See more tiny homes for rent on Airbnb

Guest house near Sequoia National Park

Mineral King guest house
This home overlooks spectacular scenery, horses, and wildlife.

Book this house near Sequoia National Park on Airbnb

This beguiling, tranquil cabin is situated on the way to the Mineral King area of Sequoia National Park, with lodging and a fenced garden that overlooks spectacular scenery such as Moro Rock, Alta Peak, Great Western Divide, and Eagle Rock, plus horses and wildlife. 

This place isn’t suitable for kids, but there’s a King bed as well as a sofa bed for sleeping. Furnishings are rustic and cozy with abundant windows that showcase the dazzling natural environment. The place has central heat and air for year-round appeal, and if you’re thinking about a work-cation, consider that cell service is spotty.

Minimalist home with a hot tub in Joshua Tree

Screen_Shot_2020 06 15_at_6.35.40_PM
This minimalist, industrial home comes with plenty of comforts to enjoy after a day amid nature.

Book this home in Joshua Tree on Airbnb

Admire and adventure through the wide-open spaces of Joshua Tree National Park with this home located minutes from the park entrance. The idea here is to feel lost amid nature; it’s called the Lost House after all.

There’s a hot tub for soaking after hikes and a covered patio for watching sunrises, sunsets, and oh-so-many stars. A hammock triangle in the back allows three to lounge together and the backyard also features a shade structure, a seven-person outdoor couch, and a coal barbecue. Bluetooth speakers, a record player, and various analog games like horseshoes and Frisbee will help keep you busy while remaining unplugged.

Find more great Airbnbs near national parks

FAQ: California Airbnbs

Where should I vacation in California?

Where you visit in California entirely depends on your personal style, taste, and budget. Los Angeles is known the world over for its entertainment industry attractions in Hollywood and beyond; it’s also a multicultural dining and arts haven.

Southern California is home to family-friendly theme parks including Disneyland (Anaheim) and Legoland (Carlsbad). The San Francisco Bay Area is home to stunning bridges, parks, and cultural attractions.

World-class national parks throughout the state include Yosemite and Joshua Tree. Wine countries dot the central state (Paso Robles, San Louis Obispo) and, more famously, farther north (Napa, Sonoma). Spectacular beaches and coastlines span the length of the state — more than 800 miles.

What cities in California are the most popular Airbnb locations?

As noted, expect to find many attractive Airbnbs around some of the most desirable attractions. In the north, this might include wine country in Napa and Sonoma, the mountains of Yosemite and Tahoe, or areas around cities such as San Francisco and San Jose. 

Follow the coast down to places like Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and Santa Barbara. Near Los Angeles, popular rentals can be found throughout Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Hollywood. Venture into the desert and a wide variety of rentals await in Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. Or head down to Baja and explore the San Diego area.

How much does Airbnb cost in California?

Costs for vacation home rentals in California span the full gamut, from ultra-budget friendly to over-the-top celebrity-style spending. The cost will depend on factors such as house size, proximity to the beach, real estate prices in the area, added amenities such as a pool, and the time of year you plan to visit. Although, this last factor is less significant in California than it would be in some other destinations less known for year-round sunshine.

Expect to spend a few hundred dollars on a weekend getaway, and around a thousand for a week-long vacation, though, those figures will rise based on the above factors.

What should I look for in an Airbnb?

Of course, you’ll need an Airbnb that suits your party’s size, ages, and requirements for price and location. But you should also consider factors such as the ones we take into account when compiling our recommendations for readers. This includes positive recent reviews, Superhost status, participation in the COVID-era Enhanced Clean program, and amenities.

What is Airbnb’s cancellation policy?

Cancellation policies on Airbnb are set by each individual host and vary from listing to listing. For a more detailed summary of Airbnb’s cancellation policies, click here.

How do I book a vacation rental in California on Airbnb?

Filter your home search based on location, price, dates of stay, the number of bedrooms, amenities, pet-friendliness, and other qualities and features. When you find a listing you like, check its cancellation policies (as noted above) and the final price including fees.

For more info on how to book an Airbnb, click here.

Is it safe to stay in an Airbnb during COVID?

The CDC now says fully vaccinated people can safely travel in the US.

Additionally, experts say that private Airbnbs are safe, and can be a reassuring lodging option compared to hotels amid the pandemic. That’s because these stays minimize interactions with other guests and staff.

Airbnb also recently released data underscoring these travel trends. They showed nearly half of 2,200 adult survey respondents in the US prefer their trips to be within 200 miles from home.

Plus, Airbnb hosts are required to follow enhanced cleaning procedures. That said, there remains an inherent risk to traveling and we recommend following CDC guidelines, practicing social distancing, masking, and washing hands frequently whenever you travel.

How we selected the best Airbnbs in California

  1. Airbnb listing is for the entire home to ensure social distancing and eliminate awkward hallway encounters.
  2. Each home is committed to Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean program, a five-step cleaning process developed in partnership with health and hospitality experts. 
  3. All are highly-rated, well-located Airbnb listings with a rating as close to 5.0 as possible.
  4. All homes are listed by Superhosts to ensure a positive experience.
  5. Homes boast exceptional design, charm, and amenities tailored to each location, from a pool in Palm Springs to a deck with mountain views in Big Bear. 
  6. Homes offer an affordable price range, starting at $107 for a Yosemite tiny home and rising to $304 for a Palm Springs getaway with a private pool.

More great Airbnbs on the West Coast

Airbnb California contemporary beachfront Malibu Condo
Read the original article on Business Insider