How to Rent a Vacation Home on a Budget

Looking to save on your next vacation? Everyone wants to get away for cheap, and luckily, with a little research, you can! It’s quickly becoming common knowledge these days that renting a vacation home is cheaper than staying in a hotel, but there are even more ways you can save money by planning ahead and booking smartly. Here are some top tips on how to rent a vacation home on a budget.

1. Book early

The rental market is first-come, first-serve, and like any good deal, the best-priced properties tend to go first. As a general guideline, rentals are generally booked 90 days in advance of stays, but the sooner you book, the more options you’ll have—it’s that simple.

2. Look for deals and promotions

Though we just talked about the value of booking early for the best prices and greatest variety in choice, for our Travel Budget Cheap Tipshigh-risk traders out there, you can sometimes luck out by waiting until near your vacation time to book and reap the benefits of last-minute deals. Property owners are far more willing to negotiate on a price closer to the stay date because they’d rather gain some value than just let the house sit unoccupied.

In addition to last-minute deals, you can find discounted rates and other great promos just by doing a little web surfing. There are several sites, such as Wyndham Vacation Rentals, that feature last-minute deal pages with discounted properties and other great deals.

Also, try asking the owner about discounts directly! If you’re renting a place for more than a week or renting multiple properties from the same person, ask about a price break, or if you return to the same rental multiple times.

Trust us, doing a little digging will be well worth it!

3. Location, location, location

Proximity comes at a price, so look for places further out from the main attractions if you’re looking to save money. For example, renting a house that is only a few blocks from the beach is several hundred dollars cheaper per week (or even night!) than renting one on the beachfront. Staying somewhere in Orlando is going to be cheaper than staying in Disney World. You get the picture.

4. Weight the value of amenities

How much space do you need—really? Do you really want a hot tub or a fire pit, enough to pay more for it? What about yard space? If you know that you do or that you’ll enjoy certain special features, go for it! But everything comes at a price, and you shouldn’t pay for anything more than what you need if you’re operating on a budget.

5. Seek to negotiate—courteously

The saying goes that you’ll catch more flies with sugar, and that rings particularly true in rate negotiations. If you’d like to get the property owner to lower their rates, approach negotiations gently. Property owners are people too, and not all of them rely on renting for income. There have been cases where some owners will elect to leave a particular property vacant rather than rent to a rude or pushy customer!

6. Be flexible with your dates

Rental property prices vary greatly throughout the year, though rates are obviously highest during the peak season of an area. If you can, you should seek to travel before or after whatever the peak season is for the area you’re planning to visit (for American and European destinations, that’s summer for most beaches and December through January for wintery places, though the reverse is true when traveling to Australia and New Zealand). However, even if you can only travel during peak seasons, it is still worth your time to check prices for a couple date ranges since prices vary week-to-week even during peak season.

7. Split the cost with friends

When it comes to rentals, you usually have the option to book the entire house. Why not find some friends to share the space with you and split the cost? Rental owners operate on the logic that unused space in their properties is lost value, and so should you. Get the same bang for fewer bucks by sharing your space and your experience with other travelers. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of having more travel companions along to share the fun you’re ready to have.

Haley Kieser

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