October 1, 2016

5 Tips to Get the Best Deal on a Vacation Rental

5 Tips to Get the Best Deal on a Vacation RentalGet the Best Deal on a Vacation Rental

Summer vacation is just around the corner, so now is the time to start thinking about booking your summer rental whether a beach cottage, a lake house or an apartment in the city. It’s also the time to start thinking about how to get the best deal on a vacation rental for your stay.

Staying in a vacation rental can be a smart way to save money, particularly when traveling as a family. We often stay in vacation rentals. But there is a strategy to ensuring you score a great deal. Here are five ways to keep more cash in your wallet when you’re ready to book your vacation rental. 

1. Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate. When shopping around for a vacation rental, you may see one price listed as the nightly or weekly rate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pay that price. If you see a property that interests you, reach out to the owner or property manager to express your interest and ask for a lower rate. Or, reach out and suggest a rate you are willing to pay.

If you choose to negotiate, be prepared to walk away or ultimately accept the rental price on the listing. Some owners and property managers may not be willing to budge on the price if your dates coincide with a major event or holiday, like Mardi Gras or Spring Break.

2. Consider Rentals Just Outside of Town. There’s no question that vacation rentals in the city center and close to popular attractions, like museums and theme parks, will have higher nightly and weekly rates. Many may even have minimum stay requirements.

We loved this Galveston condo that we booked through FlipKey.

We loved this Galveston condo that we booked through FlipKey.

But if you look outside of town, a few neighborhoods or cities away from the primary tourist areas, you may be able to score more affordable rental homes and condos. While opting for a rental outside of town may limit your ability to walk from place to place, you may enjoy the serenity of a home outside city limits.

3. Book Early. If you’ve already decided where you want to go for summer vacation, start looking and be prepared to book now for the best prices and selection of rentals. You may even find that you are able to negotiate on price, particularly with owners or property managers who would rather book you now at a reduced rate than scramble down the line to ensure the home does not sit empty that week.

The patio on our vacation rental in Galveston was so spacious and relaxing.

The patio on our vacation rental in Galveston was so spacious and relaxing.

If you choose to book early, look closely at the rental agreement so you’re clear on the cancellation policy. Months down the road, should you choose to cancel your booking — maybe your plans change or you find an even better place to stay — you’ll want to be able to easily exit the arrangement without paying a penalty.

4. Book Late. If you’re flexible with your vacation dates or traveling during the off-season, you can find plenty of deals when you book late. You’ll find more owners willing to negotiate on rates, as well as properties on vacation rental sites like FlipKey and HomeAway.

Our vacation rental was in a small condo community. It was quiet and the views were fantastic.

Our vacation rental was in a small condo community. It was quiet and the views were fantastic.

In exchange for the potential savings, you’ll need to be flexible in terms of location, views, amenities and property types (e.g., condo, cabin, single-family home). For example, if you’re set on staying in a Victorian-style home in the heart of a historic district, plan on booking early rather than booking late.

5. Search Multiple Sites. It can be time-consuming to hunt down the perfect vacation rental, so consider using a site that aggregates all of the rentals posted on the Web. Try Tripping.com to see listings from multiple vacation rental sites all in one place. When you’re ready to see more details about a particular property or even book your stay, you can click through to the listing on the origin website.

How do you find the best deal on a vacation rental for your stay?


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