How to find the best vacation rental deals


Almost everyone is a victim of bargain hunting – and the search for an irresistible holiday deal is no different. From discount codes, coupons and promotions to seasonal trends, deals, rewards and travel tips – there are endless ways to save precious pennies when booking a vacation rental. No matter the budget, these bargain-hunting hacks could help savvy vacationers land the best deals for their next dream vacation rental.

Book early

The very first rule to reduce rental costs is to book early. Like hotels, vacation rental owners don’t like their properties sitting empty, so they normally reward early risers with lower prices. Last-minute bookings also tend to cost more due to a sense of urgency, meaning rushed holidaymakers are forced to pay a higher price out of desperation to avoid missing out.

Rental owners also love repeat customers – not only because it brings them revenue, but also because it’s a compliment. A returning guest means they enjoyed their stay so much that they couldn’t resist coming back. And, with multiple stays, many dollars are saved.

It is common for repeat customers to be offered generous discounts as a token of gratitude. If no offer is forthcoming, politely let the manager know you’re a returning customer and they’ll likely get a benefit or two out of pocket.

Related: Vacation Rentals Are Soaring, And This Is What You Should Do Before You Book

Avoid weekend and evening shopping – Book during the week

Most bookings take place on weekends and evenings when the majority of the population is not working and has free time to shop for their next vacation. That’s why many vacation rentals raise their prices on the weekends when more people are browsing and booking – hotels, airlines and other travel agencies often work the same sneaky way. To avoid these nifty but naughty tricks, buy your vacation rental — plus flights, trains, and vacation experiences — during weekdays before night falls.

Booking a midweek stay

Weekend getaways are generally more popular as this is when most people are free to work. Usually this means that prices are higher for weekend bookings – as well as during holidays. So, to save money, consider booking a midweek stay and avoid Friday through Sunday when prices are normally highest.

Book out of season

If weather isn’t an issue, customers can save a ton by taking a vacation outside of a particular destination’s high season. Low season is significantly cheaper, although the weather may be less inviting and some attractions may not be available. However, this is not always the case, and what’s more, visitors can avoid the crowds and still enjoy a vacation at a lower cost.

Additional Hacks for Duration Deals

stay longer

It is a general rule that longer stays are rewarded with lower prices in many cases. Normally, the longer the stay, the cheaper the cost per night, so it might be a good idea to opt for a slightly longer holiday than planned, especially if the weather is flexible. Plus, who doesn’t want a longer vacation? If taking advantage of a longer vacation reduces the price per night, there is no excuse not to spend the money!

Doing a quick internet search for a more “vacation rental” destination will bring up a myriad of options. But don’t settle for the first – choose several that tickle your fancy, have all the necessary amenities and fit your budget, while comparing their prices and features.

Savvy shoppers also use holiday price comparison sites to further narrow their search. This will not only help travelers get the best price, but also weed out ideal rentals that fit their particular needs.

Check other locations in the area

Being determined to stay close to popular attractions will cost a lot more. But those who don’t mind being a little further from the area’s hotspots will benefit from lower prices. Guests can still enjoy the beach, downtown, or any other area attraction without having it right on their doorstep.

Instead of renting a beachfront property or a home in the heart of town, try opting for a vacation rental that’s a bit out of the way but still within walking or driving distance of local attractions – that way you can save a lot of money.

Checking discounts and cashback offers

Savvy shoppers know the value of coupons and codes and never skimp on finding the top secret promotions. It’s very easy to find cashback codes and offers online – some of which the vacation rental websites themselves don’t tell customers about.

Never forget to do a quick internet search for discount codes, offers, promotions and coupons for the booking site used. It takes a few minutes and can lead to huge price reductions in most cases.

Buyers can also view various cashback websites to see if any vacation rental sites are registered to return cash on purchase. Sites like TopCashBack, Ebates, Coupon Cactus, etc. sometimes offer a generous refund percentage if a vacation rental is booked through them.

It also doesn’t hurt to negotiate politely with the manager or owner to get a better price. Some rental owners offer seasonal promotions and discounts and are sometimes willing to change prices, cleaning and booking fees.

To further increase the chances of getting a bargain, find a few similar rentals with lower prices to justify any discount requests. Also, if the owner owns multiple properties, they may be able to offer a less expensive alternative. Ultimately, managers don’t want empty rentals, so it always pays to ask for benefits before booking.

Whether you book through a private rental company, an agent or a vacation rental website, it is often likely that various discounts are available. Of course, buyers can ask rental owners for a discount (it’s okay to ask politely!) but there are also specific discounts to keep in mind.

Check to see if there are discounts for students, seniors, people with disabilities, children and families – some sites even waive the booking fee for certain customers. Some vacation rental sites also offer compensation to those who book in bulk – large families, groups of friends, schools, sports teams and group travelers can often enjoy incredible deals, especially if you book several vacation homes.

Use credit cards with rewards

Many credit card companies offer offers and discounts to their customers – often in the form of redeemable points to be used on various vacation rentals, hotels, airline websites, etc. Therefore, it pays to research credit and rewards card providers well in advance and choose one that turns spending, points, and loyalty into vacation perks and discounts.

Related: The Tried and True Grocery Guide to Stocking Your Vacation Rental Home

Explore Vacation Rental Apps

These days, travelers book with a smartphone, which is why vacation rental sites like Airbnb put everything in their apps. Sometimes they offer exclusive offers and discounts to customers who book through their app – so before buying online or through an agent, be sure to check vacation rental apps first to see what’s on offer .

Be realistic and assess how many amenities are really needed to enjoy a vacation home. Most guests don’t spend much time in a rental property anyway – they explore the area and its attractions! Don’t end up paying for amenities and luxuries that won’t be used – instead opt for more basic amenities to save some extra cash.

Although finding an incredible rental at an even more incredible price seems unbelievable, it is advisable to be careful. There are indeed great deals online, but unfortunately some travelers pay a high price if they fall victim to a vacation rental scam. This can happen when someone steals photos of a rental property and presents it as their own, even though they don’t own it.

These scammers seem legit and usually offer a contract to sign demanding a security deposit or payment. Everything seems fine until the oblivious guest arrives for their stay and finds out there is no reservation and the scammer has disappeared with their money.

Next: Vacation Rentals Vs. Traditional Hotels: Why Choose One Over Another?

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