Finding the Best Vacation Rental Deals

You've got the vacation days saved up. You have the kids' schedules. You know what your budget is, and you have some idea where you'd like to go. Chances are that by now you already know staying in a vacation rental is your most affordable option. The next step, obviously, is booking the vacation itself – but before you do, read these tips to make sure you find the best vacation rental deals!

Rent early.

cheap family vacationGet off to a good start by booking your vacation rental as soon as possible, sometimes up to a year in advance. Some locations are so popular that this is the only way to guarantee that you can stay where you want before someone else claims it. Since you're renting early, you'll have your pick of vacation rental homes, which means you can find the good deals before someone else does.

On the other hand – rent late!

Sometimes waiting until the last minute lets you reap the benefits if someone else has canceled, or if a vacation rental owner is desperate to book a rental that would otherwise be empty. This is riskier, which means it's better if you're staying close to home and don't have to fly to reach your destination. If you wind up booking a spontaneous vacation at the last minute, take heart knowing that you can still find good deals this way. You may just have to look a little harder and contact a few different owners to see what you can work out.

Pick a less common or less popular place, or a less popular time.

You may have to sacrifice some degree of comfort, but the savings can't be beat. Bonus points if you're looking for privacy – plenty of lake house rentals in lesser-known areas will give you the seclusion you crave. Vacations are almost universally cheaper off of peak season, and vacation rentals are no exception. Not only will you have less competition in choosing a place to stay, owners are often happy to give you extra incentives so they can make sure their rental isn't sitting empty and unused.

Stay during the week instead of on the weekend.

Because most people want to take vacations on weekends, vacation rental owners can charge a premium for those days. Time your vacation right and you can enjoy cheaper mid-week rates. This may be less convenient, but if you're traveling on a budget, you might want to weigh convenience vs. cost and see what's right for you.

Take advantage of extended stay discounts.

If you want to book a long-term vacation, you can often negotiate special discounts from vacation rental owners who would appreciate the security of knowing their home will be rented out. Any time you plan a trip that's longer than a week or two, check with the owner to see if you can get a discount. As long as you're polite, it never hurts to ask!

Where you stay, when you stay, and when you book all make a difference in how affordable your vacation accommodations will be. With enough planning, you can find the perfect vacation rental to house the entire family and still leave enough money in your budget to cover all the fun things you'd like to do. Save money for the full park experience with an off-season Disney area rental home, or opt for an off-the-beaten-path Lake Travis rental cabin in Texas.

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