Booking a beach getaway is exciting. But when you start looking at the prices on vacation homes, that excitement may screech to a sudden halt.
If you find yourself stressing over the cost of renting a vacation home for a week, stop and take a deep breath. Our friends at Outer Beaches Realty are sharing some expert, insider tips today on how to bring those rental costs down.
Decide What You Want in a Vacation Home Rental
Do you want to be able to step right out onto the sand? How many bedrooms will you need to house everyone that’s coming with you? Do you need a pet-friendly property? Are the kids going to freak out if there’s not a pool?
Look at these things first; nothing’s worse than getting excited about a property’s price tag only to find out that it doesn’t meet your needs.
This is especially important if you’re traveling with someone with mobility issues. A lot of beach properties are elevated on stilts, so even if they have an elevator it may not go to the ground floor. Be sure to ask extra questions when you book since being labelled “handicap accessible” doesn’t necessarily mean it will suit your exact needs.
Look for Companies with All-Inclusive Rates and Zero Booking Fees
Another way to hedge price disappointment is to make sure the properties you are considering are rented by a company whose rates are all-inclusive and doesn’t charge booking fees.
Advertised rates can be hundreds of dollars less than what you actually end up paying after booking fees. If the extras that drew you to the vacation home are a la carte, you can tack on even more.
Follow Realty Companies on Social Media
Want to find up-to-the-minute deals? One of the best ways to do this is to follow realty companies on social media. For example, right now if you follow Outer Beaches on Twitter and Facebook, you’ll see that they have their Golden Ticket promotion live. All you have to do is request a brochure before January 31 and you’re entered into a drawing for $1,000 off your rental.
Another great way to catch these deals is to sign up to realty companies’ email lists. That way they’re delivered right to your inbox.
This is probably the most effective way to trim your costs once you’ve found a suitable summer property. But tread with caution: if you spend too much time waiting for that “perfect” deal, someone else may just grab up your perfect property before you actually book.
Book Early and Use Payment Plans
If you can’t stand the risk of waiting, you can always book early and use a payment plan to spread your costs over multiple months. Outer Beaches gives a 5% discount on advance year bookings and offers payment plans that span 3-12 months.
Five percent may not seem like a lot, but when you consider how much money you’ll be spending on a vacation home for a week, you start to realize that the savings adds up quickly, even with a seemingly “small” percentage.
With Outer Beaches specifically, five percent could save you up to $725—not exactly chump change!
Book Your Vacation Home During Shoulder Season
Want to save a ton of money? Go on your trip in May before Memorial Day or September after Labor Day. In the Outer Banks and most vacation destinations, all the shops and attractions are already open, but there’s less tourists to compete for so prices are incredibly low.
Not only do you get a discount on everything from a vacation home rental to tchotchke shops, but the weather is also still idyllic if you’re visiting a southern beach. You get the same experience with less crowds and lower costs.
My Favorite Reasons to Book a Vacation Home
There’s a reason we decided to rent a home when we went on our trip last year.
Even though the price tag may look big at first, it’s actually a cost-effective way to stay at the beach. It’s way cheaper than getting everyone individual hotel rooms.
We also didn’t pay a lot for entertainment as we had lots of entertainment on site for the adults and kids that didn’t involve watching TV. We had a pool, a basketball hoop and a billiards table—and never once heard, “I’m bored!”
Then there’s the second biggest expense that comes with vacation: food. Because we had a full kitchen with lots of storage and a full set of pots, pans and plates, we cooked almost all of our meals ourselves. If all we had was a mini-fridge, we would have been dropping copious amounts of cash on eating out.
Have you ever booked a vacation home rental? How did you save money?
*We received a discount on this Outer Beaches property thanks to a partnership with this blog. Regardless, all content and opinions are 100% honest and my own.*