Almost everyone is a victim of bargain-hunting - and shopping for an irresistible vacation deal is no different. From discount codes, coupons, and promotions, to seasonal trends, negotiations, rewards, and travel hacks - there are countless ways to save precious pennies when booking a vacation rental. No matter the budget, these deal-hunting hacks might just help savvy holidaymakers bag the very best bargains for their next dream vacation rental.
The very first rule in slashing rental costs is to book early. Like hotels, vacation rental owners don't like their properties sitting empty, so they normally reward early birds 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 guests - not only because it brings income, but also because it's a compliment. A returning guest means they loved their stay so much that they couldn't resist coming back. And, with multiple stays comes multiple bucks saved.
It's common for repeat guests to be offered generous discounts as a sign of gratitude. If no deals are offered, politely let the manager know that you're a returning guest and they'll likely pull a perk or two out of their pocket.
Avoid Weekend And Evening Shopping - Book During The Week
Most bookings occur at the weekend and on an evening 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 up their prices at the weekend when more people are browsing and booking - hotels, airlines, and other travel businesses often work in the same sneaky way. To beat these clever but naughty tricks, shop for your vacation rental - as well as flights, trains, and holiday experiences - during weekdays before the evening comes.
Booking A Mid-Week Stay
Weekend getaways are generally more popular because that's when most people are free from work. Usually, this means that prices are higher for weekend bookings - as well as during holidays. So, to save cash, consider booking a mid-week stay, and avoid Friday to Sunday when prices are normally at their highest.
Book During The Off-Season
If the weather isn't a concern, guests can save a ton by taking a vacation outside a particular destination's peak season. The low season is significantly cheaper, though it's possible that the weather is less inviting and a few attractions may not be available. However, that's not always the case, and what's more, visitors can avoid masses of crowds whilst enjoying a lower-cost vacation.
Additional Hacks For Duration Deals
Stay For Longer
It's 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 vacation than planned - especially if time is flexible. Plus, who doesn't want a longer holiday? If enjoying a longer vacation reduces the nightly price, there's no excuse not to splash the cash!
Doing a quick internet search of a destination plus "vacation rental" will bring up a myriad of options. But don't just go for the first one - pick out several that tickle your fancy, have all the amenities needed, and are within budget, whilst comparing their prices and features.
Smart shoppers also use vacation price comparison sites to narrow their search down even further. This will not only help travelers bag the best price, but also weed out ideal rentals that match their particular needs.
Check Other Locations In The Area
Being dead set on staying near popular attractions is going to cost a lot more. But those who don't mind being slightly further from the region's hotspots will benefit from lower prices. Guests can still enjoy the beach, the city center, or any other attractions in the area without having them right on their doorstep.
Instead of renting a beachfront property or a house in the heart of the city, try opting for a vacation rental that's a little out of the way but still within walking or driving distance to local attractions - much money can be saved as a result.
Checking For Discounts And Cashback Deals
Savvy shoppers know the value of coupons and codes, and never skimp on searching for even the most secretive of promotions. It's very easy to find codes and cashback offers online - some that the vacation rental websites themselves don't tell customers about.
Never forget to do a quick internet search for discount codes, deals, promotions, and coupons for whichever booking website is being used. It takes minutes and can result in enormous price cuts in most cases.
Shoppers can also check out various cashback websites to see if any vacation rental sites are registered to give cash back upon purchase. Sites like TopCashBack, Ebates, Coupon Cactus, and more sometimes offer a generous percentage of money back if a vacation rental is booked through them.
There's also no harm in politely negotiating with the manager or owner to get a better price. Some rental owners have promotions and seasonal discounts and are sometimes willing to budge on price, cleaning, and booking fees too.
To further increase the chances of bagging a good deal, find a few similar rentals with lower prices to justify any discount requests. Plus, if the owner has multiple properties, they may be able to offer a lower-cost alternative. Ultimately managers don't want empty rentals, so it's always beneficial to ask for perks before booking.
Whether booking through a private rental owner, an agent, or a vacation rental website, it's often likely that there'll be various discounts available. Of course, shoppers can ask rental owners for a discount (there's no harm in asking politely!) but there are also specific discounts to keep in mind.
Check if there are reductions for students, senior citizens, handicapped guests, children, and families - some sites even waive the booking fee for certain guests. Some vacation rental sites also provide compensation to those booking in bulk - large families, groups of friends, schools, sports teams, and group travelers can often enjoy incredible bargains, especially if booking multiple vacation homes.
Use Rewards Credit Cards
Many credit card companies trickle deals and discounts to their customers - often in the form of redeemable points to be used on various vacation rentals, hotels, airline websites, and more. Therefore, it's worth researching credit card and rewards card providers well in advance and choosing one that transforms spending, points, and loyalty into vacation perks and discounts.
Check Out Vacation Rental Apps
Travelers these days book with a smartphone, which is why vacation rental sites like Airbnb are putting theirs all into their apps. Sometimes they offer exclusive deals and discounts to customers who book through their app - so before purchasing 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 that much time in a rental property anyway - they're out exploring the local area and its attractions! Don't end up paying for conveniences and luxuries that won't be used - opt for more basic amenities instead to save extra cash.
Whilst finding an amazing rental at an even more amazing price sounds incredible, it's advisable to be wary. There are indeed exceptional deals to be had online, however, unfortunately, some travelers pay a hefty price should they fall victim to a vacation rental scam. This can happen when someone steals photos of a rental property and advertises it as their own, even though they don't actually own the place.
These con artists look legitimate, and will usually offer a contract to sign along with requiring a security deposit or payment. All seems well until the unknowing guest arrives for their stay only to find that there's no booking and the scammer has disappeared with their money.