Vacations don’t have to cost so much that you spend the month after you return paying it off. Resorts, travel agents and travel sites like to give you small tips to save a little money on your trip to justify their services. Here are four ways to save big on your vacation rental.
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Stay in Someone Else’s Home
There are two major ways to save on vacation rentals. One is to rent someone else’s timeshare or vacation cottage at a fraction of the rate of resort rentals. Another option is to rent someone’s home while they are away on their vacation. Sites like Airbnb let you rent someone’s home whether they are there or not; be careful of services like these, since their rental rates may or may not be cheaper than the resorts since the odds are people are willing to rent out their guest room at market rates when demand is high. Do be careful about scams, such as people listing properties for rent they don’t actually own. One of the red flags is being sent a contract in the mail and asked to send cash or a check instead of paying through a reputable website.
Ask About Discounts
While resorts and hotels promote their own loyalty program as a discount option, it isn’t the only one available to you. Discounts range from discounts based on the credit card you use to reserve the accommodations to memberships like AAA, NRA and AARP. Ask about discounts available to you based on memberships and apply the one that gives you the best discount. If the hotel manager is generous or desperate for business, you may see two or more discounts applied or your accommodations upgraded. Don’t forget to ask the manager if they have offbeat options available at a discount.
Consider the Cost of the Amenities
If you’re going to a hotel near the beach, don’t pay more for a hotel with a luxurious pool. Consider how much or how little time you’ll be spending in the hotel room, and don’t pay more for a hotel room with lots of space if you’re only there to crash at night. Conversely, if you’ll be spending a week at the hotel room, paying for a kitchenette where you could prepare meals could be worth it if it saves you a fortune on eating out. Before you rent the standard three bedroom house out, consider looking for a cheaper bungalow for rent.
Being flexible on travel dates can save you a fortune. Traveling in May before school lets out or September after many families go back to school and work makes family friendly destinations much cheaper and far less crowded. Those with a flexible schedule will find hitting Hawaii or Colorado during the off season saves significant money. Sites like www.snowmassvacations.com allow you to compare the savings you could see simply by staying Monday through Thursday versus the standard Friday through Sunday. Another way to save money is looking for accommodations away from the resort itself. While Disney hotels offer convenience, staying at a hotel near Disney and arranging transportation could save you hundreds of dollars. And always comparison shop before you sign up for anything.
You may be able to save a lot of money by staying in someone’s home, though this opens you up to possible scams and may not be the cheapest option. Ask for discounts and shop your options before you book your hotel accommodations. Finally, research how much you could save by trimming a few amenities or shifting when you visit a location. See more here.