Picking a vacation rental property over a pricey hotel may sound like the best way to vacation on a budget, but if you don’t do your research you could find yourself paying Four Seasons prices for a falling-apart barn.
Read on for some savvy tips on keeping vacation rental costs down and you’ll be living the local life in style on your next trip.
Location, Location, Location
Rather than going straight for the center of town, take some time to research your destination. Is there a cool, up-and-coming neighborhood where rental prices are lower? You’ll often find the best deals there, as well as easy access to the trendy bars and restaurants.
Don’t forget to make the most of your host or landlord too and ask for their insider tips on the most underrated things to see, do and eat in their hometown. They're usually more than happy to share their favorite places!
Explore our Best Travel Apps for Finding Things to Do on Vacation page to for tools that can help you integrate in the local culture by finding locals to hang out with, take you on tours, local events and more.
Be Flexible About Dates
While searching for your dream vacation pad, try to be flexible on dates. Prices for flights and rentals can be a staggering nine times higher during school holidays, so skip the August peak season if you can and aim to travel in June before schools finish or late September after the kids go back – often known as shoulder seasons.
If you have to travel between these months, it pays to be organized. Try to book your accommodation as far in advance as possible and be super flexible on dates to bag your bargain.
Stay aware of big events in your destination too, as sporting finals, festivals, and parades can trigger huge price hikes—as well as meaning you’ll potentially be sharing the packed bars and restaurants with crowds of chanting fans!
Also read: Save Big with an Off-Season Beach Week
Avoid Hidden Costs
Once you’ve got the right dates and narrowed down your search area, it’s time to keep track of those sneaky hidden costs. From admin fees to excess baggage charges, they can add up and push your trip from budget to blow-out. Avoid the cost by packing less (try channeling the minimalist style), picking a vacation rental with a washing machine, and eating breakfast at home to save on expensive cafe croissants and coffee.