Vacation Rentals on a Budget: 5 Tips for Finding the Best Deals

Vacation rentals offer a unique way to travel, offering more space, privacy, and comfort than traditional hotels. However, with so many options available, choosing the right vacation rental can be a daunting task.

The costs associated with vacation rentals can vary significantly, depending on the location, season, and amenities. To help you score the best deals on vacation rentals, we have put together 5 tips that are ideal for those who are just starting to plan out their vacation.


Pros and Cons of Vacation Rentals

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of vacation rentals.1


  • More space and privacy than traditional hotels, making them ideal for families and groups of friends
  • A wider range of amenities, such as full kitchens, private pools, and outdoor space
  • A unique and personalized experience that allows you to live like a local
  • Often a more cost-effective option for longer stays or larger groups
  • Ability to cook meals and do laundry, which can save money and provide more convenience


  • Limited staff and services, which means that you may have to take care of tasks like cleaning, laundry, and maintenance yourself
  • May be located in more remote or residential areas, which may make it more difficult to access attractions and amenities
  • Lack of consistency in quality and amenities across different rentals
  • Risk of fraudulent listings or misrepresentation by the owner, especially when booking directly with the owner
  • Potentially higher upfront costs, as some rentals may require a security deposit or upfront payment to secure the booking.

Tip #1: Book Early

Booking early is one of the best ways to find great deals on vacation rentals. Many vacation rentals fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons, such as holidays and summer. Booking early can help you lock in lower rates and have a better selection of rentals to choose from.

Planning far ahead also allows for much more time spent researching and comparing different rental options, which can help you find the best deal. Booking early can also give you peace of mind, knowing that you have secured the rental you want.

Tip #2: Be Flexible with Your Travel Dates

If you’re flexible with your travel dates, you can save money on vacation rentals. The prices of vacation rentals can vary significantly depending on the season, with peak seasons being more expensive than off-peak seasons.

By choosing to travel during the off-peak season, you can save money and still enjoy all the benefits of a vacation rental. You can also consider changing your arrival and departure dates by a day or two, as sometimes even small shifts in your travel dates can make a difference in the price.

Tip #3: Look for Last-Minute Deals

If you’re planning a last-minute vacation, you can still score great deals on vacation rentals. Many vacation rental owners offer last-minute deals to fill empty rental periods. These deals can be a great way to save money, but they may require some flexibility with your travel plans.

Websites like Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway offer last-minute deals on vacation rentals.2 You can also check out rental sites that specialize in last-minute deals, such as Last Minute Cottages and Last Minute Lodges.

Tip #4: Consider Booking Directly with the Owner

Booking directly with the owner of a vacation rental can often be cheaper than booking through a rental agency or website. By cutting out the middleman, you can negotiate a lower rate and avoid service fees.

However, it’s essential to be careful when booking directly with the owner, as there may be fewer safeguards in place to protect you against fraud or misrepresentation. Before booking, ensure that the rental is legitimate and that the owner is reliable. You can also consider reading reviews from previous renters to learn more about the rental and the owner.

Tip #5: Look for Packages

Finally, consider looking for vacation rental packages that include airfare or other amenities.3 Many travel websites offer vacation rental packages that bundle together flights, rental cars, and other activities. These packages can be a great way to save money and simplify your travel planning.

They can also help you find vacation rentals that you may not have found otherwise. For example, some vacation rental packages may offer stays in luxury homes or villas that are not available for individual bookings.

Get More For Your Vacation Dollar!

Vacation rentals can offer a more unique and comfortable travel experience than traditional hotels. However, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of vacation rentals and carefully consider your options to ensure that you find the right rental at the right price.

By booking early, being flexible with your travel dates, looking for last-minute deals, considering booking directly with the owner, and looking for vacation rental packages, you can save money and make the most of your vacation rental experience. With a little research and planning, you can find the perfect vacation rental for your next trip, and enjoy all the benefits that this type of accommodation has to offer.