How to Get the Best Deal on Vacation Rentals

After owning a vacation rental for several years, I have discovered a few ways folks use to get deals and discounts on their vacation lodging. Here are my ‘insider’ tips.


Unless you are trying to book in high season, you probably have some negotiating power. If you can’t get a reduced rate, perhaps you can request additional amenities (depending on the property), additional days at no extra cost or a discount on a future stay or off season stay.

Be a repeat customer.

Many owners are willing to offer discounts to repeat customers.  If you enjoy going the same place and staying in the same property each year, ask for a discount!

Snag last minute deals.

Like hotels, nights at vacation rentals that don’t book don’t make money. The closer you get to the date you want to stay, the more negotiation room you have to get a reduced price. If you like spontaneity and don’t mind switching up accommodations at the last minute (or possibly not getting any accommodations!), wait until a few weeks prior to your stay to start making inquiries. However, if you wait too long, vacation rental owners and managers sometimes are uneasy about accepting last minute reservations – especially if the renter wants to pay by check.

Be careful too, that the last minute deal will be worthwhile. Check out the reviews and ask questions to make sure the property is in good shape and there are good reasons it hasn’t rented yet.

Some reasons good properties may not be booked early during high season could include:

  • The property has changed owners and just come on the rental market
  • The property has changed managers and had to start fresh with reservations for the season
  • There has been bad weather (such as tornadoes or hurricanes) in the area and it has scared travelers off
  • They economy has made it difficult for people to travel
  • The property has been in remodel mode and just started accepting reservations.

Pick off season dates.

Many vacation properties can be rented at very reasonable prices and for shorter stays or even by the month than in high season. Once the kiddies are back in school, many vacation destinations suffer reduced visitor levels.

My spouse and I always try to travel after school starts but before winter sets in.  The weather is better, you get better deals and there is less traffic!

Pick mid-week dates.

Weekends are obviously more popular during the in between seasons, when travelers are just on a quick get-a-way as opposed to a week long vacation.


If you own a vacation home, try one of the many sites around that facilitate trading homes. You might also be able to trade vacation home time for other things, such as consulting, advertising and etc.

What methods do you use when searching for vacation lodging? How do you get the best value for your dollars?