Save on your summer vacation rental

Summer is just around the corner, and it’s time to get organized with summer vacation planning. Generally, the earlier that you book a summer rental, the cheaper it will be. Procrastination can get pricey.

Before starting the booking process, read on for ways to save on your summer rental.

Consider Location

The old adage that real estate prices are determined by the “three Ls” — location, location and location — is true for summer vacation rentals as well. For example, a beachfront rental will cost more than the same property located across the road from the beach. If you have small children, then beachfront might be worth the extra cost, given the safety and convenience of not having to cross the road. Otherwise, you can save a few dollars by putting up with the minor inconvenience of walking to the beach. This is especially relevant if your family will be spending significant time doing non-beach activities nearby, such as enjoying a water park or nearby fairground.

[See: 12 Frugal Ways to Save on Vacation]

Reconsider Your Destination

Location is not just about which side of the road the rental property is on, but also in which part of the country the rental property is located. For example, a July beachfront rental in Myrtle Beach will cost less than half the price of a similar property in Nantucket, according to a search of rental offerings on Vrbo. In Myrtle Beach, you will not be vacationing with beautiful people dressed like they have stepped out of a Ralph Lauren catalog, but you will save a lot of money. Plus, you will be vacationing with beautiful people out of a Harley Davidson catalog if that is more your crowd.

[See: 10 Expenses Destroying Your Budget.]

Invite Friends and Family

With summer vacation rentals, more is not just merrier, but also more frugal. On a per-person basis, it is often cheaper to rent a larger property that can accommodate a larger group. A big group makes it easier for everyone to take turns cooking in the vacation rental’s kitchen instead of eating out at a restaurant. Remember, meals and incidentals can add up to a significant portion of the cost of a summer vacation. Also, vacations with a larger group are a great way to catch up and connect with extended family and friends without having too many awkward one-on-one situations. After all, not everyone wants extended time with the crazy biker uncle who insists on showing everyone his questionable tattoos.

Take a Road Trip

Remember to keep travel costs and hassle in mind when choosing a location for a large group of people. In most situations, it will be cheaper to drive than fly. For example, a family of four can usually travel in one car for much less than the cost of four airline tickets for a similar trip. Even renting a car is usually cheaper than buying plane tickets. However, if you are going across the country, or if you are a frequent flyer and have amassed a stash of airline miles, flying may possibly be cheaper than driving.

[Read: 7 Insider Secrets to Booking Cheap Airfare]

Search Online

Once you have gotten a large group of people together and figured out a location and dates, it is time to get on the internet and search for specific rental properties and availability. Some of the best sites to search for rentals are Vacasa, Airbnb, FlipKey and HomeAway/Vrbo. Each of these sites have their own pros and cons. Although it is best to book early to have the greatest selection, all is not lost if you procrastinate. Occasionally the best deals are last-minute if you can tolerate the inherent uncertainty.

Negotiate

Once you narrow down your selection to a few a vacation rental properties, it is best to get on the phone and speak with the property owner or rental agent to see where there is room for negotiation. For example, weekends are more costly than weekdays, and special weekends such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day are also usually more expensive. Pets may also cost extra. If you can be flexible with dates and weekends and are not bringing along a pet, you may be able to negotiate a better deal.

So get started with summer vacation planning now. If you plan early, get a large group together, choose your location wisely and negotiate hard, you can save money on your summer getaway and may even have enough left for a down payment on the Harley you always wanted.

More from U.S. News

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10 Big Ways to Boost Your Budget — Without Skimping on Your Daily Latte

Save on Your Summer Vacation Rental originally appeared on usnews.com

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