In this “sharing” economy, sharing vacation rentals is more popular than ever. If you’re thinking of joining with another family or a group of friends for a last-minute getaway, here’s how to save money on your house rental and get along.
- Be strategic. If you have the luxury of staying longer than a week, you might be able to negotiate a better rate. Flexibility also counts. “If you can book at the last minute and you’re flexible with dates and location, you may get a deal. We occasionally run last-minute offers to fill up the final weeks of summer and last-minute availability can provide negotiating leverage,” says Laura Hall of Kid & Coe properties, which has properties in the Hamptons.
- Go direct. “Renting timeshares directly from owners rather than resorts or management companies will save you money,” says Isaac Gabriel, president of EZ Resort Vacations in Dobbs Ferry.
- Pay attention to details. “Look for a rental where the fee includes beach towels, chairs, umbrellas and sometimes equipment for water activities,” says Laurel Greatrix, a spokeswoman for TripAdvisor Rentals in Boston. Not having to pay extra for those things will add up to big savings over the length of your stay. Pick a rental that has access to a washer and dryer, especially if you’re flying. You can pack lighter and avoid paying to check baggage.
Can we all just get along? “Even on vacation, a little personal space is good for the soul and keeps people calm. Make sure the rental has the appropriate bedding for your group and ideally a private balcony or outdoor space so people aren’t crammed together for too long,” says Justin Urich, founder of SoCoastal Vacation Rentals in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Pay up. The last thing you want is arguments about money. Says Urich, “Nobody should ever get stuck footing the bill or having to wait until after vacation to get their money from friends or family that they paid upfront for the accommodations.” A service like PayByGroup can reduce the stress related to group payments by making them easy to manage.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misattributed quotes by Isaac Gabriel and Laurel Greatrix.