The excitement is setting in as you begin gearing up for your next vacation. Where will you go? What will you do while you’re there? Who’s going to tag along on your next great adventure?
Since you’ve landed on this article, you’re likely considering HomeAway, one of the largest vacation rental platforms in the world, as your accommodation of choice.
Your trip can’t come soon enough, however, the cost of your trip may be worrying you. There must be some ways to save money on your HomeAway booking, perhaps even a promo code you can use to make your vacation rental a little cheaper.
Luckily we’re here to give you a few pointers on how you can increase savings and maximize your travel experiences while you’re off on your next trip.
Does HomeAway Offer Promo Codes?
Let’s cut right to the chase — no, HomeAway doesn’t currently offer promo codes or discount codes for booking your next rental property. As a matter of fact, there isn’t even an option to add a HomeAway coupon code, even if you found one somewhere online.
Across the web, there are many coupon sites and promotional services that claim they have HomeAway promo codes and VRBO coupons, but really none of them will work on HomeAway.com.
We won’t go as far as saying that all of these websites are scamming you, but we will say that it’s somewhat of a bait and switch to get you to use their service or frequent their site.
It seems as though at some point HomeAway offered customers promo codes which they could use when checking out, but those times have come and gone.
Another discounting instrument that HomeAway once used was a price match guarantee, which would match competitors’ pricing on identical listings from their platforms. That too has gone by the wayside and is no longer available to customers.
Since HomeAway has done away with these two special offers, how are you expected to save a few bucks and cushion the blow on your wallet?
We compiled a list of seven ways you can save on your next HomeAway booking. Some of these tips are tactics you can use during the booking process and others are meant to save you cash while you travel.
Before we get into it, if you’re new to HomeAway, make sure to check out our Definitive Guide to HomeAway if you have any questions.
1. Compare Prices to Other Booking Platforms
The first thing you can do to maximize your savings is to always cross-shop with other booking platforms. Nobody says you absolutely have to use HomeAway, so don’t be shy while doing your research.
There are plenty of comparable competitors out there, like Airbnb and TripAdvisor, that also allow you to rent entire homes for you and your family. It’s best to do your due diligence to ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible.
Sometimes, these other sites may even have the same exact property listings at a cheaper price. In other cases, the fees to use the platform might be less than the other, which leads us to our next tip — minimizing your booking fees.
2. Minimize Booking Fees
Keeping an eye out for steep booking fees can greatly reduce what you end up spending on your final booking.
Booking fees are the bane of our existence. You find a great vacation home, you love the pictures, it has the perfect amount of space for the whole family, and then right at the end, you’re slapped in the face with extra charges and fees.
These charges might include service fees, which tend to be right around 10 percent of your total, and cleaning fees which are decided on by the property owner and tend to be all over the map.
Also, even though you don’t have control over this one, make sure you don’t forget to factor in taxes.
Take the time to hunt for properties that have lower fees. You’ll get the same type of property at a better deal. Another way to help you lock in a deal is to stay at one property for a longer period of time.
3. Stay Longer
Since the booking and cleaning fees that we just mentioned are a one-time fee, you can extend your stay to lessen the blow of those charges.
For instance, if you only stayed one night at a beach vacation rental in the Gulf Shores of Florida for $100 and the service charges were $30, that’s 30 percent of your total booking. But if you decided to stay for three days, your total would be higher but the $30 service charge would make up a much smaller percentage of your booking total.
Also, when you book longer stays, you gain access to multi-day and weekly rates that owners use to incentivize customers. Weekly rates are quite common, so make sure you mess around with your dates to see if your listing qualifies.
But what if you really love a property but they don’t offer a weekly rate? Should you just give up? There’s actually one more thing you can do before moving on.
4. Bargain With the Owner
If you really love a rental property but would like to see if you could receive a cheaper price or a special deal, it never hurts to bargain with the owner. You can do so by messaging the owner on the listing detail page.
One effective tactic is to ask for a weekly or multi-day rate if it isn’t offered already. This isn’t a whole lot to ask for giving you a good shot at securing a few extra bucks.
Another tactic is to ask for a last-minute deal to ensure the owner can at least receive some profit off their vacant property. If you’re asking about a home to rent tomorrow and it’s not already booked, there’s a good chance that it’ll sit there empty.
If a property owner was smart they’d offer it up at a discount because some profit is better than no profit. We can’t promise that this strategy will work but it’s definitely worth a shot.
5. Travel During the Off-Season
A sure way to find cheap rental properties is to travel when nobody else is traveling. The same rental properties that have sky high prices around the holidays may be 40 percent cheaper, or more, during the off-season.
If you don’t really have a choice and you must travel during peak travel periods, make sure you make your booking as far in advance as possible.
The earlier you book, the better off you’ll be. The best properties that offer the biggest bang for your buck are always the first ones to go. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t leave it until the last minute. You’ll thank us later.
6. Travel to Less Touristy Destinations
Everybody always wants to go to the hottest and trendiest spots in the world. While this is great and all, sometimes it’s alright just to lay back and relax in a much less touristy region of the world.
There are many places in the United States alone that would make for a great family vacation that aren’t necessarily next to all the tourist attractions. You just have to do a little bit of digging and research.
To get you started, here are a few ideas of destinations you can start tinkering with:
- San Diego
- Panama City Beach
- Palm Springs
- Texas Hill Country
- Myrtle Beach
Now there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be next to all the main attractions, but you can have just as much fun with friends and family right in the comfort of your newly rented home.
After all, if you find a killer place in a decent location and have a great group of people with you, who needs to even leave the property!
7. Reduce Travel Costs
Our last tip is to reduce your travel costs in any way that you’re able to. The less money you spend in transit and while you’re there, the more you days you can stay and additional experiences you can purchase.
Some easy ways to cut costs are to bring fewer bags if you’re flying. We like to think that if you can’t fit it in a carry-on bag, then you don’t need it. This might be a little drastic, but hey, give it a try! At least try not to check many bags as baggage fees add up quickly.
If you’re not flying but driving instead, perhaps you could go somewhere not too far away so you can reduce the costs of fuel or even rental vehicle costs.
Another option is to invite more people on your trip. Not only could it make the trip more fun, but you could also split the booking costs with one more person.
Lastly, you can think about cooking your own meals if you have a decent kitchen at your place. Dining out is quite pricey and you could easily put cash back in your pocket if you decided to cook meals at your place.
Get Creative and Save
There are plenty of other ways to save a buck or two when planning, but these should give you a great start.
Even though HomeAway no longer offers promo codes and great vacation rental deals, you can still use some of these tactics to save on your next vacation.
Wherever you plan on going, maybe even all four corners of the world — from Mexico to Italy, or from London to Paris — HomeAway is a great tool for finding amazing private accommodations for your friends and family.
If you ever have any questions or need help using the mobile app, make sure to reach out to HomeAway Customer Service to receive immediate help.
Get started planning your vacation now!