This summer, a day trip to the beach won’t suffice: you’ll want to wake up to the sound of the waves and spend an entire week playing in the sand. Staying at a beach house is an annual tradition for some vacationers. Scrolling through vacation rental sites seeking beach properties available during the peak of summer can be overwhelming for individuals who don’t have access to a second property.
To make things a little easier, Natalia Sutin, VP of Revenue Management for newly combined vacation rental companies TurnKey and Vacasa, has provided eight ideas on choosing the perfect beach house for your vacation.
Decide if it’s worth it to live on the water.
Before you book, consider whether paying a little more for the ease of strolling to the beach (either a few blocks or just a few steps!) is worth it. “According to our 2021 Vacation Rental Search Report, the amenity filters for waterfront and ocean view vacation rentals are the most popular on Vacasa.com, so places on the shore will typically have a higher nightly fee than a similar property even a few blocks away,” explains Sutin.
It’s simply a matter of prioritizing your vacation activities. “Many customers prefer to pay for such access because they value convenience,” she adds. “However, if cost is your primary issue, walking or driving to the beach is worth it.”
The larger your group, the sooner you should book.
Booking a holiday property in advance gives you more alternatives in general, but it’s especially crucial if you want to share a house with 20 of your closest friends. “Larger vacation rentals tend to book up first,” Sutin notes, “whereas smaller houses well-suited for last-minute family trips will more frequently be available closer to arrival.” “And that makes sense when you think about how much planning goes into a large group excursion.”
The median booking window was 35 to 40 days, according to the company’s 2021 Vacation Rental Search Report. So, if you’re looking for a larger home, you’ll want to get ahead of the game and start looking at least a few months ahead of time.
Consider Newbie Houses if you’re looking for a good deal.
Searching for freshly listed vacation rentals new to a vacation rental site is a lesser-known approach to saving a little money. “Holiday properties that are just getting their calendars filled—and amassing guest reviews—often command a lower price than vacation rentals that book up every season,” explains Sutin.
However, if there aren’t many reviews, you’ll have to perform extra verification. “Make sure the booking site contains high-quality photographs, or even 3-D tours, as Vacasa.com does,” Sutin advises, “to get a true sense of the home.”
If you’re looking for a vacation, broaden your search.
Have you set your sights on catching a wave during Memorial Day or the Fourth of July? It’s critical to prepare ahead, and it’s even better to think about visiting several beach communities. “When your dates aren’t changeable, be somewhat flexible with your location,” Sutin advises. “Looking up and down the Oregon Coast rather than just in Lincoln City, or looking for properties in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, rather than just in Myrtle Beach, will greatly broaden your holiday rental alternatives.”
It also helps to be flexible with vacation dates.
Consider checking in on a weekday rather than the normal Friday through Sunday excursion to get a cheaper rate for a short trip. “If you’re going to take a few days off anyhow,” she says, “you might be able to obtain a cheaper rate staying Saturday through Tuesday rather than Thursday through Sunday.”
Use the Amenity Filters to help you find what you’re looking for.
Can’t imagine going on a vacation without your canine companion? Have you ever wished for a beach villa with a hot tub or a private pool? Or are you looking for a seaside property that isn’t a behemoth? Sutin emphasizes that using amenity filters, which allow you to search for homes based on the number of rooms and home type, can help you narrow down your options and save time.
Take into account condo vacations.
When you’re looking for a beach property for just you and your immediate family (or a couple of friends), it can feel like every ad has ten bedrooms. If that’s the case, you might want to reconsider your plans.
“While there are beach markets where larger residences dot most of the coastline—for example, the Outer Banks in North Carolina—there are plenty other beach markets with a wide assortment of condos suited for smaller parties and families,” says Sutin. “Vacation rental condominiums abound in Ocean City, Maryland, and Hilton Head, South Carolina, is another destination that may surprise you with a decent mix of vacation houses and condos.” Condo listings have their own set of benefits: they are frequently waterfront structures, which means you’ll have a great ocean view, and there may be shared amenities such as pools.
Don’t be fooled by a Scam Listing.
One essential piece of advice from Sutin is always to make sure you’re renting a beach house through a trustworthy service before spending hundreds or thousands of dollars. “Avoid platforms like Craigslist that don’t provide the same verification level,” she advises.