Getting A Bargain Vacation

With summer fast approaching, many travelers are looking to lock in a summer vacation rental and prices could be on their side.
There are plenty of vacation homes on the market thanks to the recession. Travel is down so more owners are putting homes on the market to make a little extra cash or as a last ditch effort if they can't sell. That has made for a very competitive market. Renters will see lots of sales and discounts. Owners are also likely to let you haggle a bit. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com shares tips on finding your bargain destination.

Where to go? Orlando, Florida. If you don't mind the sweltering summer weather, there are lots of options in Orlando and the surrounding areas. Rentals usually have multiple bedrooms and kitchens, so they're great for families. Some of the properties we saw there had discounts of 20% or more. That's like getting a few amusement park tickets free.

Lake Tahoe has destination appeal year round, but it's especially packed in winter for the skiing. The summer rental markets along the California and Nevada shores, though robust, just can't keep up. We saw one property that slashed the usual summer rate of $2,500 a week by 33%.

Maui, Hawaii is a particularly good value as a vacation rental market because you can save thousands compared with what you'd pay for a hotel. Some owners have dropped prices by nearly 50%. Of course, you have to factor in the cost of getting there - a round-trip ticket from Los Angeles ranges from roughly $500 to $900 - which will eat into any savings scored on rental fees.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is on the list, but book fast. The popular beach town still has plenty of rentals, but as the summer nears, it could be overrun by vacationers displaced by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Some rental management companies are offering deals to stay seven nights for the price of five, as well as flat 20% off promotions.

For more information on vacation bargain destinations and other consumer tips click here.
Kelli Grant & Erika Wortham