The good ones go fast.
That’s the sad lesson I learned recently when trying to book a holiday rental in Northern Ireland for the high summer season.
As I procrastinated, trying to figure out our plans, rental after rental disappeared from the online sites I was monitoring, snagged by more organized travelers. The historic lighthouse I thought would be fun for a family stay? Gone! Along with the perfectly positioned, thatched-roof cottage off the Causeway Coast, and the affordable place with the great big lawn and terrific views.
My other obstacle was the timing of the rental. Due to work obligations, I had to fly out on a Sunday night and give a speech in Dublin the Thursday after my first Thursday in country. So the ideal rental would be a Monday to Monday one. Alas, in Ireland, weeklong rentals are usually Saturday to Saturday. The best houses, knowing they will fill up on a regular weekly basis, stick to that schedule religiously, so they don’t risk losing a week’s worth of rent. Consequently, my initial inquiries were all returned with a no; and I was forced to look at the less desireable properties (ie those willing to rent out for “short breaks”).
The take away? Find out what the standard scheduling is for rentals before you book your airfare, and book the lodgings before you air for added flexibility. By leaving the airfare until 3 to 4 months before departure you’re also more likely to get a discounted rate than you would be if you booked well in advance.