There’s one in every family (or group of friends). That one person who talks all year about a “friend-cation“ or family trip and then fusses about every detail.
We can’t help you decide which restaurants to eat in, or what activities are the most exciting. What we can do is help you figure out how a rental split can work so that every traveler feels happy about the arrangements.
Read on and discover a few creative options for splitting vacation rental costs.
Know Before You Go
First, remember this is a vacation and you’re spending it with people you love. The main goal is going home with awesome memories and relationships intact.
Start with a planning session where you gather ideas from each person. This is the meeting where you also discuss splitting major expenses.
The rental split is only one point of discussion. You should also talk about food costs, transportation, and entertainment.
While spontaneity should always be a part of a vacation, if you can agree on the basics of sharing costs, the trip should go more smoothly.
The Flat Rate Vacation
If you can get everyone on the same page, the flat rate rental is the easiest. Remember that detail minded person we mentioned earlier? This may not work as well for them, but it’s a great starting place.
Charging everyone a flat rate assumes the rooms are roughly the same quality and size. Or, your traveling companions aren’t worried about one-upping each other as far as their assigned rooms go. Even if you find a vacation rental with a variety of room sizes, this method can work!
If you choose the flat rate system, you’ll simply calculate the total cost of the rental and split it evenly. No arguments over whether one person has more closet space and another has a better view of the lake.
This likely works best if all people sharing costs are single and there are no children. We’ll talk about why next.
The Family Rental Split
A group of single friends can usually agree on an even split for a vacation rental. But if this is a family vacation and you include family members with children, things get a bit more complicated. Inviting families who don’t have kids, or who can’t stay for the entire trip adds another layer of difficulty.
We have a solution that works for any of the above scenarios. Our formula works even if the rooms are different sizes and some guests share a bathroom.
First, calculate the number of nights each family member stays in the rental. Hint: If it’s your job to find a vacation rental, make sure you ask about the charge for children. In some cases, infants are free but children over 2 years of age count as a paying guest.
Second, divide the total cost for your rental by the total number of nights you’ll rent the property. This gives you the per family member rate per night.
Doesn’t that sound better than figuring out whether a person should pay half, a third, and so on of the total rental fee?
Since couples often vacation together, next we’ll look at an easy way couples can split costs.
How to Split Rent with a Couple
If you’re lucky enough to have friends who you enjoy sharing a vacation with, don’t ruin the partnership by squabbling over how much you each pay for the rental home.
If possible, find a rental with two master suites. The obvious advantage to that is each couple has a private sleeping area and their own bathroom.
If you can’t find a rental with two master suites, at least look for a property with rooms of the same quality and size. Each couple splits the cost equally and everyone has a wonderful vacation.
Don’t Fight Over the Hot Tub Suite
What happens if you rent a vacation home with one fantastic master jacuzzi suite, a few large rooms, and one or two smaller, or standard rooms? If you ask for an equal split between all guests, expect more than one set of raised eyebrows.
We won’t figure out your costs for you but here are a few suggestions that should keep the split fair for everyone.
If the property has one master suite, invite the grandparents and let them stay in it! As long as all guests are family, and have the budget for it, You could even pay their share.
We know that still doesn’t help you with how to calculate the per room charge for the other accommodations. Let’s make it relatively simple!
Assume each family uses the size room (or rooms) appropriate for the size of their group. Then, you can agree on a cost per room based on room size/amenities.
Now you see why a pre-trip planning session makes sense, right?
A Word About Dropouts
Always plan for the family or guest who can’t make the trip at the last minute. It stinks for that person but sometimes life happens. and vacations don’t.
In your planning session, make sure you talk about a back-up plan. Most vacation rentals require a down payment, and some ask for full payment a week or so before you visit. For the last minute cancellation, how will it impact the entire group?
If the cancellation occurs far enough in advance, you may have time to switch rentals. If not, consider inviting another paying guest as a replacement. If a replacement won’t work, the guest who cancels should cover at least some of their costs.
Have a Wonderful Vacation
It’s the season for fun and we hope you’re inspired to pair up with friends or family and make some summer travel memories.
Turns out traveling with friends (or family) is a healthy activity. Just don’t let divvying up expenses be the challenge that prevents you from sharing time with people you care about. Use one of our suggestions for a rental split and start packing.
Browse our online magazine for some more healthy lifestyle tips!