Folks shopping for the best deal on an Orlando vacation home will see plenty of discussion about deposits. Some homes require payment in full months before the trip, others require just $50 to secure the reservation. Some require cleaning deposits and others don’t. So what’s the big deal? Let’s take a look at the different deposit options and what they mean for you.

Large upfront deposits can cause trouble if your plans change

orlandovacation_home-depositsVacationers often think they’ve set their dates in stone, and so it doesn’t seem to make a difference if they pay the entirety upfront or if they pay a small deposit now and the rest later. In fact, some prefer to have the entire balance paid off months in advance. The reality is that you never know what could change between now and your vacation dates. Someone could get a new job, an accident could happen, or a wedding could be planned.

Whatever it is, if you’ve put down a small $50 deposit you’re not going to be nearly as upset as you will be if you’ve already pre-paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Will these companies that require large deposits refund your money? In some cases they might. However, even if they are a company that offers a partial refund, you’ll have to deal with the hassle of getting a refund – and that could take months!

A smaller deposit = more flexibility

If you work with a company that requires a large upfront deposit you’ll have less flexibility when you book your reservation. There’s no question that the earlier you can get things booked, the less you’re likely to pay for airline tickets and other traveling incidentals. If you have to come up with the full cost of your trip before you can even start planning, you’ll have much less flexibility in your travel arrangements.

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Don’t let someone else make interest on your money

Many people make their vacation home rental reservations months or even a year in advance. If you’re paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for your reservation, and that money is being held by the company you’re making a reservation with, they’re literally making money off of your money. There’s no reason that money shouldn’t be in your bank account collecting interest for you.

Keep in mind that it’s virtually unheard of to have a $0 to pay, and most companies will require full at least a few weeks before you’re scheduled to arrive. However, other companies that want half – or more – paid months and months in advance should be avoided for many reasons, including those listed above.