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Five U.S. Summer Trip Ideas

© Bob Krist A beach on the north end of Hilton head

Photo: A beach on the north end of Hilton head

2. Beach Getaway

If your ideal summer getaway includes time by the seashore, it’s not too late to find a house to rent—even in popular destinations like South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island. According to Gary Strohm, president of beachhouse.com, a site listing 2,200 residences in the United States, at least 15 percent of inventory is usually still available in April. “September is the best time to start looking, but you can find great deals in spring,” says Strohm.

Destination: Hilton Head, South Carolina

Pick Your Dates

  • In Hilton Head, a four-bedroom oceanfront house costs $6,000 to $8,000 a week during the summer months. And in September and October (admittedly, hurricane season in South Carolina), the same house ranges from $4,000 to $5,500. Regardless of where and when you rent, follow these rules for a worry-free vacation:

Book Wisely

  • Go through an established rental agency, which will likely be better equipped than an absentee owner to handle emergencies such as a leaking roof; using an agency will also shield you from fly-by-night scams—not a common problem, though not unheard of either. To find one by location, consult the Vacation Rental Managers Association (vrma.com). Request recent photographs and aerials if they’re available, so you can see the distance from your beach house to the water and to neighbors.

Protect Yourself

  • Carefully review your rental agreement for damage liability, cancellation fees, and nonrefundable deposits. And if your contract doesn’t include travel insurance, consider buying at least basic coverage (see “What to Know Before You Rent,” right).
    Suzanne Mozes
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