And skip the mortgage. Last year 46% of people who bought a vacation home paid cash, according to the National Association of Realtors, up from 36% in 2010. One reason, says NAR's Walter Molony: "It is more difficult to get a mortgage on a second home."
The good news: Buying a condo in a bustling town or a beachfront community can be relatively affordable, even in the most coveted warm-weather communities. The following cities are popular destinations where you can find plenty of one-or two-bedroom units for around $100,000 or less, according to Trulia.com.
% of condos $100,000 or less: 41%
Where to look: Near Disney
Why it's a hot destination: A lakeside perch and proximity to Orlando theme parks
Fort Morgan, Ala.
% of condos $100,000 or less: 34%
Where to look: Gulf Shores Plantation
Why it's a hot destination: Beaches and a historical fort
Palm Springs, Calif.
% of condos $100,000 or less: 50%
Where to look: North or south of city center
Why it's a hot destination: Warm desert weather with loads of outdoor activities