The Do’s & Don’ts When Considering A Vacation Rental

June 22, 2015  |  

It’s hard enough saving for a home to call your own, let alone a seasonal getaway. Once you factor in mortgage, property taxes and associated costs having a second home can become quite pricey. This is one of the reasons why vacation rentals are so popular.

I’ve spent some time at a few rentals and enjoyed my stay. Vacation rentals can be a little more affordable than paying for a hotel room — depending on where you stay of course. It also allows you to split costs with others if you want to do the group thing. I personally enjoy an alternative to fancy resorts, which often offer amenities that you might not use. There are better ways to get your money’s worth.

Are you considering a vacation rental for your next trip? You might want to act fast as they can and will book up. Here are a few tips to help ensure it’s a good stay.

Do your research.  One of the biggest appeals of vacation rentals is their comfy feel. In most cases, you’re staying in someone’s home, even if it’s not their primary residence. Make sure you do your research by comparing prices and searching for up-to-date reviews. Every option will have their own perks and amenities. It’s up to you to determine which will work best for your personal needs.

Don’t assume everything is covered. Before you sign on the dotted line make sure you know who’s in charge. Some vacation rentals are run by individuals and others management companies. One isn’t a better option — so long as things get fixed in a timely fashion and upkeep is a priority. Can you imagine staying in a home with no air conditioning during the height of summer? Not fun at all.

Do keep some flexibility. You have to remember vacation rentals aren’t like hotels. There’s no abundance of rooms should you travel during peak seasons or a special event. While it’s good to plan for specific days you want, try to remain as flexible s possible. It could be the difference between pushing back your trip a few days and not booking the location you want. You might even be able to score a discount or better deal should you have some flexibility in your schedule.

Don’t forget to get things in writing. Just because someone is nice doesn’t mean you slack off when it comes to handling your business. Everything needs to be in writing so you no one will “accidentally” forget what was discussed. There should be a written contract that highlights both the obvious and fine print. Tip: Email makes it really easy to communicate and obtain a written paper trail. Try to get answers this way instead of just picking up the phone.

Do double check that refund/cancellation policy. Unfortunately, life happens and schedules have to change. This is one of the reasons why it’s important to read the fine print when it comes to your vacation rental’s cancellation policy. How do they handle refunds? Look for these answers before you put down any money as you never want to be locked into a situation. For all you know, you just might stumble upon a cheaper rate else where or change your plans completely.

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