Vacation rentals are a popular way to stay at a destination without booking a hotel. Through online vacation rentals sites, families can book private homes, bed and breakfasts, apartments, and cottages all over the world. Many of these vacation rentals accommodations offer amenities that might otherwise be out of price range for vacationers. There may be private pools, breathtaking views, use of a private vehicle, daily home cooked meals or concierge services. With all this considered, it’s no wonder that vacation rentals from online sites have become so popular.
However, with online vacation rentals, there are some things that can go wrong. This list of five vacation rentals mistakes to avoid this summer should help make your vacation all you dreamed of.
Don’t assume that it looks exactly like the pictures.
When vacation rentals owners take photos to advertise, they usually make sure the place looks its best. It’s usually been freshly cleaned, shows a sunny day out the windows, and might even have freshly cut flowers on every table.
When you book, don’t assume that the place will look exactly like the pictures. While you should be able to make a reasonable assumption that it’s in clean, rentable condition, it may not be picture perfect. There may have been some wear and tear on the place since the pictures were taken. The pool might need to be cleaned, the grass might need to be cut. To avoid a big disappointment, ask the owner if the pictures represent the current condition of the place. That will allow them to be candid about anything that might have changed. It also allows you to make a different selection if you don’t like what you hear.
Ask about the area surrounding the vacation rentals.
Just as changes may have occurred to the rental itself, other things could be happening nearby that will impact your vacation. For example, there might be a big construction project across the street, or there may be a huge tree clearing project going on a few blocks away. It’s possible that the lake has an algae bloom this year, which would prevent your using it.
Be mindful of the area surrounding the rental, and be sure to ask about any activity that’s happening on the dates you plan to rent. This will help ensure that your environment is what you expect, or within the boundaries of what you’re willing to tolerate. Finally, use Google Earth to scope out the area from the air, if you’ve never been there before. You don’t want to find out too late that your vacation rentals backyard is right next to the town dump.
Don’t forget to shop around.
Once you’ve landed on an area where you want to rent your vacation rentals, it’s tempting to hurry up and book it so no one else can get it. But don’t forget to shop around. If there’s one vacation rental in the area, it’s likely that other owners are renting in that area as well. You might be able to get a better deal, or a better location.
To shop around, be sure to cover a variety of sites that list vacation rentals. Some to consider include VRBO, AirBnB, Craigslist, and local newspapers. You might also consider widening your search area. Some small town vacation destinations have equally attractive small towns nearby.
Be careful when handing over your deposit.
Unfortunately, some online sites don’t thoroughly vet their listings. When using sites like Craigslist, be extra cautious when handing over your deposit. In some cases, renters have encountered fictitious rentals, or illegal rentals. They have lost vacation money and learned a hard lesson.
It’s best to deal with vacation rentals that you are able to vet yourself. In most cases, you should be able to read online reviews of previous renters if the vacation rental is legitimate. It’s also worth it to just Google the vacation rental address, to see what comes up. If there’s any suspicious activity linked to the address, proceed with caution.
Bring plenty of supplies.
Many vacation rentals come with the basics, like paper towels, bed linens, cutlery and a coffee pot. However, there is no standard, and not every owner supplies the basics.
Read the fine print carefully so you can be better prepared when you arrive. It’s not pleasant to arrive for your vacation after a long drive and discover there’s no toilet paper in the bathroom. Make note of what’s supplied and what isn’t. Don’t assume anything. And, just in case, bring your own short term supplies of things you absolutely cannot go without – like toilet paper.
Your vacation rental experience will go smoothly every time when you keep these five tips in mind. Meanwhile, we’d love to hear about your vacation rentals experiences – good and bad! Please leave your comments below.