What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

This time of year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, the week or two you get each year to escape “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, get back the sleep you need. But before you pack and leave, rethink your stay in a too-normal hotel. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is season rent.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave home, get to your destination city, and settle into a “home away from home” for your next vacation? This is what vacation rentals are all about. These are houses waiting to be rented by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria regarding the type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental home varies in amenities and each price depends on the time of year and length of stay. It sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it happen? It’s not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about vacation rentals. Keep reading, my friend, your next vacation home “home away from home” is just around the corner.

Holiday Rentals FAQ

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Ever wish your hotel room had a little more personality? Yes, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s house for your vacation may be exactly what you are looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are about living as if you were in your own home. They offer more privacy than hotel rooms, and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which will ultimately save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You will enjoy several rooms, and perhaps even different levels, instead of a large room where the whole family sleeps. Many homeowners will leave information on what to do and see in the local area. Holiday homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them are not only rental homes, but also function as the homeowner’s residence for part of the year.

Most holiday rentals are usually cheaper per night than the hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner, you will avoid taxes, tips and other strange charges. However, there is a wide variation in costs based on many factors (see How much should I expect to pay below)

What are the disadvantages of a vacation rental?

Of course, there is always the other side of the coin. Since vacation rentals are usually not monitored by a centrally managed company, you will only know what you are getting into when you get the rent. Many homeowners require prepayment or at least a large deposit fee before arriving. Therefore, if things are not what you expected upon arrival or if you find your residence unacceptable and decide to go to a local hotel, you may lose any prepaid money. This is also valid for last minute cancellations. There is usually no refund. You always risk getting less than expected, but it is rare.

Most of the time, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage of vacation rentals is the lack of an on-site managing member to deal with problems you may encounter with the home or during your overall stay. Most homeowners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies, and other items available to the renter if they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Because each rental is owned by a different owner, each includes different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages and stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, fitted kitchen, towels, sheets, and daily utensils, but it never hurts to ask these questions when looking for the perfect place. Make sure you understand exactly what you are paying for before sending the payment.


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