When it comes time for vacation, who doesn’t love to travel? It’s estimated that nearly three percent of the United States’ GDP comes from tourism and travel. It’s not hard to see why. When it’s time for vacation, people want to travel to new places, try new foods, see new and exciting things, and have a good time.
When it comes time for vacation, there are plenty of vacation rental options available to help you have a fun and memorable vacation. With sites like VRBO and Airbnb, it’s never been easier to find a vacation rental spot wherever you’re looking to find one. You can go the scenic route and rent a cabin overlooking the mountains. Or you can go for something more romantic and book a rental at a chalet.
But with so many options available, how do you know which is the right one for you? Picking the right vacation rental can really go a long way in making your vacation fun and memorable, or miserable and forgettable. Here are some helpful tips for picking the perfect vacation rental:
Know What You’re After
You can buy just about anything online these days and you can window shop for hours trying to find the perfect car, or the perfect clothes, or the perfect contractor for home repairs. The same can be said of vacation rental options. With so many to choose from, you need to know what kind of rental you’re looking for.
Before you start perusing vacation sites, take a few minutes to think about your upcoming vacation. Is it a relaxing vacation or a site-seeing vacation? Are there going to be kids or pets going with you? What are you really looking for in a view? Knowing what you’re after can really help you narrow down your choices.
If you’re going with a larger group, perhaps with extended family, coordinate with them to figure out what the best rental option is. If you’re traveling with your kids and your siblings’ kids, you might look for a place with a swimming pool, so the kids can spend time hanging out by the pool. The more you know what you want, the easier your rental options are going to be, and the less stressed out you’re going to be about picking a place. Coordinating can also help keep prices reasonable if you’re traveling with a group and everyone is contributing to the cost of the rental.
Watch The Calendar
It’s true that there are a plethora of vacation rental options out there, but lots of folks will tell you that It’s a good idea to book your rental early.
You may be used to waiting for a specific time of year or a certain day of the week to book flights and hotels, but vacation rentals work differently. If you’re after a Miami beach house for example, there’s no virtue in waiting. Book it now. In some cases, you may see price reductions as you get closer to your vacation date, but you also run the risk of the exact opposite happening. If you’re looking at vacation rental options in a popular area, chances are good those places are booked pretty frequently, so don’t wait too long.
Don’t Neglect Safety
As you search through vacation rental sites, you’re going to find plenty of properties that are legit and great to vacation at. But wherever you go and whatever kind of rental you get, you want to make sure you’re safe and secure. Odds are pretty good you’ll be staying at someone’s house, or at least their secondary house, and you want to be sure that everything is on the level.
Before you book anything, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Contact property managers beforehand and get all the information you need. If you’re vacationing during the summer, ask a homeowner about the condition of the HVAC system and whether AC repairs are necessary before you head there for vacation.
You should also ask about plumbing services and how up-to-date those are. Some folks rent out older homes that require maintenance to maintain, and you want to make sure everything functions as it should during your stay.
The good thing is that with so many vacation rental options, there are thousands of reviews you can look at before you make your final decisions. Most properties have plenty of pictures, information, and reviews, so you can see exactly what you’re getting before you punch in your credit card information. Take time to read those reviews. They’re left by people just like you, so you’ll be able to get a feel for what it’s really like to stay there.
Know What You’re Looking At
With so many vacation rental options available, there are a lot of terms thrown around that you’ll see as you search. For example, if you’re looking for a beach house, you need to know the difference between beach front and ocean front. You’ll find that beach front is the one that actually guarantees you a spot on the water.
Another term you’ll likely see is direct access. Whether you’re going on a skiing trip, a beach vacation or vacationing in a big city, that usually means you’re only a short ride away from whatever the destination sites are in that area. For example, direct ski access means you’re not right at a ski resort, but a quick shuttle ride will get you there.
You might also come upon terms you’re unfamiliar with. If you’re looking for an eco-friendly house for example, you might come across a term like SPF roofing. This type of roofing is sustainable, durable and energy efficient, helping to keep you safe and cool (or warm) depending on where you’re vacationing. It can also withstand the elements very well. For terms you don’t recognize, always try to get pictures. If you see a place with a garden view, that could mean a lot of things, so take a look at pictures to get a good idea of what they owner means by that.
Be Choosy With Location
These days, you can go on vacation just about anywhere and do just about anything for as long as you want to do it. If you’re going on vacation, it can be very tempting to find a rental right in the middle of where the action is. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, but you’re definitely going to pay for it.
By avoiding tourist traps and hotspots, you’ll be able to find vacation rental options at more affordable prices and you’ll be away from the hustle and bustle. There’s nothing wrong with staying 20-30 minutes outside a big city and taking a shuttle or an Uber to reach all the popular destinations you want to hit.
Before you choose a rental place, look at the surroundings. Sure, if you’re on a sightseeing vacation you want to be close to popular destinations. But you also want basic amenities close by. Regardless of whether you’re in a basic apartment, or a big villa, it’s a good idea to have a spot that’s close to a grocery store, and a drug store, in case you need medicine. If you’re looking to relax on vacation, you might also try to find a tobacco shop where you can get vaping supplies or cigars, if you’re really looking to make this vacation a special occasion.
Be Choosy With Money
Since you’re spending your hard-earned money on a vacation rental, you want to be absolutely sure it’s a place you’re happy with. You don’t necessarily want to overspend for a place, but you don’t want to be cheap either. Ultimately, you need to consider the amenities you’re looking for and find vacation rental options that meet your criteria.
You may find places that offer commercial office desks like you’d see in hotels, which can be great if you’re looking for a quiet vacation where you can do some writing or journaling. You may find places that offer eco-friendly garage door service, which is another great benefit if you’re looking for an eco-friendly rental. Still, you may find homes that offer garden views you’re not really interested in or amenities that don’t really fit in the theme of your vacation.
By finding a rental that has all the things you want—location, amenities, space, and comfort—you can ensure that you and your family, or you and your vacation group, are getting the most bang for your buck.
Know Who You’re Renting From
As you do research on vacation rentals, you can find out plenty of information about amenities, utilities, and what the property looks like. But as you do your research, you want to make sure you do research on the owner too. If you’re lucky, you’ll find rental listings that provide biographical information on the owners.
Why do you need to research the owner? You want to know who you’re dealing with, and, on the flip side, the owners want to know who they’re dealing with. You want to make sure as a renter that everything is on the up-and-up. If you need a swimming pool repair because something happens with the pool while you’re renting, you want to be reassured that the owner is going to take care of that, and not just take your money.
On that note, you also want to read rental contracts over before you sign them. Think of it like this: you’re not staying in a hotel room, you’re renting an apartment. You want to read any contracts over thoroughly so you know exactly what you’re responsible for. Odds are pretty good that you’re going to be responsible for cleaning, so make sure you know exactly what you have to do to clean up. Ultimately, you want both sides to have a good experience. You want to enjoy yourself and owners want to feel comfortable renting to you.
A simple fact of life is that when you’re renting an apartment or a house for vacation, things sometimes might go wrong. Even if you’ve done your research, crossed your T’s and dotted your T’s, Murphy’s Law can still come into play. You may find that a place you rent needs an immediate HVAC replacement to give renters proper heating and cooling for their stay. Even if a place looks great and is in good shape, there may be some work local roofers need to do to protect renters from the elements.
The entire point of all this is that when it comes to vacation rental options, you need to be flexible. You need to be prepared for anything. If something stops working, you need to contact the owner and let them know immediately. You may find things you love about a rental once you get there. You may find some things you don’t like. However you feel, you need to love your choice. If for whatever reason you don’t like your rental place, you’ll know what to avoid the next time you go on vacation In the meantime, you can make the best of it and still have fun.
With the expansion of the Internet, taking a vacation has never been easier or more fun. Rather than relying on pictures and information in old-school vacation guides, you can peruse the internet for hours, planning your dream vacation to just about any place your heart desires. Vacations are all about creating memories, and you can make dozens of them in any place on the globe.
No matter where you’re going on vacation and how long you’re vacationing for, there’s an endless amount of vacation rental options available to you. By taking the time to research different properties and thinking about location, and what kind of amenities you want, you’ll find the perfect spot to enjoy yourself. Vacation time is supposed to be a time to relax and get away from reality for a while. When you find the perfect vacation rental, you’ll be able to kick back, take a load off, and enjoy yourself. With the perfect vacation rental, you can have the perfect vacation.