A home away from home can be the ideal retreat for couples, singletons and families. Quite often individuals reserve the same properties year after year to serve as a vacation retreat. The familiarity and comfort of a rental can be the ideal place to spend a few days or weeks during a vacation.
Data from HomeAway®, a vacation rental booking service, says that many people book summer rentals as early as January to ensure they have the perfect place to stay during the peak season. However, for vacations taken in July and beyond, locking down one’s stay between May and July are possible. Ski season stays as well as holiday retreats are best booked by October, advises the company.
When it comes time to research and book a rental, it is important to note that listings likely won’t paint the full picture. It is important to ask the right questions and conduct a thorough vetting of properties before booking a rental.
• Get the facts of the contract and exactly what the rental entails. Are use of WiFi or cable television available? Are you responsible for taking out the trash and recycling? What is the cancellation policy? Are there any fees incurred for minor damage to the home? The contract should be as thorough as possible so there are no surprises later on.
• Explore pet-friendly accommodations. Many people choose to travel with pets, which can make it less stressful than leaving companion animals behind. What may constitute “pet-friendly” to one landlord may not be the same to another. One house may have a fenced yard and a dog house. Another may actually let the pet have free reign of the house without having to be crated. It helps to know the difference in advance. The vacation rental site VRBO says there is no standard for making a home accommodating to pets.
• Learn about parking. The Evolve Vacation Rental Network says to ask the specifics of the parking situation, including whether there is a driveway or on-street parking. If there is on-street parking, find out if the vehicle needs to be moved for street cleaning or specific zoning.
• Learn the lingo. For those booking international rentals, certain nuances of the listing lingo may be different than you’re used to. Inquire specifically about the number of rooms and bedrooms so you are properly prepared.
• Find out if the kitchen is equipped. Some kitchens come with a ladle and saucepan only, while others may be fully outfitted for gourmet meals. It helps to have an idea so that shopping lists can be made if meals will be prepared at the rental.
Careful vetting and a little leg work can help vacationers find the ideal vacation property.