Vacation rentals can sometimes be the ideal accommodation for a trip. With the comfort of home, lots of privacy, the fun of living like a local and reasonable rates, there are plenty of reasons to consider rentals as hotel alternatives.
Here are some easy steps on how to rent a vacation rental.
What Do You Want?
First, you need to decide what kind of vacation you want. A family beach holiday in Cape Cod? A fun girls’ spa weekend in California? A shopping excursion in New York City? There are millions of vacation rentals worldwide, from remote fishing cabins to downtown highrise condos.
What Do You Need?
Now figure out exactly what you need from your vacation rental. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? On the beach or with a swimming pool? What type of surroundings do you prefer?
Vacation rentals typically include a fully equipped kitchen complete with dishes, pots and pans; a dining area; bed and kitchen linens and towels. There may also be onsite laundry facilities, garage parking, cable and internet. Some are pet friendly and most are kid friendly, but make sure to ask about these features when inquiring.
Once you have chosen your relevant details, many vacation rental websites will ask you for your vacation dates and a price range. From all that information, your vacation rental website will show you a list of available properties that meet your requirements.
Do Your Online Shopping
You can view and book vacation rentals completely online. Lots of excellent websites are dedicated to vacation rentals, offering searchable databases to make it easy.
Most vacation rental listings will show numerous pictures of both the inside of the property and its surroundings. A full description will be included of all the features and amenities offered, such as Wi-Fi internet, DVD player, computer, hot tub, boat dock, pool toys, fishing equipment or whatever else comes with the property. You may also be able to read reviews from previous tenants.
If there’s an address listed, it’s a good idea to cross-reference this vacation rental information with Google Maps or Mapquest to get a clear idea of the location and its immediate surroundings. Often, the vacation rental website will include a map or link right on the property description page.
The next step in renting a vacation rental is often getting in touch with the property’s owner. You may be able to book everything through the vacation rental website or you may need to contact the owner directly. In either case, there will be a phone number and email address listed and it is a good idea to call and verify availability.
The Rental Agreement
Once you get in touch with the property owner, they will confirm the dates and the cost and then email or mail you a rental agreement. This document will lay out the terms of your agreement in specific language. It will spell out everything, including cost, taxes, cancellation policy, housekeeping, specific instructions or house guidelines, and where to leave the keys.
At this point you typically will typically be asked to make a reservation deposit, usually about 25 percent of the final cost, and to pay the rest of the fee at a set point, usually 30 to 45 days before you check in. There may be a security deposit required to cover any possible damages to the property; if unneeded, it will be refunded to you after your stay. For your own security, it is best to pay your deposit on credit card rather than checks if possible.
Read your contract carefully and make sure you are aware of, and comfortable with, all the terms laid out. If you are not, get in touch with the property owner and discuss it with them. There may be room for negotiation.
The next step is to sign and initial the agreement wherever indicated and return it to the property owner along with your deposit.
Sit Back and Relax
After that, all you have to do is sit back and get excited about the perfect vacation you are planning! Property owners are great sources of information, not only about the vacation rental but also about surrounding amenities and attractions, such as the nearest grocery store and best local restaurants. Many property owners also leave guidebooks, pamphlets and local information right at the vacation rental for your convenience. They can likely also answer questions if you are unsure of some of the details of your trip.
Once you have gone through the process of learning how to rent a vacation rental, you’ll find out how easy it is to organize a great vacation in a comfortable space. If you have a good time, it’s easy to arrange to come back year after year like having your very own vacation home.