Vacation Rentals – 21st Century Family Vacations

It seems as if Vacation Rentals are becoming more and more popular. With the rise of the world wide web, you are able to communicate with a vacation rental owner anywhere in the world. Years ago your only option was to visit your local travel agent and book a hotel. There were no vacation rental directories or portals in the past. Now you can surf the web for the perfect vacation rental house. No need for a travel agent as you usually negotiate directly with the owner of the property. Since vacation rentals are slowly becoming the preferred method of booking a vacation, I decided to create an article to give renters some tips about finding the perfect vacation rental.

First, let’s define what we are talking about when we say vacation rental. We call it a vacation rental when a renter rents a property directly from the owner (or representative of the owner). The property usually has it’s own kitchen, living room, bedrooms, etc. They come in many shapes and sizes including condos, single family homes, townhouses, cabins, chalets, and more. Vacation rentals are usually near resort locations and activities such as theme parks, beaches, and skiing. A hotel or motel room is not a vacation rental!

What makes vacation rentals different from hotels? The comfort is the main difference. You have all of the same luxuries that you have at home. Most vacation rentals have kitchens and most of the other amenities that you have at home, plus many have additional amenities such as hot tubs, pool tables, etc. With larger groups there is definitely a cost advantage. A 3-bedroom vacation rental usually hosts more visitors than 3 hotel rooms. Make sure to keep this in mind if you do any cost analysis. Also make sure to include meal savings in your analysis since you may not dine out as often in comparison to a hotel vacation. These items alone could be substantial savings.

Imagine this scenario: Yourself and two other families pay a visit to a popular tourist destination. Your touring of the destination is complete for the day at about 3 pm. From 4pm – 6pm you dine together. It’s now 6pm with still some time remaining in the day. If you have a hotel, what do you plan to do? You can waste all of your money at numerous tourist traps (activities such as spending $3, to try to throw a ball into a bucket or $2 to throw a plastic ring around a bottle). With a vacation rental there is no need for that stuff! You can have family game night sitting in a nice comfortable home or take advatage of all the other amenities your rental has to offer. This is why it is important to learn about the amenities of the rental before you enter into a contract. As stated earlier some have hot tubs, pool tables, movies and many other activities.

Tips for Renters:

1. Bookmark as many “vacation Rental” websites as possible. This way when you are searching for a rental, you have all of the portal sites at your fingertips.

2. Always make sure to find out what items are provided and what is not provided by the owner. For example, in some rentals you may need to supply your own linens. It would be unfortunate to show up with no towels/sheets, etc.

3. Always book early. Many of the popular destinations get filled quickly.

4. Check for references if possible. The exception to this rule is if the owner is just starting out.

5. If you enjoyed your trip, try to negotiate a better price for next year. The owner would probably love to start filling his/her calendar for next year.

6. Make sure you have the owner’s contact information with you while on the trip. If there is an emergency, you may need to call.

7. Read the fine print and make sure to read all fine print on any leases or documentation that you are asked to sign. Also, read any fine print on the vacation rental web listing.

8. If you’re trying to save some money, scroll to the bottom of the list. Many vacation rental portal sites have hundreds of listings. Many times, the listings at the bottom of the list are just as good as those at the beginning. The listings at the bottom don’t get as many page views so you may find some better prices and some owner’s looking to fill a quick vacancy.

9. Make sure you ask any questions you may have before making a reservation. Questions about the amenities, pets, smoking/non smoking, handy capped accessibility, and cribs for children are some questions that come to mind.

10. Lastly, have fun on your vacation and please respect the owner’

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