Renting a Vacation Home: How to Make the Experience Worthwhile

If you don’t want to be restricted to a hotel room, a rental can be an ideal choice. It works best when you have a young family or want to have a home experience, even when on vacation. It’s easier to plan your meals independently, accommodate more guests and have a more relaxed schedule. 

Hotels expect you to have your meals at a specific time, and you may have a more restricted meal plan. You can cook your foods more freely in a rental, making it a better option for those with dietary guidelines. Other than this, you can freely order meals from your favorite places without the restricted food policy most hotels have, which prohibits takeaways from outside the hotel. With the arrangement, you’ll not miss a chance to indulge in foods you’ve always wanted to try out.

If you love New York pizza and are vacationing in the city, you can have it delivered to your rental fast and conveniently. Just call or make an online order for the pizza to be delivered. For a more fulfilling experience in a rental, here are a few things you should not ignore.

Get the Location Right

Make sure to understand the rental’s location before booking. Is it near the main attractions on your itinerary, or you’ll have to drive a few miles out? Most rentals may not have detailed descriptions of their location because of security concerns, but call the host and make your expectations known. If you are concerned about a beach view from your rental, don’t wait until the booking to realize you don’t have the view from the house.

If you judge a place by photos alone, you may be disappointed when you finally view the home. Instead, ask a few questions, request actual images of the rooms and make sure you understand everything the rental offers. 

Book from Major Platforms

There are many vacation rental providers to choose from, but sticking to well-known platforms with an excellent track record is a safer option. Many fraudsters are using stolen rental photos to net unsuspecting vacationers, and you don’t want to get into the trap. Also, don’t transfer money to a host but use a credit card which is a safer option. Most fraudsters will ask you for cash and shun any other payment method. Such actions should be red flags.

Check Available Reviews

You may like a home’s photos so much that you forget to check reviews from different sites. To ensure the experience matches your expectation, always check recent reviews from verified rental guests. Most trustworthy sites verify reviews before publishing to ensure they offer helpful, up-to-date and accurate information and discourage marketers.

 Always check the review’s date, and when there are complaints, pay attention to the host’s reaction and communication style. A host who acknowledges mistakes and offers solutions makes a better business partner than one who ignores the client. 

Understand Your Rental Home

Vacation rentals range from treehouses, trailers, villas, apartments to mansions. If it’s your first time renting, understand that you’ll not have housekeeping services every day, and you’ll have to do most of the things independently. It can be tedious, but it’s doable and better than staying in a hotel. 

Bring along everything you’ll need to use in the rental, such as cooking ingredients, personal beddings (if you don’t want to use the ones the host provides), gadgets such as chargers, toiletries, and baby accessories. You may want to ask whether the host can provide a baby crib. If not, bring your own. 

Also, know the amenities offered. Some hosts may provide extra beddings, condiments, coffee and linen. Ask what they offer and suggestions of what to bring along.

Understand the Rules

To avoid conflicts, go through the set rules carefully and note possible conflict areas. For instance, if your rental doesn’t allow pets, you either have to stick to the regulations or check other favorable options. Remember, the host follows the rules and guidelines set by the community leadership. You’ll be making things easier for the business if you abide by them. If you are travelling as a group, make sure everyone understands the rules for a smoother stay. 

Check the Cancellation Policy

Before booking a vacation rental, check their cancellation policy. Go for an easy favorable cancellation policy that doesn’t tie you to the agreement. A sickness, change of plans or even government regulations due to a pandemic can alter your travel plans. 

Request for verifications and ask as many questions as possible before the booking to ensure the host understands your needs and can accommodate them. Also, take care of the property and leave it in good condition just as you would your home. 

*Post contributed by Zach Larson, peer writer and hiker.*


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