5 Things to Look for in a Vacation Rental

Holiday Rental

Going on vacation is always fun, but there are some downsides. First of all, you’ll be staying in a small room, and if you have a few people, it costs hundreds per night, taking away some of the money and freedom you had planned to use enjoying your trip.

The solution is a vacation rental. You can rent an entire house or apartment, often for less than it would cost to stay in a hotel. What’s more, you get the freedom of living in a larger space with a kitchen and other amenities.

Today, it’s easier than ever to book a vacation rental. Airbnb, Homeaway, VRBO, and similar sites offer thousands of listings for every budget.

However, just because it’s easy to book these properties online, doesn’t mean that you’ll enjoy your stay. Anyone who’s stayed in a vacation rental before knows that there are often things that differ from the advertisement. You could deal with anything from cold, low pressure showers to a leaky roof.

On the other hand, there are excellent vacation properties that do everything right. You just have to know how to find them. Use this guide for booking your next vacation rental.

  1. Priorities

Before booking anything, know what you need. If you need 3 bedrooms, but book a rental with only two, you have no one but yourself to blame for a bad experience.

Make a list of your priorities before beginning your search. The list might include:

  • Number of beds/bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Private or shared accommodations
  • Pool or hot tub
  • Air conditioning
  • Close proximity to certain landmarks
  • Full kitchen
  • Low price

Put your priorities in order from most to least important, understanding that you might have to make some sacrifices. If there are some things you simply can’t live without, make sure those items make the list, and don’t book a property that leaves off your top priorities.Vacation Rental

  1. Plenty of Reviews

If you’re a picky renter, avoid booking a property with less than 15 reviews. A larger sampling of people who have stayed means you’re more likely to get an accurate depiction of the property from different viewpoints. If you look at a property with 45 reviews at four and a half stars, chances are, you’ll have a great vacation.

Additionally, make sure you read the bad reviews. Good reviews are great, but they’re not nearly as telling as bad reviews, which will point out the worst flaws. Read bad reviews critically and decide whether or not the flaws are something you want to put up with during your stay.

  1. Good Communication

Chances are, something will go wrong during your stay; if it does, you want an owner who will respond quickly with a solution. A host that will be a good communicator during your stay is usually one who will communicate with you before you book a property.

Most vacation rental sites will let you contact the host before you book your rental. Take advantage of this, introducing yourself and asking questions about the property. If the host responds within 12 hours (better yet, within six hours), introduces themselves, answers all of your questions, and maintains an upbeat, positive tone, you’re probably dealing with a great communicator.

  1. Clear Descriptions

The listing should clearly describe what you’ll get with your booking. It will list all the amenities, like internet, a fully stocked bathroom, full use of the kitchen, etc. It won’t try to gloss over any negative aspects or use overly descriptive words to try to upsell the property. If you don’t know exactly what you’re getting, move on to the next option to avoid disappointment.

  1. Avoid Scams

Vacation rental scams are becoming increasingly more common. The last thing you want is to book a vacation rental, wire the money, and show up to the house, only to find that the owner never posted it online. Scams like this happen all the time, and there are several ways to avoid them.

The most important is to avoid sites like Craigslist and go through an online vacation rental site like Airbnb, Homeaway, or VRBO. These sites have scam detection software and reduce your risk. They’ll also refund your money and then some if you book a scam on their site.

The success of your vacation depends on you and the property you choose. Don’t sabotage your fun by choosing a property that won’t meet your needs. Each of these tips is designed to help you have a great vacation and avoid the heartache of poor accommodations.

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