There’s an increase in travelers jumping on board the vacation home rental bandwagon.14 percent of travelers rented vacation homes in 2009; compared to the previous year, that number went up by 11 percent.
You can save a lot of money on your vacation if you rent a home instead of a hotel room. However, if you’ve never rented a vacation home before, the prospect of living in a complete stranger’s house can be intimidating. Use the following five tips to assuage your fears and take your first step into the world of vacation home rental.
1. PLAN AHEAD
Depending on where you plan on vacationing, some properties take reservations up to a year in advance. You don’t want to wait until the week before your trip to find out that there are no availabilities. As soon as you’ve decided on a vacation spot, start looking for available nearby properties.
2. KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING
This goes without saying, but you should find out as much as you can about the property you’re interested in renting. Do your research by looking at the homeowner’s website, the vacation rental site, online reviews and any comments about the property on social media. As a general rule, it’s best to stay away from sites like Craigslist and avoid potential scammers. You don’t want to end up as a cautionary tale.
3. KNOW WHO YOU’RE GETTING IT FROM
You should research the homeowner just as thoroughly as you would the house itself. The homeowner should have a public profile available for perusal, and they should be easy to contact over phone and by email. Don’t be shy about calling the owner and having a conversation with him or her. If he or she is hard to get a hold of, that’s a definite red flag.
4. GET “IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY” INSTRUCTIONS
Even though you’re staying in this home in order to relax, be realistic about the fact that bad things happen unexpectedly. You might have to deal with anything from plumbing problems to fuses that keep blowing out. The homeowner should leave you with a list of emergency contacts in case any home-related issues arise.
5. DON’T TAKE EVERYTHING WITH YOU
It’s tempting to pack heavy, especially for a long vacation. Keep in mind, however, that your rental home might already contain many of the things that you’ll need, such as cooking equipment, kitchen utensils, bathroom accessories and Internet access. If you’re staying in a beach house, the owner might already have beach equipment you can use. While you’re negotiating the rental contract, find out what amenities come with the house.
Have you ever rented a vacation home? Was it a positive experience or a complete nightmare for you? We want to hear your thoughts, so feel free to post them in the comment section below.