Tips for Finding Your Summer Vacation Rental

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By Sue Rice

Whether you are going for a day or a month, looking for luxury or a place to park your RV, it’s important to have a plan.   Not everybody likes to camp out on the couch or on the floor, so when you are the planner it is important to really think about how you will provide beds for those 14 people you have invited.  Consider the ages of the members of your group. Who needs a bed near a bathroom?  Who needs a bedroom on the first floor?

If you are a multi-generational group, be sure to ask if there are there activities on the property or nearby for children?   If you learn that there are volleyball and basketball courts or fishing on the property, do you need to bring your own equipment?  How many TV’s are included with this rental?

Get a clear understanding as to what else is included in your rental.   Are bedding and towels provided?  Are there laundry facilities on the property or nearby?  Are there bikes or a golf cart?  Can you walk to town?  Is there public transportation?  Does your rental need to be kid-friendly (no white furniture or antiques)?   How many keys will be supplied?  What do you do if you get locked out?  What are your responsibilities at the end of your stay?

It might be helpful to make a list of must-haves.  This list might include the number of parking spaces, handicap accessible bedrooms/baths, number of steps, ease of ingress and egress, etc. Is there a grill or an outdoor kitchen and eating area?  Ask if there is a pet deposit or a cleaning fee that wasn’t in the ad?  If you are taking a pet, are there leash laws or pet-friendly parks in the neighborhood?  How far are you from the attractions you most want to see?  What is the crime rate in your preferred area?  Is there renovation work being planned during the time you will be visiting (i.e., pool repair)?   Get a copy of the rental contract in writing so you have proof of everything that you have agreed to be responsible for during your stay.   Emergencies happen and sometimes plans have to be cancelled.  What is the cancellation policy for your desired property? 

There are so many rental sites online that it might make your head spin.  So, unless you have the patience of a saint to sort through a lot of information, then it may be a good idea to let the professionals help with this important decision.  Nothing is worse than finding your rental is not even close to where you thought you were going to be.  Or worse yet, finding out after the hot water tank goes or the toilet overflows, that you didn’t get any information on what you were supposed to do if something malfunctioned. 

You might want to select a nationally known company if you are going to rent directly from the property owner like Rent by Owner, Airbnb, Craigslist or VRBO.

Trip Advisor now offers rental booking too.  This is a great place to look for the top attractions in your preferred area. www.tripadvisor.com/Rentals.  Check out the reviews from others who have rented your selected property and visited the attractions that are on your list.

After your trip, take a few minutes and post your own review of the property and the attractions you visited.   This is a big help for travelers who have yet to make up their mind about where to go and what to see.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks for suggesting you make a list of must-haves for the vacation rental you want. Soon, my whole family is going to be going on a trip to Costa Rica, and we want to use a home like one of these ones. Your questions to ask are really good, so I’ll be asking those as I look for the right vacation rental for us.

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