Vacation Rentals are a great alternative to hotels and resorts when you’re looking for a place to stay on your next vacation. They’re typically less expensive, more personal, more private, more spacious, and boast all the comforts of home. But even though the benefits are many, there are several things to take into consideration before booking a vacation rental.
Today I’ll go over the Top 8 Things to Consider When Booking a Vacation Rental. We’ll cover everything from safety precautions to payment methods to tips on when and where to book. As usual – if you have questions, just ask.
1.) Book Early. In January and February, summer rental bookings begin – especially for waterfront properties. Many regular vacationers book a year in advance, so take that into consideration when making your summer vacation plans. It’s never too early to start looking.
2.) Explore Your Options. First you pick a vacation destination, and then you find a place to stay. When searching for a vacation rental home – comparison shop! Be sure to keep your options open – considering many different rental properties gives you a variety of places to choose from, as well as a variety of prices and available amenities. Looking at comparable properties will give you a good idea of what you can expect from a particular area.
3.) Consider Off-Peak Vacations. The most popular vacation months are typically July and August, so naturally booking a vacation rental during these months will be most expensive. If you plan a trip for late May or early June, you can avoid most of the peak-season fees. And if you can wait until after Labor Day, you’ve got the chance to save up to HALF off your rental price!
4.) Be Your Own Planner. Using a booking agent can tack on a fee of up to 10% on top of the cost of a rental, so use websites like FlipKey to do it yourself, quickly and easily.
5.) Read Guest Reviews. This one is a no-brainer to us here at FlipKey, because reviews are paramount to our property listing experience. But there’s a good reason for that – only past guests can tell you what a rental property is REALLY like – the good, the bad and the ugly! In addition to looking at photos and chatting with the owners, it’s the most surefire way to guarantee that you’re picking a good place to stay.
6.) Ask Questions. Whether booking a property that you’ll stay in for two days or two weeks, you want to make sure that you’ll have all the amenities you want and need available to you. And the only way you’ll know is if you ask. More is better in this case, and owners will be happy to provide information and photos to anyone seriously considering their rental home.
7.) Secure a Contract. Be sure not to send any form of payment to the property owner until you’ve signed a rental contract and agreed to all the specified terms. Also be sure to read through the entire rental agreement before signing to make sure you are as informed about your stay as possible.
8.) Consider Payment Options. Paying by credit card vs. cash or check is the best way to go, because credit card payments (or using a service like PayPal) means it’s a lot easier to retrieve your payment should a rental agreement go south. Avoid paying any type of cash deposit, and consider purchasing travel insurance (something FlipKey now offers).
I hope these tips will get you off to a great start with your rental property shopping, and help you feel equipped to navigate the rental property world. Given all of the necessary facts, tips, and “insider info,” you should be able to snag your dream property come next January!