With services like AirBNB and VRBO, there are more options than ever when it comes to finding the ideal vacation home. Whether you’re looking for an intimate getaway for two or an expansive space large enough for a family reunion, there’s a property out there to suit every need. Before booking your vacation rental home, though, here are the six questions you need to ask the owner or management company.
1. What Is Your Cancellation Policy?
While most hotels have a fairly liberal cancellation policy if an emergency requires you to cancel your vacation, that’s not necessarily true of rental homes according to U.S. News Travel. Some may provide an alternate week or a partial refund, while at other homes you’re out of luck. Consider travel insurance if you have your heart set on a specific home but are concerned that the refund policy might leave you out in the cold if bad weather strikes.
2. Who Can I Contact for Problems?
If your landlord isn’t local, they should provide you the number of a caretaker or property management company that’s reachable 24-7 if any problems arise. That way, if something isn’t working the way you expected, you’ll be able to get it fixed as soon as possible without having a hassle during your vacation.
3. What Do I Need to Bring?
“Be sure you’re aware of what’s included in your rental before hitting the road,” said Residencial Casa Linda. Some rental homes provide towels, sheets, linens, and other supplies, but the details should be included in your contract. If you don’t want to bring your own items, look into local companies that provide rentals for travelers. Some even have beach chairs, cribs, and other amenities that allow you to enjoy your trip with minimal luggage.
4. What’s the Parking Situation?
If you’re staying at a location where you’ll need a car, make sure there’s ample parking for everyone who’s staying at the home. Independent Traveler recommends learning the terms of local street parking so that guests won’t receive any surprise tickets. Also find out where there are any decals, badges, or other identification you’ll need to display to get access to a parking lot or garage.
5. How Do I Check In?
Unlike hotels where there’s a check-in desk to take care of your needs and provide your keys, policies for vacation rentals vary. Find out where you need to go or who you need to contact to gain access to the property upon your arrival. Some homes may be equipped with a keypad that simply requires you to punch a code, while others are serviced by a rental management company where you can pick up a key. If you’re arriving in the off hours, let the landlord or manager know ahead of time so you can make the necessary arrangements.
6. What Are Your Favorite Local Spots?
This question is more about fun than logistics. One of the best parts of opting for a rental home rather than a hotel is the opportunity to experience the town like a local. Whether it’s the best place to get fresh seafood or the quiet hiking trail that’s off the beaten path, getting recommendations from someone intimately familiar with the area is key to a successful trip.
In addition to these six questions, be sure to read up on the property before signing on the dotted line. Contract terms should be clear and provide details about all fees and charges. When choosing a home, you should also check out the aerial view to indicate aspects of the property that might not be evident from photos, such as proximity to the beach and other landmarks.