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What you need to know about vacation rentals before you leave

That time of year is finally here. You know what I'm talking about, the one or two weeks that you get every year to escape from "real life" and be just that. Relax, eat and drink, enjoy your family, indulge in some much needed sleep. But before you pack up and leave, think about staying in a hotel too normal. Believe it or not, you have options, one of them is vacation rentals.

Wouldn't it be nice to leave your home, get to your destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for your next vacation? This is what vacation rentals are all about. These are the houses waiting for people to rent them on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria as to what type of renter is looking for, each holiday home will vary in amenities, and each price will depend on the time of year and length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? No problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about renting. Read, my friend, your next "home" vacation right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vacation Rentals

What are the benefits of a vacation rental?

Would you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yes, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's home for your vacation might be the thing you're looking for. They usually offer larger living spaces than hotel rooms, but all of these holiday homes treat life as if you were in your own home. They offer more privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area, which will save you money if you prepare your own meal.

You will enjoy several rooms and maybe even different levels instead of one large room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information about things to do and see in the local area. Holiday homes are clean, friendly, cozy and attractive. This is because many of them are not only rental homes but also act as part of their own part of the year residence.

Most holiday home rentals are usually cheaper per night than their hotel counterpart. If you rent directly from the owner, you will avoid tax, tips and other external costs. However, there is a big difference in costs based on a number of factors (see how much I should expect to pay below)

What are the disadvantages of vacation rentals?

Of course, there is always the other side of the coin. Since vacation rentals are not usually overseen by a central management company, you will only know what you are getting into when you actually get your rental. Many owners require a down payment or at least a large deposit fee prior to arrival. Therefore, if things are not as expected when you arrive or if you find your apartment unacceptable and decide to go to a local hotel, you may lose any money you paid in advance. This also applies to last minute cancellations. There is usually no refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals are usually cheaper than the average hotel room per night. But not always, so do your best with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another drawback of a vacation rental is the lack of an on-site board member who will handle any issues you may encounter at home or during your stay. Most owners circumvent this by having the landlord have a list of emergency numbers, utilities and other such things if they need anything.

What are the benefits of vacation rental?

Because each rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different benefits. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages and horse privileges. In the cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: a TV, a fitted kitchen, towels, linens, and everyday appliances, but you never mind asking these questions while looking for the perfect spot. Make sure you understand exactly what you are paying for before submitting your payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Almost every type of housing you would like to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From a studio in downtown Manhattan to a villa in southern Spain, you will be able to find what you are looking for. The range of options available is annoying. In addition, every week, month and year there are new opportunities as homeowners only set their homes for specific weeks or months of the year, the choice is constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every US state and almost every country in the world. Still, don't be fooled by their different names. Vacation rentals are also known as cottages, tourist rentals and holiday homes. If you are looking for it in Europe, the Italians call it agritourism, while the French say "gites". If you are in Germany, you will look for ferienwohnungen (yes, try saying that three times fast with a jerk in your mouth!)

No matter what you call it, vacation rentals are a great option for those who are about to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life for a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to find the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Consult with a local travel agent to find someone in your area who specializes in finding owners and renters and socializing with them. Another option is yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the internet. Enter your search for "vacation rentals" and you can find over 13,300,000 websites at http://www.google.com alone. Some websites list vacation rentals in the United States only, while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some websites that will allow the prospective renter to reside according to specific search criteria, such as a specific destination, a certain number of bedrooms, and the types of amenities included in the property.

Most vacation rentals on the Internet are just a newspaper section or "classified". They take no responsibility for the truthfulness or correctness of the advertisements stated on their websites. So, do your homework by calling, talking to the owner, and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty of them.

If you are not comfortable with the whole renter / landlord thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. There are some companies that strictly buy and rent homes to vacationers. They offer a little more security so you feel you really get what you stand for (although nothing is 100% proven nonsense). In addition, sometimes these agencies give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arrival, they may be able to repay some of your deposit or payment instead of holding it, as most owners do in the event of a cancellation. Some agencies will find that you pay a higher price than going directly to the owner. This is how agencies make money. There are always advantages and disadvantages to each scenario. Make sure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a difficult question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on the country or country you visit, the number of days you stay and the type of house you rent. Some owners offer package deals that include tickets or touring the event with rentals, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain amount of time. There are other owners who can offer free or additional cleaning services for their home, while some make great efforts to make sure you have everything you need, even extra things like a crib, high chair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be completely different from the next. Your best offer after you decide on a destination is to review more rentals to determine which one is best for your needs and overall budget.

Are there hidden costs?

Hidden fees usually only accrue after you arrive. This may include an additional phone call, housekeeping service, extra charges, excessive bills for heat and air conditioning, a pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when talking to the owner of your potential vacation rental. Ask about any "extra" fees or if the house is "all inclusive". Do you have free access to all your pantries and groceries? How's your laundry supplies? Any utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In short, cover all the basics by asking lots of questions. Obtaining your written agreement is also a very smart idea. Once these essentials are let down, you will be ready to move on to renting a vacation home away from home. Try this this year and see how vacation rentals can be a fantastic way to really enjoy your next vacation.