4 Essential Vacation Rental Tips for First Timers
Travel agents love first timers, since they don’t know the industry or area. They are the easiest people to sell the expensive all-inclusive package to or promote the expensive upgraded packages with options the person doesn’t need but doesn’t know aren’t essential. However, we’re here to educate you so that you don’t pay more for a trip than necessary. Here are four essential vacation rental tips for first timers.
Pick a Rental Based on Your Needs, Not Necessarily Recommendations
Financial guru Dave Ramsey talks about the time his family almost rented a lodge that was highly recommended. When he asked a friend familiar with the resort about the location, he said you wouldn’t ski down the slope, but fall down it because the lodge was only accessible at the bottom of a double diamond slope – and Mr. Ramsey’s family wanted to learn how to ski. Ensure that the travel agent or hotel manager you are speaking with understands your needs before reserving a room. Does the facility allow smoking or pets, if that is a requirement for you? Is the facility family friendly? Does it have enough beds and space to be comfortable? It doesn’t matter if it is a top rated hotel or an affordable location if it isn’t what you want or need.
Rent through a Reputable Service or Agent
You may be able to get all-inclusive deals through a travel agent, or they may take your money and book you on the worst vacation of your life. You may send a down payment on a great deal on a one week stay at a second tier resort, and it may turn out to be a scam artist. You can help protect yourself by renting through a website with protections, whether it is Airbnb, Travelocity, HomeAway or the resort’s own website, such as when you’re looking for Snowmass Vacations condos for rent.
Booking a travel deal or lodging arrangement through these websites gives you a measure of protection, such as when Airbnb paid out to customers who found accommodations lacking and hosts whose apartments were trashed. A side benefit of this strategy is avoiding problems with rentals that are in violation of local laws, such as room rentals for less than a month in New York and San Francisco. Then there’s the fact that using a reputable website or travel agent ensures that the people you are giving your payment information to aren’t scammers and have adequate security for their online transactions.
Check Out the Property in Advance
It isn’t always possible to physically check out a property in advance, such as when you’re arranging a vacation on the other side of the continent. However, you can check the address someone wants to rent out and see if it is a private home owned by someone other than the person trying to rent it out. You should check the online ratings and Better Business Bureau reputation of a hotel or resort so that you don’t end up staying somewhere the locals know has a problem with crime or bedbugs. Actually look at where it is located on a map. Walking distance to the beach may sound like it is a few steps from the hotel room when they really mean a two mile hike. Where possible, drive past the hotel before you show up to check in for the night, so that you can cancel the reservations and go somewhere else if you realize the facility is in a dangerous part of town.
Pay Using a Method that Protects You
Don’t pay for rentals with cash or PayPal. Never send someone a check through the mail to book a hotel, cabin for rent or other arrangement. Make a payment in a way that third parties can trace and rectify such as with a debit card or credit card. Credit cards and debit cards allow you to challenge the charges if your payment account information is stolen or the business tacks on extra charges at the end of your stay. They also generate third party tracking of the transaction so you can show the hotel manager that yes, you rented the room on X date for that amount of money.
If you are about to book a vacation rental for the first time, keep these tips in mind.