How to Book a Vacation Rental
Expect the unexpected.
Think of this as insurance against a bursting pipe or a heater or a mad dash to the ER.
- Who should we contact if there's a problem with the property, such as a finicky water heater?
- Is there a local contact for back-up (essential if the homeowner lives miles away)?
- What is the nearest hospital and how do we get there?
- Is there cell phone reception? Internet access?
Take advantage of the owner's local knowledge.
Ask for recommendations on the following. You'll spend less time researching and more time living like a local.
- Great restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream stands
- Favored grocery stores
- Not-to-be-missed scenic and recreational spots, such as picnic spots, hiking trails, and golf courses.
- Non-tourist or off-the-beaten path activities, such as a local farmer's market or the buying lobster fresh off the boat at the dock
- Places of worship
- If you're bringing your dog, canine-friendly destinations
- Any other inside scoop the owner might share to help your family make the most of your time away.
Nothing erases a restful getaway more quickly than a mad dash to put things to rights before you depart. Avoid this by knowing the chores you need to check off before you head home. Should you strip beds? Take out garbage and recycling? Where should you leave keys? Plan ahead for this, and you'll come home feeling refreshed instead of frenzied.
Finding a rental
If you think a vacation rental is right for your family, here's how to begin your search for the perfect place:
- Visit websites that specialize in helping vacationers find privately-owned vacation homes, such as vrbo.com, homeaway.com, vacationrentals.com, and vacationrentals411.com.
- Log onto craigslist.org, then click on the state you'd like to explore, then "housing," and "vacation rentals."
- Find the local or nearest city papers to your destination and search their online classifieds.
- Contact friends and family, who may know vacation home-owners who are seeking renters.