Booking a vacation rental is always an exciting process. You get to look through spectacular pictures, compare different places, and think about all the fun you’re going to have on your vacation.
Anyone who has booked a rental that turned out to be a total dud knows how important it is to find the right place. Here’s how you can make sure you choose the best vacation rental.
Start by Figuring Out Your Needs
The first thing to do is make a list of every feature and amenity you need in a vacation rental. If you do this first, you can use search filters to filter out any rentals that don’t fit you needs, speeding up the search process.
YouRent.com said, “Most people start with their budget and how many rooms they need”. With your budget, keep in mind that rentals often have additional fees, such as service and cleaning fees. Look at both the number of rooms and the number of beds, as often, vacation rentals have multiple beds per room. If your party doesn’t mind sharing rooms, you can save money by opting for a rental with multiple beds in each room.
Figure out your other must-haves by planning how you will use your vacation rental during your trip. Are you going to stream the occasional movie or work online? Make sure your rental has high-speed internet. Do you want to cook at your rental? Take a good look at those kitchen pictures. Want to bring your dog with you? Filter out places that don’t allow pets.
Don’t assume a rental will have a specific amenity. If it’s not in the pictures or listed in the description, contact the owner to confirm.
Look for Transportation Options in the Area
If you plan to take public transportation to explore the city, check out where potential vacation rentals are in relation to the nearest bus stop or train station. Many rental owners include this information in their listing, but you should double check, as their idea of a 10-minute walk may be very different than yours. You don’t want to end up with sore feet every night because you chose a rental miles away from the nearest bus stop.
Use Google Maps to get an accurate estimate of the walk time to the nearest public transportation option. While vacation rental listings usually don’t provide the address until after you book, they should include cross streets or a general location that you can plug in for your search.
Regardless of how you plan to get around, look for a rental that’s centrally located. Cut down your travel time so you have more time to enjoy yourself and explore the city.
Check Out the Neighborhood
Pictures and written descriptions can be deceiving. Fortunately, the internet provides plenty of ways for you to research an area without actually being there.
If you’re unfamiliar with a neighborhood, read about it online. You can also use Google Street View to take a look at a vacation rental’s surroundings. Use a site like Yelp to look up what kind of businesses are near a rental. You may find that one rental is right next to a charming café where you can start your day off with a quick snack and a cup of coffee. Or, you may find out that a rental is right next to a karaoke bar that will keep you up until 4 in the morning. Get as much information as possible about the neighborhood so you know what it’s like and so you can spot any potential annoyances.
Read Guest Reviews
No matter how great a rental looks in pictures, always read the reviews. Prior guests provide the most accurate look at what a rental is like. Ideally, you should read every review. If a rental has a large number of reviews, skim the shorter ones and pay more attention to the longer ones, which will have more details.