What you need to know about vacation rentals before you go

This time of year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, one or two weeks you get every year to get away from “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on someone’s much-needed sleep. But before you go home and leave, completely rethink your normal stay at the hotel. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is vacation rental.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city, and settle in a “home away from home” for your next vacation? This is what holiday rentals are for. These are homes that are waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each holiday rental owner will have different criteria in what type of tenant they are looking for, each holiday home rental will differ in amenities and each price will depend on the time of year and length of stay. So, sounds like a great idea, but how do you know how to do it all? It is not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions about vacation rentals. Read on, buddy, your next home vacation rental is just around the corner.

Frequently asked questions about vacation rentals

What are the benefits of vacation rental?

Do you ever want your hotel room to have just a little more personality? Yes, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s home for your vacation may be just what you’re looking for. Usually offering larger living space than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are about living the way you were in your own home. They offer more privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen cooking area, which will ultimately save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

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

Most vacation rentals are usually cheaper on an overnight basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner, you will avoid taxes, advice and other external fees. However, there is a big difference between costs based on a number of factors (see How much should I 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 monitored by a central management company, you will only know what you are getting into when you actually get to your rental. Many homeowners require a down payment or at least a large deposit fee before they arrive. Therefore, if things are not as you planned after arrival, or if you find your home unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose all prepaid money. This also applies to last minute cancellations. It usually does not recover. You always risk getting less than expected, but this is rare.

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

Another disadvantage of vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems you may encounter at home or during your stay. Most homeowners go around this with a list of emergency numbers, utilities and other similar items available to the tenant if they need anything.

What amenities are included in the holiday rental?

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

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: a TV, equipped kitchen, towels, bed linen and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when looking for the perfect place. Remember to find out exactly what you are paying for before sending the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Almost every type of home you would like to live in during your vacation is somewhere. From studios in central Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you can find what you are looking for. The range of options available is mind-boggling. In addition, every week, month and year there are new opportunities, as owners place their homes only for certain weeks or months of the year, the choice is constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals available in the United States only?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state in the United States and in almost every country in the world. Don’t be fooled by their different names, though. Holiday rentals are also known as holiday villas, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany, you will look for ferienwohnungen (yes, try to say that three times fast with a brawurst in your mouth!)

No matter what you call it, however, vacation rentals are a great option for those who are preparing to spend a few weeks in reality and enjoy a little of the good life.

How to find a property?

There are several ways to find the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Consult your local travel agent to find someone in your area who specializes in finding and collecting landlords and tenants. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Enter a search for “vacation rentals” and over 13,300,000 websites can only be found at Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States, while others specialize in vacation rentals around the world. There are some sites that will allow a potential tenant to search for a home according to specific search criteria, such as a specific destination, a certain number of bedrooms and the types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the online holiday rental services are only a “classic” or “classified” section of the newspaper. They are not responsible for the veracity or correctness of the advertisements listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, 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 many.

If you do not like everything tenant / owner, 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 like you’re really getting what you’re bargaining for (although nothing is ever 100% stupid proof). In addition, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before you arrive, they may be able to refund part of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it, as most owners do if canceled. With some agencies you will find that you pay a higher price than going directly to the owner. Here’s how agencies make money. There are always pros and cons to any 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 are visiting, the number of days you have stayed and the type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals, including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain period of time. There are other owners who can offer a free or extra house cleaning service with your stay, while some go to great lengths to ensure you have everything you need, even extra items such as cribs, prams or wheelchairs. Each vacation rental will be completely different from the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review several rentals to determine which one is best for your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden charges usually appear only after you arrive. These may include an additional phone call, house cleaning service, additional person fees, redundant heat and air conditioning bills, a pet deposit, computer access … etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your future vacation rental. Ask for any “extra” fees or if the house is “all inclusive”. Do you have free access to all closets and groceries? How about laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Holiday rentals

In summary, cover all the basics by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. Once these basics are out of the way, you will be ready to go out for your vacation home rental. Try it this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic way to really enjoy your next vacation.