Rental Services


Special Offers


How to Pick A Vacation Rental



Title: How to Pick a Vacation Rental

Author: Barbara Pfieffer

What you need to know about Vacation Rentals

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I'm talking
about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from
"real life" and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy
your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you
pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay.
Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the
vacation rental.

Wouldn't it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your
destination city and settle into a "home away from home" for
your next vacation? That's what vacation rentals are all about.
These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation.
Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what
type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house
will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependant on the
time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great
idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a
problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked
questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your
next "home away from home" vacation rental is right around the

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more
personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else's
home for your vacation might just be the thing you're looking
for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms,
these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in
your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and
most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end
will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You'll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels,
instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many
owners will leave information on things to do and see in the
local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly,
comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them aren't
just rental homes, but also function as the owner's own
residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night
basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the
owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other extraneous charges.
However, there is a wide variation among costs based on a number
of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there's always the other side of the coin. As
vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing
company, you'll only know what you're getting yourself into when
you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require
pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving.
Therefore, if things aren't the way you anticipated after
arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide
to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid.
This is also true for last minute cancellations. There isn't
usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than
you expected, but, it's rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an 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 to vacation rentals is the lack of a
managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may
encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most
owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers,
utility companies and other such items available to the renter
should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

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

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped
kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never
hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect
place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for
before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in
during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in
downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you'll be
able to find what you're looking for. The range of available
options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and
year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up
for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are
constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in
every state of the US and almost every country in the world.
Don't be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation
rentals are also known as holiday cottages, 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 be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep,
try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a
great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off
from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation
rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to
find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and
renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow
pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the
Internet. Type in a search for "vacation rentals" and over
13,300,000 websites can be found just on www.google.com alone.
Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States
while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are
some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a
residence by specific search criteria such as a particular
destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities
that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only
the "go-between" or the "classified" section of the newspaper.
They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the
ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by
making phone calls, speaking with 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.

If you're not comfortable with the whole renter/owner thing,
there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies
exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They
offer a bit more security so that you feel you are truly getting
what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool
proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you
cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before
arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit
or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a
cancellation occurs. With some agencies you'll find that you pay
a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the
agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to
each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will
depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days
you are staying, and 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 length of time. There are other owners who may offer
free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some
go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even
additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each
vacation rental will be entirely different than the next. Your
best bet after deciding on your destination is to review
multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your
needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These
may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra
person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet
deposit, computer access... etc. Again, be extremely thorough
when interviewing the owner of your prospective vacation rental.
Ask about any "extra" fees, or if the house is "all-inclusive".
Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How
about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting
your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these
basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your
home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see
for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to
really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

About the author:
Barbara Pfieffer lives in Oregon and loves it. She shares her
information about things to do on an Oregon vacation. Visit her
website http://www.vacation-in-oregon.com/">Vacation-In-Oregon.com
 for more information



Copyright 2005 Owner Holiday Rentals All Rights Reserved