To book a vacation rental or a hotel?
That is the question.
Sometimes when I’m traveling solo or with one other person, I get lazy. I just stick with the ease of booking a standard hotel room mainly because I know what to expect. I get it, sometimes it’s more familiar to book a room versus a vacation rental.
However, renting a vacation home really does have its perks. If you’re visiting a city with a large group of people (ex: family reunion), you’re bound to save money by booking an entire house; while getting the opportunity to experience the city like a true local.
As a host of 24 vacation rental properties in Virginia Beach, Virginia, I have some sound advice for those thinking about renting a vacation home. My three simple suggestions below will ensure you book the perfect accommodation for your needs.
Know What You Want
When you begin the search for your rental home, know what amenities you’re looking for and what you’re willing to pay for the space you need. A lot of times you will save money by booking a rental comparing apples to apples is key when doing research.
Traveling for a family reunion or a big wedding weekend? Start by analyzing the group and figure out how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Try to find a host who provides linens and towels included in their pricing. Often times, the rentals that accommodate large crowds will provide almost everything you need, including complimentary shower essentials, paper products and cleaning supplies.
The majority vacation home pricing takes into consideration things like the fully stocked kitchen, the extra propane tank out back for the grill and private on-site parking. These add-ons allow you to walk right in and gives you that feeling of home which makes it well worth the rental rate!
Do Your Homework
When you’re tasked with finding the perfect vacation rental for your group, it is completely normal to experience trepidation. It’s a big endeavor! However, the places that are worthy of reserving make the process extremely easy by responding quickly and giving you that personal touch that you don’t get from those large corporate hotel chains!
The quality of the home must be readily apparent. Look for professional photos inclusive of the entire house and read the detailed description carefully. The devil is in the details! You want to make sure you understand the property so it’s in your best interest to review the photos and the description as one full piece. Don’t hesitate to ask questions – it’s the hosts’ job to answer clearly and thoroughly. Good hosts will walk you through the entire process and outline next steps so you know exactly what to expect. This is your chance to get to know them so you feel comfortable proceeding with payment.
Due diligence is key! Google search the company or person offering the home. See if they have a Facebook or other social media showcasing images and local happenings. Check out their website and get a feel for who they are and the faces behind the homes. And most importantly, worthy homes will have tons of reviews. Read up!
Although I’m biased, I truly believe a vacation rental has oodles of benefits over a hotel room. Rentals are just like your home – they have comfortable living areas that contribute to fond memories and gathering, cable and WiFi, a large kitchen with all the cookware you need to prepare the largest of meals, working appliances, washers, dryers, plush bedrooms with spacious bathrooms, yards, courtyards, and Adirondacks for lounging over conversation and coffee. Sometimes they even offer concierge and guest services, hint – hint: Coastal Accommodations!
But, like any other form of rental or your own home, sometimes things can go wrong. That’s where reputable hosts and choosing a reliable rental company is crucial. If the heat pump stops working on a cold winter day, you’ll need to relay the issue to the contact. You should receive a timely response and solution. Small leaks, clogged toilets, broken towel racks and thermostat issues are par for the course in vacation rental property management. Seasoned hosts will act quickly to ensure your stay is nothing short of fabulous. If issues arise the are fixed behind the scenes in the fastest manner possible.
Whatever your reason is for wanting to check out vacation rentals as an accommodation option, rest assured there are hosts out there who’s ultimate goal is to make your job easier! Begin the research process with clear expectations and decide what you want. Then, simply stick with your gut. If you receive honest, timely communication and quality photos, you’re golden. Reviews tell-all, so definitely read up. And remember, the vacation rental experience is very much a pairing of two parties who are trying to achieve the same goal: a happy, memorable stay!
Bonus Tip: Keep in mind that although inquiring and booking your perfect vacation rental home may be slightly more time consuming, but so worth it.