Today’s post was written by VaycayHero
Booking a home vacation rental is a huge decision. Family vacations can cost between 5-10% of your income, and it’s the thing you and your children talk about and plan all year long.
There are always common sense things to look into to avoid scams (such as never mailing cash or wiring money, and not confirming a rental without seeing photos of the unit, inside and out).
But there are also more subtle questions smart travelers should ask ahead of time to ensure they are getting the place their family counted on for their dream vacation.
Dont forget to ask the property owner:
- Is this image a picture of the actual rental or part of the resort’s amenities? Some vacation rentals are part of a larger condo or resort community, so make sure that picture of the “relaxing hot tub” or slide park is actually on site of the rental itself and not part of the community’s feature. Similar issues can come up for game rooms, pools, BBQ pit, etc.
- What is the cancellation and refund policy?
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the cancellation policy is. Every location and vacation rental may have its own unique guidelines.
- How far away is this property from top attractions? Are the miles calculated as aerial distance vs. driving distance?
Certain sites use aerial distance to measure the distance between a location and a vacation rental (i.e. ‘How far away is this home from downtown Myrtle Beach or Disney World?”). Sometimes, the driving distance is much more than the aerial distance. Be sure to know the difference. Aerial distances can be confusing and misleading as they make things seem closer than they actually are. Sites like VaycayHero use driving distance to show how far away something is, as most people are not propelling down from a helicopter to their vacation home.
- Pet-friendly? Is there a pet fee for the family dog?
- Is this a private home or a shared space?
Don’t feel like waking up to share the bathroom with a complete stranger on your family vacation? Then make sure to ask if the rental you are booking is a private house/condo.
- Can I actually book this rental or do I have to wait for the owner to respond to me?
Many sites state ‘book now’ but the majority of them force consumers to email the owner and then wait to hear back.
- Does this rental have central A/C?
It may seem obvious and expected in 2015, but some areas and rentals do not have central A/C. If you are traveling during a peak hot season, check on the air situation or bring a bunch of ice packs.
- Is this total actually the total?
Traveling with families can be expensive. Some booking sites place hidden fees. Double check to ensure everything is included in the price.
- Is there an onsite manager?
Sh*!*t happens, even on vacation. Make sure you know who will be around to help you out in case you need immediate assistance. Nothing ruins a family vacation like a pipe bursting…at 2am…on your first night there.
- Are medical facilities close by?
o Accidents and illnesses often come up on a family vacation. Good to know your options and proximity to the rental property.
- What are the dimensions of the mattress?
Most professionally managed rentals come with linens, but if it doesn’t and you need to bring your own, know what mattress sizes are there, so you can know what size sheets to bring.
Also, something to keep in mind, VaycayHeros concierge team is available 7 days a week to help be an advocate and ensure these questions are answered, even if the guest doesnt know what to ask.