IN YOUR PRIME: How to find the right vacation rental

Vacations present an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, often recharging mind and body in the process. In fact, using vacation time can reduce stress and improve overall health.

While there is a certain measure of work that goes into vacation planning, and for some it can be stressful to coordinate all of the details, vacationing benefits tend to exceed the hassle of planning. Anxiety can be avoided or at least reduced by finding optimal accommodations. For many, that includes a vacation home rental. Individuals can consider these tips when selecting a vacation rental.

Why a vacation rental?

There are many different accommodations available for week-long getaways or shorter excursions. Oftentimes vacationers prefer a little more space than a standard hotel room can provide. A vacation home rental can be the type of place that prioritizes space and distance from others - something that has became even more valuable during the global pandemic.

Another advantage to a vacation rental is the ability to prepare some or all of the meals on the property. That can help corral expenses normally reserved for dining out for three meals a day. Instead, vacationers can pick one or more opportunities for special meals at restaurants and then cook “at home” for the remainder.

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Do your research

Travelers accustomed to staying in chain hotels and other resorts likely know what they are getting from the accommodations. That’s because these properties pride themselves on consistency. Whether you stay at a Marriott or Hyatt in one place or another, you’ll find similar furnishings, space and offerings.

When it comes to vacation rentals, things are a little less predictable. However, scouring reviews on sites that advertise vacation rentals, or relying on the experiences of people you know increases the likelihood that you’ll find unique and satisfying vacation rentals.

Prioritize needs and wants

Vacation rentals can be narrowed down by your desired amenities and features. For example, you can search by the number of bedrooms or for rentals that are pet-friendly if you’re bringing a companion animal along. Maybe you need a property that is close to transportation or has shopping nearby? Make a list of desired items and then choose properties that check most, if not all, of those boxes.

Verify allowances

A beachfront property commands a premium price, as do rentals that are adjacent to specific points of interest or in major cities. If you’re willing to stay further away, you likely can save a considerable amount of money. Investigate parking options, public transportation or if beach towns allow golf cart rentals to make reaching amenities easier.

Check all rental policies

Read through rental agreements before diving in. Items to look at include cancellation policies and whether or not penalties will be charged. Some rentals pass cleaning fees on to the renters or require deposits that will be returned only if there is no damage to the property.

Ask for the exact address

Rental property advertisements post the best angles in photos to help disguise any shortcomings. Close-ups of the home may not showcase the neighborhood in which its located. By having the exact address in advance, you can do a street view on Google, Apple or another online map and see what is around the property - including how close it really is to amenities. “Near the beach” can be anything from one street to a few miles away.

Consider exemplary hosts

Services like Airbnb and VRBO are two of the leading vacation home rental businesses. Airbnb has a category of Superhosts, who must boast at least a 4.8 rating to qualify. Superhosts tend to provide superior hospitality and respond to messages quite readily. Similarly, VRBO has Premier Hosts. They also consistently provide great experiences for guests. Choosing hosts with these ratings can help you feel more confident that you’ll be getting a desirable rental.

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