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10 Vacation Rentals Advices

Published on February 6, 2019 by Mike

If you want to fulfill your duties in the local landscape, as well as be “as at home”, in whatever country you are now, the best choice over here is take up a vacation rental. You can find a large variety of items available from a single bedroom to a luxury apartments on the shore(if there is any of course), that’s a quite a different thing then a hotel. And we prepared 10 hacks for you not to tap into this growing market.

Scrutinize the Listing

Firstly you have to double check if the listing you find is up to date or accurate, and even true to life.  I once stayed at a house that had people jumping off a dock in the photos, but it turned out that the part of the house we were staying in did not allow access to the dock. Reading reviews from past guests and reaching out to the property owner directly can help you catch such inconsistencies.

You’ll also want to keep an eye out for “sleeps X people” numbers that don’t line up well with the number of bedrooms. If you’re not looking to pack a couple of people onto a sleep sofa in the living room, view these numbers with caution.

Double-Check Availability

Availability is another important thing you have to check. It’s actually a casual thing when the rentals marked as available are already booked, and whose that are occupied are free to move in. So take your time for some additional called not to be worried about that right after arrival.

Reach Out Before Booking

A good thing to do is to reach out your host, before actual booking. Well aside of the important questions you can ask and issue yo can resolve, you can ask whether there’s anything in particular you should know before your stay; beds may have been removed, the pool might be empty, air conditioning might be limited, parking may be non-existent, or there might be other renters in the same building that might not be a good match.

It’s worth asking if the owner or others will be at the property. I once rented an upstairs floor in a beach house where just after arriving we were told that the owner’s elderly relative was staying downstairs, so could we please refrain from walking around after 8 p.m. so she could sleep? This was obviously not in the listing.

Check a Map App or Real Estate Site

Not all properties include the actual address, so ask for it and then map the location. This will tell you a lot, including helping to avoid the “just minutes” ruse about distances to the beach, restaurants, downtown, and the like.

While you’re at it, pull up the street view to get a realistic look at the area. Another of my favorite vacation rental hacks is to look up the area on, zoom in on the property, then switch to satellite view; in many places, uses actual aerial photos along the lines of those that used to make Bing Maps so useful. can also offer information on official square footage as well as bedroom and bathroom count as reported to local authorities, offering another way to get around fudged or optimistic property descriptions.

Pack Smart

Yes you can count on things like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and other toiletries as needed, when you are heading to the hotel. But going rental, you can’t be absolutely sure about that, so pack yourself smart. Older homes or apartment buildings may have limited places to plug stuff in, so packing an extension cord or power strip (or both) will help keep your stuff charged.

Of course you can look through the listing to see if the coffee included, so you won’t save room for that, or get a local coffee. But you know waht

You might also want to bring your own coffee if it’s not mentioned as an inclusion in the listing. Sure, you could go to a local cafe, but as a friend of mine who regularly stays at vacation rentals says, “It is the first morning that you have to worry about. You are on vacation staying in a nice house, and you don’t want to have to drive around looking for your first cup of vacation coffee.” Enough said.

Finally, if you are concerned at all about the count or comfort of the sleeping arrangements, bringing your own air mattress can help. The better versions of these can be quite comfortable, but they are often bulky, so these are best saved for road trips.

Review the Property as Soon as You Arrive

Much as you would do when renting a car, do a walk-through of the property upon arrival to check for damage, missing amenities, non-functioning appliances, and other issues. If the owner is not present when you arrive, register all concerns immediately by phone, text, or email. Do not leave pre-existing problems for which you could be blamed upon departure.

Get a Cell Phone Number

Make sure to ask for your host’s cell phone number, ideally before you arrive. Not only does this help ensure a smooth check-in and key exchange, but it could also be useful during your stay in case of plumbing problems, access code errors, setting off alarms accidentally, or other unexpected issues.

Look for Fun Stuff

Vacation rentals can offer all kinds of benefits that you can’t get at a hotel without paying extra—think bicycles, a private pool, dock access, kayaks, surfboards, a trampoline, playsets, strollers, even ski passes.

If you see such amenities in the listing, ask your host how to get them. There may be pool access codes, shed or garage lock combinations, and other impediments to keep the general public from plundering the resources of a given rental property. If the rental is in a condo complex or gated community, you are often eligible to use all facilities available to owners, so you’ll want to ask where they are and how to use them.

Ask About Flexible Checkout Times

There may not be another renter coming in right after you, and property owners or caretakers don’t always arrive to clean the property immediately as would occur at a hotel, so checkout times may be flexible. If the owner gives the OK, arrive early and stay late to extract the maximum enjoyment from your vacation.

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