Booking a Vacation Rental? Keep These 5 Things in Mind

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You always have a choice when it comes to your vacation. Some people are able to stay with family while traveling, while others regularly use a favorite chain of hotel or motel. When you travel with your family—especially if you have children—it’s always nice to stay somewhere a bit homier than a sterile hotel room. It’s also great to find a place that your children can run around in without fear of waking up whomever is on the other side of the wall. For this reason and many others, booking a vacation rental home may be the best option for you.

One of the advantages of a vacation rental is that they are usually cheaper than renting multiple hotel rooms for everyone in the family. One price can get you as many bedrooms, sitting areas, and bathrooms as you desire! This way everyone can stay under one roof instead of being spread out over several different separate hotel rooms. Another advantage is that vacation rental homes feature full kitchens, which allows you to save on dining out. Stopping by a grocery store and making a nice breakfast, packing a picnic lunch, or even barbecuing a meaty dinner can save you quite a bit of money while traveling.

Amy Wise-Coble, general manager of The Homeowner’s Collection in Seaside, Florida, said, “Staying in a vacation rental gives you more of a family experience than you’ll find at a hotel or resort. Everyone is under one roof, so there’s more time together.”

If you’ve never stayed in a vacation rental before, here are a few things to be aware of before you make your reservations:

1. You won’t get daily maid service like you would in a hotel. You live in the vacation rental just as you would live in your own home. Almost all of the vacation rentals have the units cleaned between visits, so you may have to make your own bed (or are on vacation!).  
2. The price you are quoted may not include cleaning fees. These are added on during checkout because cleaning is a one-time event regardless of how long you stay. Ask upfront what any additional fees will be before you book so there are no surprises.  
3. Another difference between a vacation rental and a hotel is that you usually will need to leave a damage deposit when booking. This is similar to when you rent a car—the owners hold this deposit to make sure they are covered in case of any damage done. This deposit is usually refunded upon checkout if there is no damage to the property.  
4. Understand that the sleeping arrangements will differ greatly from a hotel or motel. Hotel rooms are standardized so you know what you are getting every time. Each vacation rental is unique though. Ask beforehand how many beds are in each room. Are there sleeper sofas or bunkbeds, and where are they located? Who will be sharing what bathroom? Sometimes you can save big money by choosing a unit with fewer bedrooms that can still sleep everyone in the family.  
5. Most importantly, call if you aren’t sure! Vacation rental agencies are experienced in helping guests find a house that works perfectly for their family. Calling is often easier and better than combing through every photo and page on a website. Calling will also give you the most current, updated information as well. 

General Manager of Gatlinburg Falls Resort Billy Parris said, “We go to great lengths to post photos, videos, and virtual tours of our properties. This gives potential guests a great way to see what they are getting.” Parris shared how one family needed to sleep six, but their budget didn’t fit a large cabin. Luckily, with Parris’s help, they were able to book them into a one-bedroom cabin that slept six through a combination of a loft, bunkbeds, and a sleeper sofa. This is why calling and getting personalized service is so important when booking a vacation rental home. Each home is unique and has its own features, just like your own home does. Calling and asking questions from someone who knows the ins and outs of each rental is what makes the rental homes such special places to stay during your vacation.

Now that you know what the most important things about vacation rental homes are, call and reserve yours today!

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