San Pancho Living
Do you make these mistakes
when choosing a vacation rental?
Follow these 7 tips to avoid aggravation—and protect yourself from an outrageous fee
1. Get clear on what you want to do. This helps you define your ideal location. Do you crave a vacation with city bustle, countryside tranquility, a particular view, specific activities, nearby dining?
2. Decide how you want to get around. This also helps you determine location. If you’ll bring or rent a car, you’ll need a place to park. If you want to walk everywhere, consider steep hills, slick cobblestones, narrow sidewalks, bad weather days—and heavy shopping bags. If you plan on using public transportation, are the stops in convenient locations?
3. Know your noise tolerance. Even small towns can be noisy. Vehicle traffic, honking horns, all-night party music, heavy construction, and 3 a.m. roosters can be invigorating for some and torturous for others.
4. Be realistic about your desires and budget. “You get what you pay for” is a cliché for good reason. A property’s location, view, size, furnishings, amenities and services drive rental rates.
5. Check local vacation rental listings and owner websites. Local listing websites can offer gems that get buried on VRBO, HomeAway, Airbnb, TripAdvisor, FlipKey and other giants.
When you find houses you love and in your price zone, look for the owner’s individual website and/or Facebook page for more photos, details and contact info.
6. Ask the owner questions. It’s perfectly acceptable to contact the property owner or manager with questions about the house, location, transportation options, noise and nearly anything else.
WARNING! As of August 2017, VRBO and HomeAway prevents you from directly contacting the owner until after you book.
7. Book direct with the owner to avoid an outrageous “service fee.” In 2016, VRBO, HomeAway and other listing sites began charging guests a service fee up to $499 per reservation.
This added fee is out of the property owner’s control.
VRBO and other listing sites try to sell this as a guest benefit. However, none of them can recommend where to go for dinner, help you book a whale watching trip, or tell you who has the best strawberries at the local weekly market.
Many property owners allow you to book directly through their websites and securely pay with a credit card—without automatically adding an undisclosed service fee.
Your vacation is supposed to be a welcome break from daily life. When you follow these easy tips for choosing a vacation rental, you’ll avoid aggravation and enjoy your dream vacation.