As the economy continues to lag many Americans are discovering the (somewhat) new world of vacation rentals. Families in particular are finding that vacation rentals are a much cheaper way to enjoy first class accommodations at reasonable prices. Renters can visit exotic locations and expensive cities for half the cost and three times the space of a traditional hotel. However, despite the perks of vacation rentals, many people have yet to try them out. There are various reasons for this, but one common issue is that the would be first time vacation renter is simply nervous about (or doesn't understand) the rental process. It's true, that when someone books a hotel they basically know what they are buying, a level of stale predictability. With a little homework and due diligence, anyone can find a vacation home that far exceeds their expectations.
This list of tips and tricks will help you, the first time vacation renter, get the right place the first time so you too can start enjoying the wonderful world of vacation rentals.
Vacation Rental Listing Sites
Currently all of the vacation rental listing sites are basically the same. They each have their own color scheme and look but their search functions and features are almost identical. Simply by googling 'vacation rentals' you can find a myriad of listing sites, so, just find one you are comfortable with and you're ready to start searching.
The hardest part of the whole vacation rental process (and maybe the reason many people don't rent them) is finding properties close to your destination. There are hundreds of vacation rentals in every major city, but if, for example, you searched 'Disneyland CA' on any of the major listing websites you would be given results from San Diego to Santa Barbara and everywhere in between. This search term on one of the larger sites brought back 540 listings. It would take long time to wade through all of these listings. Therefore, if you are traveling to a large metropolitan area like LA, it's best to find the name of the actual city you want to stay in eg 'Anaheim' for Disneyland. Unless you are familiar with the area you should start with Google Maps. From there you will be able to see the surrounding cities, attractions, etc. To use our Disneyland example, maybe you want to stay at the beach rather than in Anaheim. By using Google Maps you can see that Newport Beach or Huntington Beach would be great places to start looking for a vacation rental. On the same listing site as above the search 'Newport Beach CA' brought back 111 listings, and 'Huntington Beach CA' brought back 33 results. This is a much smaller list to manage and you know that the properties are all in close proximity to your desired destination.
Once you get your search narrowed to 4 or 5 houses that look good from their locations and pictures its time to start comparing. First, You need …