When going on a vacation, most tourists have two choices. Either stay in an established resort/hotel or a vacation rental. The latter is not usually owned by a corporate hospitality company but by a private individual who has repurposed their home to generate revenue. Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes these overlap. However, there is far more room for error when choosing a vacation rental over a resort, as these tend to differ considerably in scope and price. Choose well, and you’ll have a unique vacation to remember that will be hard to replicate. Choose poorly, and you might find yourself cutting your losses and looking for the nearest hotel. Here are some of the most common mistakes to avoid when choosing a vacation rental.
Judging a Book by its Cover
Don’t judge a book by its cover. Just because the photos look great doesn’t necessarily mean that what you see is what you get. Firstly, if there are only a few home photos, that should be a red flag. You want the images to reveal every square inch of the property, including all the bedrooms, kitchen(s), bathrooms, living room and games rooms. Secondly, scrutinize the reviews and look for any common themes. If several guests complained of poor water pressure in the bathroom, this could be a reason to choose elsewhere. Poor air conditioning might be another reason to look elsewhere. However, these issues will not show up on photos of a home,
Not Researching the Location
Again, photos can be deceiving. For example, your vacation home might abut a busy road or be miles away from any amenities and grocery stores. The last thing you want is a long drive to get to the beach/lake or ski slopes. Even worse is hearing gunshots at night or being awoken by animal noises outside your rental.
Choosing a Cheaper Rental to Save Money
Generally, the saying, ‘you pay for what you get,’ also holds true for vacation rentals. If you try to save a few dollars on price, you might regret it. Even if you have no problem staying in spartan hostel-like accommodation, the fellow travelers in your group might not be so willing.
Not Using an Established Platform
These days new vacation platforms are popping up all over the place. If a vacation rental is any good, it’s usually on one of the main sites, such as Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. Don’t trust your vacation to an unknown site because you’ll need to ensure well-defined insurance and cancelation policies are in place should things go awry. Also, you want a well-established line of communication before, during, and after your stay.
Having False Expectations
You’ll need to reset your expectations if you’re expecting five-star hotel-like treatment in your vacation rental. No one’s coming in to clean and make your beds during your stay. If you forget toiletries, there’s no popping down to the front desk for more. Research extensively and know what you’re getting into before booking.
Raising Issues as They Arise
Reputable booking sites will give you a checklist of what to expect when you check-in. This checklist is either online or on the premises itself. They can include kitchen appliances, HVAC instructions, water jugs, towels, and more. Make sure everything is on hand and working as it should when you first check in. If there are any issues, notify the vacation management team immediately, so they can fix them and not detract from your vacation.
Disobeying the House Rules
Vacation rentals have strict rules about the number of guests allowed, minimum age, pets, noise, and arrival and departure times. Following a spate of “party-home” disasters resulting in violence, safety and security issues are a significant concern for vacation rental platforms. So, stick to the rules if you don’t want to incur a lifetime ban and potential legal action.
Paying Attention to the Check-in and Check-out Policies
Just because no front desk or a cleaning crew is knocking on your door at check-out time doesn’t give you the right to disobey the check-in and check-out policies.
If you rent in a remote setting, common sense rules such as securing bikes, boats, and other activity-based equipment before you leave are usually mandatory. Similarly, placing the kitchen trash bags in a plastic receptible is generally requested upon leaving. Checking out on time is expected. Even though sending a notificatication to the management company upon departure might not be requested, it is polite.
Booking a vacation rental can be rewarding and memorable but doing your research beforehand is essential. Booking a rental on a respected site with stellar reviews and trying to avoid penny-pinching can guarantee you a vacation to remember.
Mak Realty checks all the boxes if you’re in the Miami area and looking for a place to stay. We are listed on all the reputable sites, often at the top of the page, with plenty of stellar reviews. In addition, our accommodation is usually at premium resorts, so you are guaranteed a premium experience. This includes plenty of amenities, impeccably clean and luxurious accommodation, and 24/7 customer service.