How to Select Vacation Rentals for Your Vacation

Going on a vacation is meant to be a time of relaxation and enjoying the area you are visiting. The toughest part of planning a vacation, is finding a place to stay while you are vacationing. Hotels are often the first choice of most travelers; however, there is a lack of “comfort” at most hotels. A fantastic alternative are vacation rentals such a house or condo that owners rent out to travelers. The homes used for vacation rentals are truly like vacationing in a home-like environment. There are some factors to take into consideration when booking vacation rentals such as amenities, location, and price and if they are pet friendly.

Vacation home rentals typically consist of an apartment, condo or home that contains all of the amenities you would have at home. The kitchens are fully stocked with all cooking appliances, cooking wares, utensils and dishes. vacation rentals with a kitchen are very convenient, especially for families and you will save a great deal of money from cooking your meals as opposed to having meals at expensive restaurants. It is important for you to determine what activities are available at the rentals you are considering. For example many of the vacation rentals in beach towns also have a swimming pool on the property, however, these are individual owned homes and many may not have a swimming pool available.

The location where you are considering vacation rentals will determine the price. In high tourist areas, vacation homes will be slightly more expensive. However, there are usually several vacation rentals located in the residential sections of town that are less expensive than those in the center of the attractions. If you can plan to vacation during the off season, vacation rentals are often less than half the price than what the rent is during peak seasons. The price is also determined by the size of the vacation home. If you are traveling single or as a couple, consider renting a studio apartment to save a great deal of money while still having the comforts of a vacation home. Large families or groups traveling together can often find homes to rent for vacation with as many as ten bedrooms. Renting a large house for a group means sharing the price which is usually far less than renting several hotel rooms.

If you travel with a pet you will most likely encounter several hotels that do not accept pets and many that do, limit the size or weight of the pet. Vacation rental homes often have fenced in areas and permit pets with a small deposit. A hotel that accepts pets may charge the pet deposit on a daily basis, so if you are vacationing for three or more days, the pet deposit can be expensive. A vacation rental home typically charges a flat rate for a pet deposit which will save you money and when you rent a home with a fenced yard the pet can play outside while you are sightseeing or visiting local attractions.

When searching for vacation rentals keep in mind the location of the property and the proximity to area attractions. Some websites are helpful to give you such detailed information and find easily a place to rent, you can try Google to find such websites where you can get lots of properties to rent all over the world, with detailed information. Last tip: a few things to keep in mind when booking a vacation rental home is to inquire about linens and towels as some homes require you to bring your own and inquire about departure cleaning fees as some home owners charge a departure.

What You Need to Know about Vacation Rentals before You Go

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a “home away from home” for your next vacation? That’s what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next “home away from home” vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s home for your vacation might just be the thing you’re looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You’ll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them aren’t just rental homes, but also function as the owner’s own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other extraneous charges. However, there is a wide variation among costs based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there’s always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you’ll only know what you’re getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things aren’t the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There isn’t usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it’s rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Don’t be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for “vacation rentals” and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the “go-between” or the “classified” section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you’re not comfortable with the whole renter/owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are truly getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100% fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you’ll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different than the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access… etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospective vacation rental. Ask about any “extra” fees, or if the house is “all-inclusive”. Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals Can Make Vacations Truly Memorable

A vacation is something that everyone yearns for after months of toil and hard work. It is that time when one forgets all his/her worries and desires to relax and enjoy. With high hopes for a perfect holiday one must choose between many beautiful tourist locations and decide on one particular location. However, deciding on a great location is just one element in the whole process of vacation planning. Deciding on the best accommodation, its location, the desired amenities, and the price is also and important part of the vacation planning process. While hotels have historically been the preferred choice for many travellers, these rentals are fast becoming a popular choice for accommodations around the world.

It can be anything from rented homes, cottages, cabins, villas or condos. No matter what type of rental accommodation you choose, it will typically be more spacious than a hotel room and are offer an affordable price. These rentals range from rustic cabins to plush homes or condos. Luxury vacation rentals offer gourmet kitchens, home theatres, saunas, hot tubs and spas, fireplaces, charming gardens, alarm systems, books and much more. Some rentals also offer maid services, grocery delivery, catering and laundry services. Some rental managers or owners can also arrange access to private clubs such as golf or exercise facilities.

Most vacation rentals are situated near prime locations and popular tourist areas of the vacation destination. These great locations provide vacation rental guests the opportunity to easily explore the area. These rentals serve as a second home located in the heart of your vacation destination and provide all the comforts that one desires while on a vacation.

It can be securely booked online with a credit card through vacation rental sites or you can get-in-touch directly with the property owner or manager. Using the help of professional rental managers can prove beneficial if you are looking for a customized package to meet your requirements. They may also offer discounted rates for last-minute rentals or off-season rentals periods.

These rentals typically offer better value than hotels, especially if one is on a holiday with the family or group. One vacation rental can accommodate one or more families which would typically require several hotel rooms. This can lead to significant cost savings and provide amenities and flexibility that is not available in hotels.

Some of the things one should keep in mind before deciding to go for a vacation rental:

* Price – Budget is an important factor for a vacation and it is essential to set a budget for accommodations and then narrow the selection to vacation rentals that meet the budget.

* Accommodation Size – This is also an important consideration which depends on the number of people in the group on the vacation trip. Room configuration is also important so that couples, singles, small children and seniors can all be accommodated.With a larger group one can opt for bigger homes or cabins while small condominiums or cottages would be ideal for a couple.

* Location – Your should look for those vacation rentals that in an area that matches the type of activities your plan to pursue. A centrally located rental offers the opportunity to explore the area and walk to beaches, ski areas shops or restaurants. On the other hand if you wish to stay away from the hustle-bustle, you can opt for a property that is more remote and maximizes privacy and quiet.

* Amenities – A huge variety of amenities are available at vacation rentals so it is important to decide the must-have amenities versus amenities that would be nice-to-have but will not be the deciding factor. For example, if you a hot tub and high-speed internet are on your must-have list, this will simplify the selection process and make sure you find the rental that will provide the vacation experience you are looking for.

10 Tips for Selecting the Perfect Costa Rica Vacation Rental

Planning a Tropical vacation full of lush jungles, secluded beaches, and friendly people but not too expensive? Costa Rica is the place to go! But where do you stay, a resort or a private villa? Do you want long lines, crowded pools, kids running up and down the corridors? I think not.

Selecting the best Costa Rica vacation rental can be the difference between a great vacation and one where you feel like you are ‘doing without’.

Many vacationers consider the Costa Rica vacation rental as ‘just somewhere to stay’ since most of your time will be spent in or on the water, or enjoying local attractions. Don’t make that mistake. There is no reason to settle for less when, with a little planning, you can find a great Costa Rica vacation rental that you’ll enjoy as much or more than the other parts of your vacation.

Remember, your vacation home is where you’ll be sleeping, waking up, having many of your meals, and resting.

If it rains or is unseasonably hot outside, you may end up stretched out reading a book to while away the day or wanting to watch one of your favorite movies on the DVD – assuming there is a comfortable sofa. And when you meet new friends, you’ll want someplace nice for entertaining. Shouldn’t your vacation rental be a pleasant get-away with the amenities that make vacations a real treat? “A home away from home”

Here are 10 tips to for selecting the perfect Costa Rica vacation rental:

1. The single most important factor is whether or not you can “see” actual recent photos of the interior and exterior of the vacation rental. It’s one thing to read a great description – and some of them are quite ‘complimentary’ (sometimes overly so) – but you need to see what you are getting.

With the Internet, a website is the quickest most convenient way for you to get information on prospective Costa Rica vacation rentals. If there are no pictures, you’ll know right away to keep looking. Brochures, books and guides are nice, but may have out-dated information.

2. List the amenities that are important to you, the ones without which you will feel incomplete. Next, jot down those that are nice to have, but not deal-breakers if not available.

With these lists as a guide, you’ll be able to quickly eliminate those rentals that won’t meet your needs. Your list might include proximity to the water, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, type kitchen (full versus fridge and microwave), outdoor amenities such as decks and BBQ grills, ocean views, private pools, outdoor eating areas, tennis courts and other items important to you.

On your secondary list, you might have things like a hammock for lazing about, or pool waterfall for the relaxing sounds. Exterior stereo speakers, to enjoy your favorite music around the pool. Ice makers to mix your favorite drinks, especially in the heat of the day.

3. List the activities that you want to be able to enjoy while on vacation. A morning activity like scuba diving, snorkeling or canopy tour then coming back to the villa to relax may be a high priority for you.
You also need to consider how close the vacation rental is to the airport. It is very important to know how far the rental is from your arrival airport. Some rentals can take a half a day’s drive and after your flight even an hour’s drive can seem an eternity. Your travel time back to the airport at departure can also frustrate your entire vacation. Enjoying your last morning of your vacation by a private pool instead of traveling for hours to the airport can be very important to you. For Costa Rica vacation rentals that are only 20 minutes from the Liberia International airport.

How to Turn Your Home Into a Vacation Rental

Since the vacation rental industry has an explosive boost and became a multi-billion dollar industry, many homes located near resorts and national park areas have been converted into vacation rentals by the homeowners. And with more tourists coming every year to their favorite tourist spots, this is an indication that homeowners should consider their extra homes or part of their homes to be used as vacation spaces.

If you are thinking about turning your home into a vacation rental, you have to consider some factors that will ensure you make the right decisions. Renting your home is not as simple as accepting people to live in your house and paying you when they leave. Your temporary tenants are your responsibilities and anything that can happen to them or to their properties can also be your responsibility. So you have to check with your city or community’s homeowners association about guidelines on how to turn your abode into a rental place. You may also need to pay taxes with it. However, turning your home into vacation rental can be easy as long as your home can be a safe place to live and you have the amenities to provide your tenants comfortable stay.

So here are some tips to give you ideas on how to have an extra income out of your home.

10 Steps in Making Your Home into an Ideal Vacation Rental

1. See to it that your home is most suitable to be a vacation rental. Since there could be some homes in your area that may also be accepting rentals, your home must also have unique features to attract vacationers. Your property should be desirable, have good amenities and located in a marketable place and that means it is situated in or near a tourist spot where people from other places would take days to have their vacations. Is your home has great view? If it does, you can still enhance it. Does it have a good connection to the internet? If it doesn’t have it, apply for it. Your guests will definitely need it.

2. Your home vacation space should have nice and working interior and exterior features. Make sure everything inside and outside your property is working well, presentable and always look new. You can do repair, add more furniture, have nice beddings and put on a nice lawn or landscape.

3. If you can’t afford to clean the space regularly, find a good housekeeping service. It will be a good point if you can hire a regular and trusted cleaning service for your home rental. If there are many available home vacation spaces in your area, you can have an advantage with your clean and neat space.

4. Have an organized and secured key system in your office. Normally, it would be ideal to have a key system with lock in your home or in your office to keep in the keys. Without it, your tenants and their properties would be at risk. Hold the key to this system and no one must hold it except you or your wife in case you are away. Kids sometimes misplace keys. Also, make sure the keys are returned to you prior to the guests leaving your home.

5. Make some rules for your home rental. You need to set some rules for your guests to follow and tell them these are necessary for their own protection such as the proper use of electrical appliances, the use of trash cans, where dirty clothes should be put, avoidance of creating noises, and so on. Rules can favor everybody not only your guest but other people as well.

6. Promote your home rental into something inviting and show it as a secured place. Use your talent in creating homey pictures out of your home if you want to attract potential residents. You will be giving clear visuals to people on how they can enjoy your place and you just need a high resolution digital camera for this. Post the pictures on a tourism website or in your blog. Or you can hire someone to do a professional job in creating pictures showing the greatest ambiance of your home. With your pictures, you must also have a good description of your property with accurate information.

7. If you have a large home or numbers of properties you want to rent out, you can also hire rental agents or a property management firm to manage your properties. These groups can also do the promotion for you. They know what to do to make your properties very in-demand in the market. You just monitor them regularly so that you know what’s going on with your properties.

8. Buy vacation rental software if you are not sure on what to do to make your home rental vacation an ideal one. The software will give you a clear idea on how to manage a vacation house and will tell you all about stuff with regards to promotion and security.

9. Ready your database for your marketing and booking reservations. Since you are now ready to accept vacationers, you must all be ready to have an online system and an efficient database to keep everything in order with an easy access.

10. Securing your properties with regular monitoring. Sometimes it is necessary that you must hire someone to guard your premises. Visitors will also appreciate this and they can have a peace of mind knowing somebody guards them and their belongings. Burglars are everywhere and it is your reputation that is at stake once you go into home rental vacation business. Regular monitoring by guards will also prevent accidents, more damages and possible loss of lives and properties.

Now that you have some ideas on how to turn your home into a vacation rental, perhaps you can now take a closer look if you can turn your home into a business-home opportunity. You may spend considerable amount of money with the renovations and repairs but it would surely worth it once you start earning money from the vacationers.