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6 Tips for Choosing a Vacation Rental

Need an easy getaway? Domestic CEO shares 6 tips to help you find the perfect vacation rental home for your family’s next trip.

By
Amanda Thomas
Episode #154

Look for Reviews

Don't just read reviews that are negative - you should also read between the lines on the positive reviews. If a review says something like, “The house was a bit cozy for 6 people,” it probably means it’s smaller than you’d think.

The great thing about the top vacation rental websites is that they give guests the ability to leave reviews about the property after their stay. These reviews are a great way to understand what you are getting in to, and figure out if the owner has conveniently left out any details from the listing.

Don't just read reviews that are noted as negative, though - you should also read between the lines on the positive reviews. If a review says something like, “The house was a bit cozy for 6 people,” it probably means it’s smaller than you’d think. I’ve even seen reviews that say things like, “The house is under the flight path for LAX, so it was great that there was a box of ear plugs in the nightstand!” Read through at least the last few months’ reviews to get a good feel for what the place is really like.

As with any online comments, it’s important to take reviews with a grain of salt. For example, if you’re looking at renting a cabin on a remote lake and there are 10 positive reviews mentioning how nice it was to be without electronics, and one scathing review about from a guest who “can’t believe there wasn’t a TV or WiFi,” there’s a good chance that guest didn’t read the listing info before booking.

Consider Transportation and Location

Will you be relying on public transportation during your vacation? If you are staying in a big city where public buses and trains are often the easiest way to get around, you might want to make sure your feet don’t tire out and pick a rental that's within walking distance of a train station or bus stop.

When I am planning travel to cities with a subway system, I search online for a map of the transit lines. Then, once I figure out what part of the city I want to stay in, I look for rentals that are close to the cross streets of one of the stations. Keep in mind, though, that most vacation rental listings don’t provide the actual address until after you have booked. This is for the protection of the property, and the guests.

But most hosts will provide the major cross streets, so you can do a little research on travel times to the places you will want to visit. Just hop on Google Maps, choose “Public Transportation,” then search for directions from the potential rental to any sites you'll be visitng - then it should tell you exactly how many minutes it will take to get from Point A to Point B.

If you are getting a rental car during your trip, you’ll still want to consider travel time to the places you'll be going. Try and get a vacation home that is central to most of the sites you want to see, and remember to factor in the cost of parking if there are no free spots available with the home.

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About the Author

Amanda Thomas Domestic CEO
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