You've decided to take a vacation, and a rental property makes more sense than a hotel. However, vacation rentals don't come with the same star-rating system that hotels do, so you're not always sure what you're going to get. Such properties do come with pictures and reviews, and you should study both scrupulously. Once you get to the negotiation stage, though, you'll need to ask some pointed questions to ensure you get a vacation rental that meets your needs.
Is the Home Family/Pet Friendly?
Two of the major reasons people select a vacation rental over a hotel is because they're traveling with children and/or pets. Yet homeowners don't necessarily list their properties simply because they're family or pet friendly. When it comes to pets, ask it there's a size limit. Additionally, if you're traveling with a cat or other small pet, make sure these are covered under the pet policy – many homeowners only think of a dog policy.
Are There any Annoyances?
A property can look perfectly lovely in pictures, but it will be far from a getaway if you're encumbered with sensory annoyances. Ask about the proximity to schools, nightclubs and trains because all of these are loud at annoying times. If you're traveling to a Muslim country, also ask about proximity to mosques, as many broadcast a call to prayer five times a day. Watch out for these types of reports in the traveler reviews as well.
What about Transportation?
If you're coming with a car, talk to the property owner about your plans. Find out how much, if any, the fee for parking is. Likewise, ask how much parking is available and how far away from the property it is. If you're not driving, ask how close the property is to public transportation. Also find out if basic necessities, such as a grocery store, are within walking distance.
How is the Internet Connection?
These days, practically everyone has a smart phone and a tablet or laptop. People are programmed to be wired in at all times, and that can get expensive if you're using up your data. Ensure your rental property has a strong and secure WiFi connection. WiFi is usually free, but ask to make sure in case there's a surcharge.
Are There Guarantees?
Nothing's going to spoil your vacation quicker than discovering your vacation rental is of a much lower standard than described – or even non-existent. Therefore it's important to ask if you'll be given any guarantees. Likewise, USA Today suggests asking about the refund policies. Most rentals require you to put down at least a deposit – you'll want to know how to get your money back in the case of issues.
Ask the right questions ahead of time to choose a vacation rental that best meets your travel needs.