Travelers are used to booking hotels, but for many the world of vacation rentals represents a great unknown, which may be why they’re the subject of so many myths, particularly in North America. Here are the top ten things you may not have known about vacation rentals:
10. Vacation rentals offer daily maid service
Most rental owners ensure that the rental is cleaned out prior to each new guest, and many offer daily maid services as well to ensure that the rental is as clean, if not cleaner, than a hotel room. Dirty rentals end up getting nasty reviews and don’t last long in the business, so homeowners always make sure that the cleanliness is top-notch. Of course, many travelers mistakenly assume that vacation rentals don’t have housekeepers, and that they’ll be forced to clear old ketchup out of the fridge leftover from the last guest, but this is not the case. In fact, owner’s will ensure that you find the rental in the exact same condition they expect you to leave the rental – that is, spotless and neat.
9. Homeowners will welcome you and respect your privacy
Most owners treat their rental as a business, meaning they want as many travelers passing through as possible, and also expect some normal wear-and-tear to result from each rental. Some travelers mistakenly assume that the owner will check in everyday to make sure no crumbs are left on the couch, but most will also only stop by to welcome you initially, after which they’ll only show up if you request it. After all, they know one of the reasons people love rentals is because of the privacy they offer, and they’re not about to jeopardize the chances of gaining your repeat business.
8. Rental scams are rare and avoidable
This is probably one of the greatest sources of apprehension, since nothing spells nightmare like landing in an unknown area and finding out that not only does your vacation rental not exist, but that your security deposit is also gone. However, rental scams like that are far less common than you would think, and the average traveler can avoid them with some basic tips: only work with people that have a documented online rental history (e.g. reviews, listings that have been up for a few years, etc.), avoid free listing sites that don’t verify the identity of owners, and only browse sites that have personal relationships with owners.
7. Owners avoid keeping your security deposit
Security deposits are usually $500 or more, so it’s normal for a traveler to worry about them. However, that $500 is nothing compared to the lifetime value of a happy houseguest, so there’s no way an owner is going to jeopardize your repeat business by keeping it without good reason. Of course owners need to protect themselves against abusive guests, but in the interest of building goodwill, many owners will turn a blind eye to the occasional spill on the couch just to keep you as a client.
6. Vacation rentals offer great service
Most owners have property managers that they employ to handle day-to-day issues with the rental, including any problems that may arise during your stay, which is why it’s always good to make sure that any owner you rent with has an on-site manager. Travelers mistakenly assume that, should something go wrong with the rental, it won’t get fixed until the next guest arrives, especially if the homeowner is faraway, but in fact many rental property owners pride themselves on the quick and friendly customer service they offer each guest.
5. Vacation rentals come in all shapes and sizes
Many people assume a vacation rental will be a house or villa. However, condominiums, townhouses in resort complexes, cabins, and other types of accommodation are also vacation rentals. Some, for example, feature pools, waterslides, theaters, and many of the other features you’d find in a hotel. Others are apartments that are located right in the heart of the city. A good vacation rental listing site will let you search for properties based on type to help you find the accommodations best suited for your needs.
4. Vacation rentals are safe
Vacation rentals are a safe and reliable alternative to hotels, regardless of the region. This may be a more common concern in tropical areas, but many travelers think that because there’s no security guard, rentals are more dangerous than hotels. Many vacation rentals are enclosed in gated communities and include alarm systems. Of course, renters are always advised to use the same common sense as they would at home when it comes to locking the doors and minding their safety.
3. Travel agents book vacation rentals
This is more of a myth among homeowners, but in fact travel agents do book accommodations other than hotels. It’s just hard for them to find homeowners willing to work with them, since they usually negotiate a commission on each booking. That’s why travel agents usually stick with property management companies they have a relationship with, or they use agent-friendly websites. Once they find properties they can work with, they’ll often refer years of repeat business for the homeowner. That means if you’re a traveler, you can always request a rental from your agent, allowing you to browse options that differ from the usual hotel selection.
2. Vacation rentals have plenty of amenities
Some travelers think that if you want to have fun at the pool, enjoy the beach, have video games for the kids, or enjoy a nice day at the spa, then they need to stay at a hotel. In fact, nothing can be further from the truth. Vacation rentals are designed with the enjoyment and comfort of the traveler in mind, which is why they often feature pools, private beaches, game rooms, spa services, and more. And the best part is you don’t have to share! Where else can you take a late night dip in the pool, or entertain guests with a dinner party? Homeowners are also happy to provide you with whatever you need to make your stay even more enjoyable, so if there’s something specific you need, don’t hesitate to ask.
1. Vacation rentals come in all price ranges
It seems like the only time vacation rentals get press in mainstream publications is when they’re listing the top 10 most luxurious villas around the world. Unfortunately, this creates the impression that rentals only cater to the super-rich, but nothing can be further from the truth. Travelers can find vacation rentals in all price ranges, from $60 a night to $3,000 a night. Don’t be intimidated by the sticker price. Many properties have several bedrooms and can accommodate a dozen or more people. Divided by the number of guests, the prices for vacation rentals are often much more affordable than hotels.