Find the perfect rental for your next trip and save money.
Finding a home away from home can be a great way to vacation. Especially if you have kids or a large group, a vacation rental may be a lot more fun—and a lot more affordable—than a hotel. Follow these seven steps to find the perfect place and get invited back.
- Deal with reputable sources. There are plenty of rental agencies, and some are even affiliated with realtors. There are also websites that let you work directly with the owner. Whomever you deal with, check into their background as much as possible. If it’s a company, check out the Better Business Bureau for reviews.
- Know what you need. Think about the number of bedrooms, separate beds and other amenities you’ll want, as well as location. If you have kids or pets, verify the rental’s rules and evaluate safety factors like a fenced-in yard or a cover and alarm on the backyard hot tub.
- Get detailed photos and descriptions. You wouldn’t buy a house without seeing it first, and you shouldn’t rent one that way, either. You may not be able to visit in person, but get as many photos as you can, along with information on everything from the number of closets to whether the house has pots and pans.
- Find out what’s included in the price. The place may have Internet access, but is there an extra charge? What about utilities? Also make sure there’s someone you can contact while you’re there if you run into a problem such as a broken air conditioner or heater. You’ll want these details spelled out up front—and in writing.
- Sign a contract. Be sure it details everyone’s responsibilities. For example, do you have to clean the house before you leave? How soon does the owner or agency agree to fix anything that breaks? Read the fine print and never send money before the contract is signed.
- Consider your coverage. Make sure the rental homeowner has insurance for the structure and its contents. Also, talk to your Nationwide agent to be sure your homeowners or renters policy covers your personal items while you’re in the rental home.
- Be a great houseguest. Never forget you’re staying in someone else’s home. Treat everything with respect and clean up after yourself. If your group damages something, offer to repair or replace it—especially if you want to be invited back. If you fall in love with your home away from home, tell the owner or rental agency right away and reserve your spot for next year.
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