Selecting the Perfect Short-Term Rental
Booking a vacation rental can be an overwhelming and daunting task. With so many listings to choose from, so many reviews to sift through, and so many amenities to compare, it can be challenging to find that perfect home away from home. On top of that, there’s always the uncertainty of reserving an accommodation sight unseen – after all, what you glimpse online isn’t always what you find in person.
To help you navigate all this, I’ve compiled below a list of tips you can employ when choosing your next short-term vacation rental.
Identify Your Priorities
To help narrow down your options, it’s essential that you identify the rental features that are most important to you. Be mindful of factors such as location, property type, amenities, number of beds or bedrooms, and other special needs, such as pet-friendly or accessibility features. Once you’ve created a list of your must-haves, you can filter your search, significantly reducing the number of properties to be evaluated.
Confirm the Location
The majority of the time, vacation rentals will only give out physical addresses to guests who have booked and confirmed their stays. This means that it can be difficult to pinpoint precisely where a rental is located. Of course, you’ll be given the general area, but you won’t be able to map out the exact distance from your rental to various points of interest. If there are certain attractions that you’d like to be close to or if you would like to confirm that the rental is located in a specific place, say right on the beach, it’s best to message the host to confirm this before booking.
Check Out the Amenities
Every vacation rental offers different amenities, so you’ll want to carefully review each listing to see what’s available. Aside from being mindful of your must-haves, keep an eye out for bonus amenities that may enhance your stay. Some rentals have been known to include extra offerings such as beach towels, snorkeling gear, cribs, outdoor grills, and even free kayak or canoe rentals. While these features may not be essential for your stay, it may be beneficial to have them available.
Pay Attention to Rental Rules
Every vacation rental has its own set of rules and policies that guests are expected to abide by. Some have strict guest limits, others prohibit events or gatherings, a few are even labeled as “not suitable for children,” while a large percentage forbid pets. Given this, it’s important to read over these rules carefully before booking your stay to ensure you’ll be able to fully enjoy your vacation as planned.
Be Mindful of Cancellation Policies
Similarly, it’s essential to review the cancellation policies for any rentals you’re considering. Just like everything else, these policies vary significantly from location to location. While some may allow cancellations with full refunds up until check-in, others may only grant full refunds if you cancel within 48 hours of booking. Given this, it’s important to be mindful of these policies, especially if there is any possibility that your trip could be canceled or postponed.
Refer to Recent Reviews
Reviews are a great way to assess a potential rental property, as they provide valuable insight from previous customers. You’ll want to make note of any reviews you find and take them into consideration when comparing properties – but be sure to do so lightly. Remember, many reviews are left by people who either loved or hated a property, so they may be a bit biased. Given this, it’s best to look for common themes, whether they be positive or negative.
Have Questions? Ask Them!
If you have any lingering questions after reviewing a listing, don’t hesitate to contact the host directly to ask. This is the best way to clear up any confusion you may have and it ensure that you have all the information you need to make a more informed decision.
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Finding a short-term vacation rental may be a lot of work, but when you finally find the right one, it is certainly worth it! After all, there’s nothing quite like having a place to call your own when you’re miles away from home!
Looking for a great space for a family getaway? The Sapelo Island Birdhouses has a great place for your short term stay.
Your next question maybe “what should I pack?” Here are helpful tips to get you started.