Many budget-minded travelers are opting out of mint-on-the-pillow experiences and opting in on vacation rentals. But the Better Business Bureau advises vacationers to do their research before booking rentals because sometimes the properties don’t live up to their hype.
On average, U.S hotels cost twice per square foot more than vacation rentals, according to HomeAway, an online vacation rental company.
Many Web sites help travelers find vacation rentals. Some companies specialize in connecting renters and vacationers — and take a cut for their efforts — while others cut out the middleman and potentially some consumer protections such as money-back guarantees.
The BBB offers the following advice to travelers looking to save money with a vacation rental: Start Planning Now
. Rental properties in popular locations get snatched up quickly, so start your search early. Do your Homework.
If you plan on enlisting the help of a third-party Web site or professional service, always check them out with BBB first at wynco.bbb.org
A home rental is not a hotel so you can’t expect the same level of professionalism, cleanliness or modernization. Some companies guarantee that the property meets your expectations. If a guarantee isn’t offered, consider travel insurance.Take a Virtual Tour.
Sometimes pictures and descriptions of the property posted by renters are deceiving. Research the property online and take a virtual tour of the surrounding area using Google Maps Street View. Don’t be tentative about asking plenty of questions about the property. Get it in Writing.
Make sure all verbal agreements are included in the rental contract including details on the deposit, rules on pets, refunds, and what is included in the cost of the rental such as utilities, internet, etc. Use a Secure Form of Payment.
Do not send money until you’ve signed the rental agreement and never pay via money wire. Instead, use a credit card that provides some consumer protection. Vacation Rentals by Owner.
Take extra precautions when renting from an individual, particularly for international rentals. If possible, get references from previous renters and double-check the location of the property to avoid getting stuck in international waters.
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