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How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental Home

How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental Home
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Updated: 2/15/2023 | How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental Home

Vacation rentals and Airbnb are often cheaper alternatives to hotels when it comes to accommodating families or large groups of friends.

Unlike most hotels, VRBOs and Airbnbs often provide a fully supplied kitchen with appliances, free parking, more privacy, and even at times the same service as in hotels such as a pool, jacuzzi, or daily housekeeping.

However, when choosing a home for the holidays, there are several important factors that may differ from booking hotels. Below we’ll explain what you need to look for in order to find the best vacation rental home.

How to Choose the Best Vacation Rental Home


Vacation homes often have everything a traveler may need. From a complete set of dishes, an iron, a washing machine, a patio with a barbecue, and an enclosed courtyard with comfortable garden furniture, a pool and/or jacuzzi, etc. The list goes on. People rarely consider outdoor furniture because you’re often out and about town.

Depending on the season, outdoor furniture and amenities can enhance your stay. We love to grill burgers and sit on rattan chairs in the evening. If from the entire list of amenities, you are offered no outdoor furniture, you may want to reconsider if it’s worth the price point.


Before booking a holiday home, you need to determine if popular landmarks and businesses you want to see are within a reasonable distance from your rental.

If you rent an apartment in the city, think about what area it is in and how far it may be from public transportation. Are there supermarkets and cafes nearby? How easy is it to get to the main attractions?

If you’re looking to explore some beaches, evaluate the distance to the beach and whether you’ll need to include a car rental in your trip planning. 

We love to book in highly walkable areas that are close to many attractions and get an Uber or one-day rental for attractions that require driving.

Related: Apartments for Rent in Reno, NV

Cancellation Policy

Many hotels offer free cancellations and don’t charge for stays until you are check in. In the case of vacation rentals, the cancellation policy can be a significant factor in planning your trip. Some rentals may require a deposit and some may even be non-refundable.

Up to 14 days prior to arrival, cancellation fees can be up to 100%. Also, when booking, a certain percentage of the total cost (from 10 to 100%) may be charged immediately. So, read the booking and cancellation conditions carefully as they may differ on a case-by-case basis.

Cleaning Costs

In a hotel, cleaning is usually included in the price, while private facilities usually charge an additional fee for cleaning after you are checked out.

When booking, pay attention to whether the final cleaning is included in the final price or if you have to pay for it separately (and how much). In addition, you can clarify whether it is possible to carry out the cleaning yourself and not have to pay for the extra service. All that is negotiable with your renter.

Arrival and Departure Details

Private accommodations often do not have 24-hour service or concierge, so it is necessary to think over the time of arrival and departure in advance and coordinate it with the property manager.

It’s important to note that often, late check-in (after 11 PM) is uncommon and may not be possible at all with private rentals.

We like to choose rentals that have digital access via a digital lock or mobile app.

Secure Payment Settings

Often, holds are placed at hotels for incidentals. That is not the same with private rentals.

Always choose to pay through secure payment settings such as Airbnb or VRBO.

And ONLY pay in advance to a bank account if you have a rental agreement signed by the renter. This is not common a practice with vacation rentals, but it may be in some cases.

Pet or Kid Friendly

When reading vacation rental descriptions, you will often see terms such as “family-friendly,” “pet friendly”, or “suitable for families with children and animals.”

However, it is not always clear what they mean. Ask for specifics such as the presence of a crib and/or high chair for a child in the house, playgrounds nearby, or is it simply the owners allowing the possibility of accommodation with children and animals?

Be sure to check exactly what each term means before you travel. This will help you determine what you may need to bring with you or if this accommodation is appropriate for your family at all.


When choosing a vacation home, pay attention to the reviews and ratings of a particular accommodation. Unlike hotels, vacation rentals have fewer reviews but they are often more in depth.

Make sure you read all the reviews, good and bad, and ask questions prior to booking.

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