While there are still occasions where staying in a hotel when traveling makes more sense, booking a rental home is almost everyone’s go-to these days. You get so much more bang for your buck and it’s become very simple, safe, and affordable with its increasing popularity. Check out my 8 tips for booking a rental home-some of these may help you on your next vacation!
Tip #1: Read the fine print Seriously, though read that stuff! You never know if there’s something you’ll catch in there that you’re not okay with to book. Or, there could be some unusual rules/policies in there that you wouldn’t have thought of. It could be anything such as no smoking anywhere on the property, to no one allowed to stay in the home under 18, etc. I have seen it all!
Tip #2: Check out the hosts’ profile You can get a lot of information on the host here from anything to all of their listings they have on the site, all of their reviews, to how long they’ve been hosting, and so on. I recommend giving this a gander before booking with them just in case you catch something you’re not vibing with.
Tip #3: Scope out the neighborhood The host may not always provide the exact address until you book with them, or even until you’re trip gets closer. If not, you can message them requesting their neighborhood or area of town they live in. Once you have that, I highly recommend scoping out the neighborhood on Google and Google maps. Look at the crime rate, traffic, population, proximity, or whatever else would deter-or encourage-you with booking the listing.
Tip #4: Check off all your needs before your search You need a hair dryer in your temporary home? Check it on the amenities filter list. Need a parking space? Check that off too. I’d gather all the amenities and requests you have for the space you need, and then start your search. This will narrow your search and make shopping for a space quicker and easier. We used to not check of Wifi because in this day and age everyone has it, but we ran into one that didn’t once and our lesson was definitely learned to now check that amenity when searching!
Tip #5: Be mindful of the company you bring So you are staying with guests at the rental home, but it’s booked under your name. Be mindful of who you bring along with you because if anything goes awry with the space, it’s your name that will get a bad rep and review. Sometimes the host will leave a list of to-dos they require before checking out. Will these other folks help you get this done or will you have to do all the work for everyone that stayed there? Jut pennies for thought!
Tip #6: Follow all the rules The host will most definitely have some kind of rules and/or policies for you to follow while staying in their home. Be sure to abide by each and everyone of these as they will leave you a review based partially on this. You want a great record of reviews as the next house’s host will look at these when deciding to allow you to stay in their home or not.
Tip #7: Book on a Private Computer Be sure to book your stay on a private, trusted computer. If you need to book on a public one then make sure you log out! If not, any one can come in right behind you and book through you and you may not ever catch it until it’s too late! This happened to me once, but luckily I caught it on time! I still had the worst time proving that it wasn’t actually me who booked it and to get my refund from the company…yikes.
Tip #8: Read those Reviews I would start with the most recent reviews on a listing and go back a few months just to make sure no horrible ones are thrown in there anywhere. If you do see one bad one amongst high ratings, and you feel the review isn’t accurate, then proceed. Sometimes though, there is something to say about the one-off bad review so it wouldn’t hurt to check them out. If there are no reviews or big gaps between reviews, that’s a red flag and you should probably abort mission!
I hope these will help you when booking your next rental home! We have certainly learned a lot over the years traveling and staying in different rental homes all around the country and using multiple different sites. Good luck on your next search!