How to Find The Right Vacation Rental

So you’ve finally decided to take that family vacation you’ve been talking about for months. Good for you! Now it’s time to figure out where you’ll stay. Here are a few tips for choosing the vacation rental that’s right for you and your brood.

1.) Use Google Maps
A vacation listing may look breathtaking in the photos supplied by the rental agent, but it’s important to get a sense of the home’s surroundings. Look up the address on Google Maps for a bird’s eye view of the neighborhood. “Conveniently located” could mean a leisurely walk to the beach, but it could also mean the property backs up to a busy highway.

2.) Read Online Reviews
Reviews written by renters who have come before you can provide a lot of valuable information about a listing or property owner that vacation sites and rental agents may not volunteer. After reading reviews on Airbnb,, or TripAdvisor, you may find that the property owner goes the extra mile to make renters feel welcome–or you may find that they haven’t washed the sheets in years.

3.) Ask About Amenities
Is there a security deposit? Are there fees for additional guests? What about telephone usage, beach rules, access to that garage or pool house in the photos? Don’t make assumptions about the amenities at a vacation rental. Instead, ask.

4.) Contact The Owner
A lot of vacation property owners have spent a lot of time in the area, and can provide extra insight on what’s nearby and what there is to do. They can also offer information agents and rental sites don’t cover (neighbors, parking, etc.) and, if their place is already reserved, suggest other homes in the area that might suit your needs. Finally, many owners will be willing to negotiate price and terms when contacted directly, especially if the property is still open two or three weeks out.