Vacation homes are being highly preferred over hotels by travelers for a variety of reasons such as bigger space, savings on cost and more privacy however travelers need to be more cautious when booking a rental. Rental policies vary drastically and are mostly dependant on the whims of the rental owner.
To avoid bad experiences and shocking revelations it is always good to clarify your doubts with rental owners. Here we have listed 10 critical questions that you must ask before you decide to book a vacation rental.
10 Important Questions Every Traveler Should Ask Before Booking A Vacation Rental
1. What is your cancellation policy and where is it available for reading?
You may need to cancel your holiday for any untoward reason such as sudden illness, bad weather or tragedy in a family. You should ask the vacation rental owner to state their cancellation policy.
Inquire if the rental company offers a return of deposit, or allows you to book a rental on a new date. Ask if you could read the cancellation policy online so that you know the terms clearly. If you are not satisfied with policy, avoid booking a rental. In case you have a feeling that you may have to cancel your trip for reasons other than those mentioned in a contract go for travel insurance that covers cancellation for any reason.
2. What is the exact location of the rental property?
You need to be really sure about the exact location of the property. Many times property owners trick customers that property is close to a beach or ski lift or other tourist hot-spots while the "close" may be half-an-hour's drive. Genuine vacation rental websites now follow the practice of linking their rental address to services such as Google maps.
This allows you to determine the exact location of the property. You can therefore see if the property that is so well advertised is actually located in a quite scenic locale and not close to a busy highway or worse next to train track.
It is also advisable to use Google Earth to view the rental itself. This will help you get a much better idea of the property as well as its surrounding. You will also know about its proximity to places of tourist interest.
If you are traveling in an unfamiliar location it is always good to ask about the cell connectivity in the rental so that you may remain connected to your loved ones.
3. If you have any special needs, find out if the rental will be suitable for you
If you are choosing a rental over hotel because of your special needs, make sure the rental will be able to accommodate your requirements. For instance, if you have a knee problem then make sure the rental has few stairs. Or if you suffer from allergies, let the owner know about the ambience that is suitable for you. In case you are traveling with kids or pets make sure the home is kids- or pet- friendly.
4. Find out if the rental is truly child- or pet-friendly
Just to lure family travelers, a rental owner may advertise itself as child- or pet-friendly. Do not always take the words for granted. Inquire what all arrangements have been done to make the premises safe for pets / kids. Ask specifically if the property has been child-proofed. Also, discuss your special concerns regarding the safety of your pets or kids.
5. What appliances will be available for use?
You can mostly assume that the rental will be equipped with basics such as a refrigerator, TV and an oven. But if you are going to stay long you will need a dishwasher, laundry, or even a grill. Find out what all appliances the rental is offering. Remember to ask if the laundry only has a washer or even a dryer. Knowing these things will help you avoid shocks when you finally come for a stay.
6. Would you be offered towels, linens, toiletries and essential kitchenware?
Specifically ask what all supplies the rental is offering on complimentary basis and what all are chargeable. Would you need to bring your own toiletries and bed linen or will they be offered in sufficient quantity for your family. Also, ask what all supplies will be available in kitchen. You may also request the rental owner to equip the kitchen with supplies you would need so that you would not have to run for things or carry them with you.
7. What should you do if anything goes wrong?
There are lots of things in a house that can go awry. You need to know whom to contact in case of an emergency and how soon the help can be expected. If there is a power cut or if any appliance stops working, or if you find yourself in a problem who should you contact.
8. Inquire about cleanliness. What can you expect from the rental and what does the rental owner expect you to do?
Cleanliness is a matter of concern many times. You need to ask about the state of cleanliness in the house and if the house is infested with insects and rodents. Besides, you also need to know if the cleaning of the house is chargeable and at what frequency you may expect it.
You also need to know what clean up is expected upon your departure. Some rentals expect you to take out the trash, unload the dishwasher, strip the linen, wash the towels etc. If you don't follow the rules mentioned in the rental agreement the owner may forfeit security, especially if you leave the house particularly dirty so it may require special cleaning.
9. What will be the total cost of your stay in the rental?
Detailed answer should be requested regarding your expected cost of stay in the rental. Ask if the rental will charge you extra for cleaning and maintenance or if there are any additional charges that you would need to bear; request for a rental agreement so that you can make a cost analysis. If you are paying a security deposit, find out how and when it will be returned to you.
10. Ask anything
If there is any other concern that is shadowing your mind, go ahead and clear your doubts. If the rental owner is willing to answer your queries and responds promptly you can certainly expect good customer care.
So, if you are on a hunt for a nice vacation rental for your upcoming trip you know what all you need to ask the rental owner to ensure a smooth stay.