Welcome to Home Rental Country: The Refuge of the Un-Hotel

Booking and Beyond

For travelers with a particular place in mind, it doesn't hurt to start planning three to six months in advance. "The further out you book, the better chance you have of getting the vacation home you need," says Sarka. Summer is the high season in most spots; if you want a particular rental or a popular location, plan ahead. And if you're flexible about where and when you stay, vacation rentals can be arranged much more quickly.

Many rentals require a security deposit and a signed rental contract. Here, common sense is key. Paying with a credit card can offer added security, and use extreme caution if you find rentals requiring large wire transfers, says Sharples. Inquiring about additional fees and taxes can also prevent headaches once the final bill arrives.

Read the contract you sign to make sure that you understand what's expected of you as a renter; for example, what kind of use constitutes the "normal wear and tear" that's required for your deposit to be returned. If something's amiss when you arrive, contact the vacation rental agency or the owner.

But if you've done your homework, you'll reap the rewards when you arrive at a house well-suited to your needs. After that, all you have to do is relax.

Published: 13 Apr 2007 | Last Updated: 7 Nov 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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