It’s Airbnb season! Summertime is THE time for staycations and vacations. Since summer starts this week, we thought we’d share with you some of our favorite tips on things to do before booking your vacation rental.
Vacation rentals are becoming a preferred way to save money and have a more authentic experience when travelling. Whether you travel for work or pleasure, frequently or once in a while, renting a home can be a great and unique way to save money and ensure the creature comforts of home while on the road. Here are four things you must do before booking your vacation rental.
Make a List of Must-Have Amenities
Before you finalize your stay, be sure to confirm that your vacation rental has all the amenities you need. Depending on the length of and reason for your stay, you may decide you are willing to pay a little more for some of the added luxuries of home. Annette White of Bucket List Journey notes, “Many people overlook the included amenities when booking a vacation rental, but my best advice is to pay close attention to them. If you are traveling for a longer length of time an Airbnb that has a washer will save you money at the Laundromat, included WIFI means less trips to the local coffee shop, free breakfast saves on money spent dining out or at the grocery store and free parking for your rental car will keep you from having to park blocks away.” It is critical to consider which amenities you’ll need for your accommodations to make your stay a comfy one.
Scope Out the Neighborhood Near Your Rental
If you’re planning to spend more time out and about than in your vacation rental space, location will be more important for you. Destination and adventure photographer Conor MacNeill of TheFella says this money-saving approach is worth it, “I normally pick rentals in a good location, as opposed to one having a lot of facilities. Can I walk to the local coffee shop in the morning? Perhaps I won’t need to Uber around if there are enough dining options within walking distance.” Picking a vacation rental in the right location can save you money on and the hassle of local transportation.
Read Reviews and Limit Arrival Surprises
Reviews are definitely important. Checking the bad reviews first can help you decide if there are any consistent problems with your vacation rental space and whether or not those problems are important to you. Josh McNair of California Through My Lens says that he almost never stays anywhere without reading reviews. According to McNair, “People will often look at the star rating but not dive into a few reviews. It is important to see what others liked and disliked about the spot and reviews allow you to do so.” It is easy to make a vacation rental look desirable in pictures, but reading the reviews is what will give real insight into how amazing (or ghastly!) your stay there will be.
Contact the Host for Discounts Before Booking
Hosts may list rentals based on a typical stay of one week or less, but if you plan to stay longer, contact the post about a longer term stay before booking on Airbnb, VRBO or whatever travel website you use.
Matt Karsten of Expert Vagabond suggests,” Don’t be afraid to try and negotiate with a potential host for a discount on longer stays of 1 to 2 weeks or more. Oftentimes it’s less work for the host if guests stay longer, rather than trying to rent the location out to three or four different clients. The best way to do this is to contact the host directly first, before you hit the ‘book now’ button. Ask some questions, compliment them on the vacation rental, etc. Then try to get a slightly lower price saying something like ‘I really like your place, but I think it’s slightly out of our budget. Do you offer any special discounts for extended stays?’ The worst that will happen is they’ll say no. Or, you’ll save some money!” The conversation also might lead to more insight about the rental or the neighborhood than what is posted on the travel website.
Now go forth and do your research! Your summer vacation awaits.