Ensure thereís a rental agreement, and review the terms & conditions carefully. If in doubt, check with the state and/or local municipality to confirm whether the manager or owner has a business license and is paying lodging taxes
Rent a professionally managed vacation rental to ensure youíll get consistent hospitality services and quality assurance standards, as well as professionally cleaned and managed homes, ongoing & objective inspections and concierge type services that provide destination expert advice.
Request and evaluate past guest reviews, testimonials and references.
Ask about and visit area farmer's markets and use local ingredients / recipes for more memorable mealtimes. With full kitchens, and sometimes, outdoor grills, travelers can make and store meals and snacks for less.
Pack less, avoiding airlinesí baggage fees and restrictions. Most vacation rentals come equipped with washers and dryers, and vacation rental managers often provide free laundry detergent and bath amenities.
If youíre a member of AAA, AARP, if youíve served in the military, are a repeat guest, are looking for last-minute travel deals or more, there are offers to be found across North America. Look for vacation rental specials and deals as well as value-added travel packages throughout the year, and traveling during low season can offer more value. Layaway Vacation Plans are also an option, providing installment-based payment plans to secure future trips.
Inquire about whether or not a security deposit is required to reserve your vacation rental, when itís returned, and when itís due. Established companies will have secure Internet/phone reservation systems.
Just as consumers inquire about bedding types with hotels, make sure to do the same for vacation rentals, especially for multiple bedroom requests (make sure bedding matches your groupís needs Ė whether two twins, three queens, one king etc.).
If maid service is only included once a week from your chosen management company and you prefer daily service, you usually can pay an additional daily nominal fee which, when added to the rate, is still less than a traditional hotel room alternative.
If driving on vacation, bring a care package with some food and beverage items you enjoy at home and may not be able to find or wish to pay for in bulk at a local supermarket (i.e.: spices / coffee / wine / condiments).
Check to see if there is an accessible customer service number for 24 / 7 emergency needs and after hour requests.
Inquire about the privacy of your rental, if desired, as well as the type of community itís located within (gated, nearby to golf courses, beaches, etc.).
Rather than spending hard-earned vacation dollars on a full restaurant breakfast every morning, stock up from the local supermarket on your favorite cereal, snacks, eggs, or pancake mix.
Traveling during low season, as with any accommodations, can save you big money.
Find out if your vacation rental company has partnerships with any local vendors, attractions, etc., and whether or not they offer discounts or recommendations for area services.
Before your trip, confirm what amenities are included in the rental home to assist you in planning and packing more efficiently. For example, will the home include linens, towels, any kitchen equipment, pool toys, DVD players, video game stations, computers, wireless Internet, or other recreational features?
If planning to bring a pet, check with your management company for any applicable fees, breed restrictions, and any specials or pet welcome packets.
Some management companies provide concierge-type services that allow guests to utilize the services of local partners, including grocery shopping and delivery, personal chefs, in-home massages and spa treatments, and more.