Have you ever wanted to rent a vacation home but didn’t know where to start? Well, I’m here to help!  If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve heard of popular vacation rental sites like VRBO, Airbnb, Flipkey and many more.  So, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to rent a vacation home like a pro!  But first, SELFIE…  just kidding, check out these frequently asked questions:

VACATION RENTAL FAQs:

1. How much does it really cost?

Well, that’s a difficult one to answer because prices vary across countries, cities and states but I can say that, overall, vacation rentals are less expensive than renting a hotel.  For example, a three star hotel room in Venice, Italy near the Rialto Bridge costs anywhere from $200-$500/night (NOT including deposits for incidentals and tax) and our vacation rental cost us $110/night with no deposit!  So, we saved at least $100 per night by using VRBO.  Obviously, each rental will be different so it pays to do your homework.

2. Why is a vacation rental better than a hotel room?  

A vacation rental can be better than a hotel room in a number of ways.  First, a rental can offer you a kitchen/kitchenette, washer/dryer, multiple bedrooms/beds, free wi-fi and much more.  Having the option to eat one or more meals at “home” can save you tons of money while on vacation.  Check out my post on Paris and keeping your travel budget in check!

Second, if you’re traveling with a group, you have more options because most hotels only allow a certain number of people in one room but some rentals allow 3-4 in a studio or one bedroom, therefore cutting your costs even further.

Lastly, most hotels will hold a certain amount on your credit card for incidentals during your stay and that can eat into your vacation budget.  In my experience, I’ve asked the rental owners to take down my credit card number for the deposit (they would only charge it in the event I damaged the property in a manner previously discussed and agreed upon).  So far, I’ve NEVER had any damage (or fraudulent) charges to my card!

3. Is it safe?

The answer to this question can only be determined by the location of the rental.  Would I do a vacation rental in a high-crime/sketchy neighborhood? NO!  Would I do a vacation rental in a clean, tourist-friendly neighborhood? YES! My advice is to be smart and, again, do your homework.  Google the neighborhood, if you don’t have the physical address, and see what’s around, see what people are saying and check out the crime stats.  It can’t hurt to ask a friend or your Facebook community for any advice on good neighborhoods in your desired city

Now it’s time to rent! Follow these 5 STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL VACATION RENTAL:

Step 1:

Research the neighborhood where you’d like to stay. How far is it from museums, restaurants, nightlife? Can you walk or do you need to take a taxi or subway? These factors can add to your bottom line. Is the neighborhood safe?

Step 2:

Check out VRBO, Airbnb, Home Away or you favorite vacation rental site. Look at the photos and request more (recent) photos from the owner. Do you need multiple rooms or beds? Washer/dryer? Stairs or elevator? What do they provide… coffee, sheets/towels, essentials?  Contact multiple properties in case your favorite is not available.  Narrow down your choices.

Step 3:

Confirm your choice and iron out details for arrival date/time, meeting place, deposit, etc!  Most importantly, you should determine how you’ll arrive at your new home away from home BEFORE you leave town. Ask the owner the best way to get into town from the airport. The last thing you want to do is to step off the plane in a foreign country and not know how to get to your rental, trust me, it sucks.

Step 4:

Meet your rental owner and ask for restaurant recommendations, things to do, or any questions that will make your stay more enjoyable. Don’t forget to ask for the best way to contact them if something goes wrong or you get locked out?

Step 5:

Enjoy your stay and plan your next vacation rental!


Thanks for stopping by!  What are your tips/tricks for successful vacations and/or vacation rentals?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Leave your comments below!