The Key to Vacation Rentals

Key to vacation rentals feature ps

Have you ever wanted to rent a vacation home but didn’t know where to start? Well, I’m here to help with the key to vacation rentals!  If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve heard of popular vacation rental sites like VRBO, Airbnb, Flipkey and much, 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:


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 


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 the rest of your trips with vacation rentals!

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!

Tags: ,

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post


  1. Reply

    I would definitely consider a vacation rental if I was in a big group, sounds so much easier and cheaper. Great for those trips where the people make it or where you have more time and want to experience local life.

    1. Reply

      Hi Dannielle,

      Yes, vacation rentals can lower the price significantly when traveling with a group. However, you can also rent if there are just two of you on the trip. It’s still a good savings and, like you said, you get to experience local life. 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

    • Will
    • July 11, 2015

    Excellent advice for a hotel alternative…i love booking a genuine place to stay as an escape from the usual sterility of a hotel! Thanks for this.

    1. Reply

      Hey Will,

      Hotels can be a bit sterile and boring when you’re in a vibrant, bustling city. Don’t forget being crammed in with a bunch of other tourists. Vacation rentals make me feel like a local even if it’s only for a few days. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Reply

    I just think checking it’s all above board is key. I also enjoy staying in our space and being able to cook/eat when we want, but I have heard of so many scams, I get a bit worried about it all unless I make sure I’m booking through some organisation I trust totally. Great tips though. Thanks

    1. Reply

      I, totally, agree Sarah! I would never book a vacation rental through some unknown source. I ONLY book through VRBO and we’ve never had any issues. There are plenty of other sites out there but do your homework before you book. Give it a try and I bet you’ll love it! Thanks for the comment!

  3. Reply

    We have lived in Airbnbs for the past 11 months. Hoping from one to another as we travel the globe. It works great for us!

    1. Reply

      Vacation rentals are the only way to go, for us! We will keep booking them until we can’t book any more. 🙂 That’s amazing that you’ve been in one for such a long time. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Reply

    We love using Airbnb but have yet to use VRBO or HomeAway – we may just have to check them out now! One of our tips is to always check reviews – although, just because a place doesn’t have any, doesn’t mean it’s not good, but it’s always good to check for negative reviews and see whether the negative points described are something you can deal with or not. (we’ve read so many negative reviews that we dismissed because they involved bad weather, or something we definitely didn’t think was relevant to our stay).

    1. Reply

      Hello Carolann & Macrae,

      I agree with you on checking out the bad reviews and deciphering them. If the place is dirty or noisy on a regular basis that’s one thing but if you didn’t like the attitude of the grocer down the street, that has nothing to do with the apartment! We like VRBO because they’re all vacation rentals. They don’t rent out occupied apartments for the weekend like some do on Airbnb. However, I know people who use them and love them so it’s all about preference. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Reply

    Great tips!
    My husband and I have been travelling for 15 months, and most of the time we stay in apartments booked through Airbnb. For us is more comfortable, cheapest and you have privacy. Around Europe there is no better way to travel. In Southeast Asia we found out that the hotel deals are better than private apartments, so there we always treat ourselves if a nice bungalow. 😀

    Happy travels.

    1. Reply

      My husband and I feel the exact same way! We book rentals all through Europe but in SE Asia, we love to stay in the villas and bungalows with private pools. They’re really affordable so you can treat yourself to those luxuries.

    • zof
    • July 12, 2015

    I love vacation rentals. They let you live more as a local, and are the key to a more authenthic experience as you get to see how the locals live…Plus, it’s such a good value for money.

    1. Reply

      Yes, they’re an excellent value for the money! I always vote for a vacation rental over a hotel unless it’s in a city/country that I don’t know well or has a sketchy reputation. Living like a local allows you to see a different side of the city and that’s what travel should be about. Not eating in the hotel restaurant chatting with people who live in the same city/state. Meet the locals and do as the locals do!

  6. Reply

    a very excellent advice! Great tips!

    1. Reply

      Thanks, Megsy!

  7. Pingback: 10 Ways to Save Money on Vacation - Travel with Mia

  8. Reply

    My family and I are thinking about going on a trip and renting a vacation home for the occasion. I’m glad that you mentioned doing homework on the area around the rental; that would not have even cross my mind. A vacation rental can still probably be really nice, but it might not be in an area that fits everyone’s needs.

  9. Pingback: How to Afford Long-Haul Travel on a Short-Haul Budget - Travel with Mia

  10. Pingback: Are Timeshares Ruining Your Vacations? – Travel with Mia

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *