Renting a vacation house offers a lot that hotels or other accommodations often don’t provide: keeping your large group together, cooking out and eating family style, and unique amenities such as a private pool or hot tub. Finding the right rental for your group isn’t always easy, however. Here are some tips from The New York Times and Frommers.com to help you make a decision on a rental this summer.
DO YOUR RESEARCH: These days, there is no shortage of information about available rentals. Sites like VRBO.com, FlipKey (which is run by TripAdvisor), and HomeAway.com list thousands of rental homes in North America and across the world. Once you’ve located a few rentals you like, make sure what you see is accurate. Check the owner’s website, online reviews and comments from past users on sites like Yelp or Facebook.
IDENTIFY WHAT YOU WANT: Determine your priorities before you start looking. A beachfront place may be more expensive, but if your family loves the water, it may be worth it. If you know your group is more likely to be out and about and just use the house as a place to sleep, you probably want to go for a less expensive option.
DECIDE EARLY ... OR DON’T: Good rental properties are tough to find, and that is doubly true if you’re heading somewhere during popular vacation times such as Christmas or spring break. So if you locate a place you’re particularly fond of, book it as soon as you can finalize your plans. However, if you’re the spontaneous type, you can sometimes find big dis-counts by waiting until the last minute because discounted renters are better than no renters at all for property owners.