Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Renting a Vacation Home

Spring is upon us (even though the weather suggests otherwise) and people are looking to get away. I am in the midst of planning a week-long summer trip with my friends, and I cannot wait to get a break from Chicago and relax on the beach. Lucky for me, one of my friends has a condo where we will be staying, no cramped hotel room, no expensive meals, and no charge. For many spring and summer travelers, a hotel seems like the best option. However, if you are planning a long trip with a large group of people, you might want to consider a vacation house. Think about it: coming home to a spacious living room and a nice kitchen where you can prepare your meals for a lot less than if you went to eat at the hotel restaurant. Sounds nice, right? And if you think this fabulous vacation home is going to cost you a fortune, well, you would be wrong. Many of these places run a decent price, especially if you are splitting the cost among 10 friends. So how do you go about renting one of these places?

This is a great time to utilize the internet and browse the many travel sites dedicated to renting vacation homes. One of the best sites to visit is HomeAway.com. (You may remember it from the somewhat controversial Super Bowl ad it aired where a baby doll was hurled towards a glass wall.) It has more than 500,000 rentals located all over the world. Value is a major selling point for these vacation homes, especially in a tough economy where people want the most for their money.

When booking vacation homes, it is important to make sure you are getting the best option. If you are only planning a weekend trip, then opt for the hotel, it will be much cheaper. If you are staying somewhere for a week or longer, a vacation home is probably the best idea, especially if you have a large group that requires a lot of rooms. These accommodations offer more space, kitchen areas and lounging areas, so you can ultimately save more on food and enjoy a nice relaxing environment at the end of the day.

To make sure you get everything you want, be sure to ask lots of questions when working with vacation-home renters. Many people make the mistake of believing everything in an online ad, and book the location without asking about size or amenities. Make sure you ask about heating and air conditioning, cooking space, laundry, nearby shops and restaurants, privacy and noise level.

Vacation homes can be great accommodations for you and your travel group, but just make sure you ask all the necessary questions, and get everything in writing.


For more on vacation rentals, check out this article.

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