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We will now look at how to book a vacation home for those who want more comfort than hostels can provide. In the last installment of our two-part series on choosing accommodations, we discussed booking hostels. Today we will look at vacation rentals with a goal to find more reasonable rates than standard hotels.
Getting your foot in the door
If you like taking moderate risks, I would recommend trying Priceline to book a vacation home. Priceline allows you the chance to place bids on the price of a hotel room. If you don’t like taking risks, then I would suggest trying aggregator websites like Home Away, VRBO and Airbnb to book a vacation home. They list homes, rooms, guesthouses, and cabins owned by people who want to rent them out to vacationers.
a word on Service Fees
Some of the aggregators will charge a service fee that will not be refunded should you cancel. Aggregators will usually charge you for the full stay as soon as you book it. Take note of each owner’s cancellation policy because they vary from property to property.
Most will refund your money if you cancel well in advance of your visit; some are generous enough to refund in full with one day’s notice.
I’ve noticed that some have taken to charging security deposits, I usually avoid those accommodations because it’s so much of a hassle, though I understand that prior experiences may have caused owners to resort to this.
Nevertheless, all of these conditions are indicated on each listing, so be sure to read each carefully. Don’t let this dissuade you from booking a vacation home.
getting started on How to book a vacation home
To get started, You will need to plug in your destination, the dates you plan to visit and the number in your party on the aggregator homepage. The website’s search engine will render a list of properties that are available for rent on those dates.
Narrowing it down
At that point, you can further specify the number of bedrooms needed and any particular amenities that you would require when booking a vacation home. You may desire an elevator (assuming that your room would be in an apartment building on a higher floor), wi-fi, nearby restaurants, etc.
Once I have zoned in on a property that interests me, I click on it to see pics of it, a list of specific amenities and to read the house rules. I find that the prices are very reasonable for most properties.
Most apartments rent for prices that are comparable to mid-range hotel rooms. I enjoy the extra privacy, the ability to cook meals when I want to hang in and I get to feel as if I am just another resident of the city during my stay.
Have you ever tried booking a vacation home? Would you recommend it? Share your experiences in the comment section below!