If you’re planning your next vacation but don’t want to stay in the typical chain hotel, a short-term home rental may be the perfect option for you. A rented vacation home generally is more budget friendly, more private, and more spacious than other accommodations. A host with good customer service also can offer more personal touches during your stay, and the amenities, like free Wi-Fi and private pools, can not be beat.
Here are some tried and true tips from Kong Management Group to help you find the vacation home that’s right for you:
1. Plan Ahead and Book Early
By planning ahead, you can avoid some of the stress and cost that can go with trying to find a vacation home. As soon as you pick your vacation destination, look into options in that area for rental accommodations. If you’re trying to book during peak season or on short notice, your options may be limited. Vacation homes are more limited than hotel rooms, and popular properties book out fast. Try to plan your trip to avoid peak-season fees, and book early so you’ll have more choices to find the perfect home!
2. Read the Reviews
Reviews are important because they are real customers giving real feedback about their stay, letting you know what that vacation home is really like. As you read the reviews, remember that each guest is different and has unique tastes, expectations, and experiences. However, if you see the same issue pop up in several different reviews, consider it a red flag! As a general rule, if most of the reviews are positive and most guests are satisfied, you can discount the occasional negative review.
3. Know the Rules
Whether you’re planning to stay for a weekend or several weeks, it’s important that you understand exactly what the rental includes and what the house rules are. Make sure to carefully read the listing and ask the host if you have any questions about the property. Find out if there are any age restrictions for renters and be familiar with the cancellation policy. Find out if pets are welcome and what a pet owner’s responsibilities are. Ask for a checklist of the amenities included in your stay, like a fully stocked kitchen, an outdoor grill, or a pool. Hosts will be happy to provide information and photos to anyone seriously considering their rental home! At Kong Vacation Homes, all of the amenities we provide, including security systems, Wi-Fi, and smart TVs, are offered free of charge to enhance your comfort!
4. Get a Contract (and Read Every Word)
Before you pay, make sure that you have signed a rental contract, and you have agreed to all of its terms. Read the entire contract carefully, so there are no surprises at the end of your stay. This contract includes your payment schedule, and it also outlines your liability if there are damages, if extra housekeeping is needed, or in case of contract termination. It’s important that you know if amenities are inclusive or if you’ll be paying for utilities, Internet service, phone service, cable, etc. Find out what the housekeeping schedule is and who is responsible for payment. Also, find out what condition the property to avoid any penalties. When it’s time to check out, you should leave with great memories, not questions about your bill!
5. Know the Payment Terms
Most vacation rentals require a deposit in advance of your stay, so don’t forget to factor that into your rental timeline and budget! For Kong Vacation Homes, the standard payment schedule is 50 percent at signing of rental agreement and 50 percent 14 days prior to check-in. Typically, payment by credit card is preferred, and you should be wary of any property owner asking for cash!
6. Document First
Once you have the keys to your vacation home, do a quick walk-through of the property and document any existing damage. Take pictures or videos of any questionable areas, and make sure to share them with the host. This will help you avoid being on the hook for any extra costs! Also make sure that you have the host’s contact information in case there is an issue, such as a problem with the air conditioning or electricity outage. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
We hope that following these tips will help you take the stress out of vacation planning. With unsurpassed amenities and exceptional customer service, we work to make sure that you get the most out of your vacation. If you are planning a trip to Tampa or Hallandale Beach, check out our properties at www.kongmg.com/vacation-rentals, or call us at 866-499-9026. Vacation to the fullest with Kong Vacation Homes!