Guide to Choosing the Perfect Vacation Rental

Planning a vacation should be fun. Remove the stress of choosing the perfect vacation rental by using our helpful guide so you can enjoy your vacation with your family!


guide to choosing perfect vacation rental

1. Know Your Needs and Wants

  • Determine how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need.
  • Consider which amenities your group prioritizes over others, such as vacation rentals with a pool.
  • If there are kids in the group, what features will help accommodate them?

2. Start Early — Timing is Important!

  • Planning a year in advance is a good rule of thumb.
  • To save money, consider flexible dates.
  • You can often save hundreds by reserving your spot in the last week of off-peak season.

3. Ask for Pictures

  • If no pictures are provided, it could be a red flag.
  • Ask the property manager for as many pictures as you need to feel comfortable.
  • Search for the property on multiple sites and on Google Street View!

4. Pick Apart the Wording

  • Analyze descriptive terminology and contact the property manager with any questions.
  • Terms like “oceanfront” and “beachfront” can confuse renters — did you know that only “beachfront” ensures you a spot on the water?
  • When it says “pet-friendly” be sure to specify what type of pets are acceptable.

5. Consider Your Surroundings

  • Consider how close you’ll be to restaurants, shopping areas and sights.
  • This is more important than you may think — if it rains or some members of your group are uncomfortable outside, you’ll need a backup plan!
  • Surprisingly, shopping is the most popular vacation activity, with 54% of the American population preferring it to other activities.

6. Consider Your Travel Arrangements

  • Consider and budget for whether you’ll be driving, flying or taking a train or bus.
  • Consider the parking arrangements at your property, and whether the area has public transportation.
  • 91% of summer trips are taken in personal vehicles!

7. Read Reviews

  • Find reviews on the property and the property manager.
  • Read as many reviews as possible.
  • Don’t let every review affect the decision — for example, the size of the pool might not matter if you’re visiting in January!

8. Consider New Listings

  • Looking for homes with many reviews makes sense, but homes that are new to the market can be the best finds.
  • They are often less expensive and come with fresh furnishings.
  • Try connecting with the property manager and follow your gut from there.

9. Create a Reasonable Budget

  • Saving is great, but you don’t have to be too cheap — after all, you’re on vacation!
  • Prioritize what amenities are worth your buck based on your needs.
  • Thorough research will lead you to the best deals.

10. Stay Safe

  • Make sure you’re on a legitimate rental website.
  • Contact the property manager before making any payments.
  • Always get a formal lease agreement.
  • Use a credit card for purchases.

Still need some help finding the perfect vacation rental? Check out our vacation rental search.

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