Whether you travel locally or across the country, you’ll need a comfortable hotel room to refresh yourself each day on vacation. When you start shopping for hotels, however, their prices may seem high, especially for popular landmarks. If you plan on staying at a location for a week or more, consider renting a local house. You’ll avoid those high tax rates at the local hotels while giving your family more room to spread out.
Tour The Area
The main key to a budget-friendly vacation house is location. You want to be close enough to the action that you don’t have to pay high parking fees. Walk or bike to the beach or local theme park, for example. If possible, drive through the potential neighborhood to get an idea of the right location. When visiting the area isn’t possible, use the Internet. There are several websites giving you a satellite view of neighborhoods. Some camera views are even at street level, allowing you to take a virtual tour of your next vacation destination.
Interview Several Homeowners
If you’ve found the perfect neighborhood, start searching for a home for rent. Try to keep an open mind about bedroom and bathroom quantities. You want to tour and interview with several homeowners to find the best deal. If you’re concerned that there are only two bathrooms instead of three, you may be missing out. You are only staying at the home temporarily, so flexibility should be easy. Scour the Internet for local rental rates as well. You want to know that the proposed monthly rate is competitive with the area.
Once you narrow down your house selections, talk to the owner about all the critical details. Deposit amounts, insurance and utilities payments are just some of the topics to cover. Place the deposit and any of the payments on your credit card rather than in cash. You’ll gain many points to apply to other vacation needs, especially if you’re going to fly to another destination. Almost every aspect of the negotiation process should be flexible, but get all of your agreements in writing. You’ll be entering a legal contract during your stay.
Take a Test Run
While you decide on a rental, try to stay at a nearby hotel during a busy weekend night. You want to experience the area to see if the home rental location is quiet or close enough to the action. If a train or highway keeps you up all night at the hotel, it may do the same at the home. That cheap home rental could be a bad decision if you can’t sleep at night. This overnight test run gives you a chance to evaluate your decision before committing to any contracts.
Read and Sign the Contract
You may have talked over all the fine points about the home rental, but read the entire contract before you sign anything. Slight changes to the agreement may be in writing, making it crucial to agree to all the details to secure the rental. You might want to have a lawyer look over the wording if you’re unfamiliar with some of the conditions. However, most rental agreements are relatively easy to understand. When a homeowner has a good reputation, either through word-of-mouth or online reviews, they want to keep their good standing with a fair contract.
Before you move in, walk through the property with the owner. Take pictures of any preexisting damage. Even notate details on a notepad. Make sure that both of you sign the notepad to show that it’s information that you agree on. Trade phone numbers with the owner in case of any emergency. Their cellphone is the best contact number. Ask any last-minute questions as you move through the home. The visual stimulation often brings ideas to mind such as use of the washer and dryer to a Jacuzzi in the backyard.
Unlike a hotel, there’s no cleaning staff to make your bed and vacuum the carpet. Treat the vacation home like your own property. Clean up after yourself and maintain the property like you found it. If your schedule is full, consider hiring a maid service. For a minimal fee, they’ll clean up the home while you’re out enjoying the region. When the owner sees the property after the rental period, they’ll appreciate the care. They may even invite you back next year for a discount because of your courtesy and cleanliness.
Experience your vacation in a different way with a rented house. You can rack up reward points by charging the deposit and balance on your credit card. By saving money on your current vacation and building rewards for the next one, you and your entire family will be traveling the world for less each year.
Everyone knows Kenneth Moore as a number cruncher who just doesn’t seem to run out of business ideas and never seems to have enough of them. Blogging about business and finance has been his greatest passion, ever since he left college with a bachelors in business administration. When not blogging, he loves to catch up on the latest game and sleeping (he never seem to get enough of it though).