Shrewd Escapism: What You Should Look For In a Vacation Rental

After more than a year of staring at the same four walls, we are finally free to plan a vacation without serious risk to our health. It’s a change that, for some of us, can hit with all the suddenness of the first wave of the pandemic, an alteration to our new normal that can find us frothing at the mouth for more. 

While the pandemic isn’t by any means over yet, and the unvaccinated should still take care, the vaccinated are finally finding themselves free to leave their homes without risking an ICU visit. The freedom can be overwhelming after so much time being restricted, and the inclination to plan a getaway as quickly as possible without considering everything that might be necessary might fall on some of us. 

For those who are still worried about COVID, vacation rentals posit a safer alternative to most mainstream hotels: in addition to being more spacious than even luxury hotel rooms, vacation rentals are for your family’s use only, limiting your chances of exposure more than a hotel, what with its abundance of guests and even intrusive housecleaning staff, would. Still, the discerning vacationer needs to be careful about which vacation rental they choose for their next family vacation: for every hospitable vacation rental owner looking to make their guests’ experience better, there are at least a few others just looking to turn around property and get rich quick. 

Keeping an eye out for specific things can help weed out the opportunists from whom you’ll get subpar experiences, as well as make sure that your family is optimally positioned to make their first vacation in years their dream vacation. 

With that at the forefront, as you’re browsing available listings, here are a few things you should keep in mind. 

Pick a Rental Close By Popular Destinations

You might be surprised to hear this particular bit of advice, as no doubt you’ve been told that such places are more likely to be tourist traps and that they’ll charge a premium for their locations. And that’s right. But also wrong. 

There’s a location sweet spot that you’ll want to try to hit: not too far away that a taxi or Uber ride to your destination will cost too much, but not too close that you run the risk of running into landlords that will charge massive premiums for renting their space. Try to find areas that are within walking distance of restaurants, shopping centers, and the like while avoiding vacation rentals that are literally next door to popular tourist traps and landmarks. If you are in California having a vacation, finding good restaurants in Hollywood is not a problem at all.

Make Sure Your Rental is Clean and Fully Furnished

A vacation rental is supposed to be your de facto “home away from home,” and you should feel the minute you walk through the door that you will be able to live in that space. As such, avoid vacation rentals that have minimal furnishings listed, or vacation rentals that appear sparsely decorated in their photos. 

Vacation rentals should come clean and fully furnished: you should be able to walk into the house without feeling as though you immediately need a shower, or feeling like you need to deep clean to avoid catching the virus. You should also have ample seating room in common areas, clean and comfortable beds, and cookware so you can try out new recipes at a bare minimum: if you notice that when you walk in that the photos appear different than what you’re getting, or that the renter hasn’t provided these essential functions for you, you might want to look into the providers’ cancellation policy. 

Weigh Properties Against Each Other

No vacation property will be perfect, and the chances are that if you’ve found one that is the perfect intersection of convenient location, available amenities, and customer-service-oriented host, you’ve either found a unicorn, or you’re paying too much. Weigh the disadvantages of different properties against one another to find the vacation rental that will most adequately suit your families’ needs. 

Finding a good vacation rental can be easy, if you follow the tips above. Take care when browsing the listings to look at the reviews to see, before you put your money down on any particular property, if the reality of the property matches the façade presented to you. You will no doubt find the right property for your family to stay in on your first post-quarantine vacation.

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