Pack these essential tips for staying in a summer rental


If you plan to stay in a vacation rental this summer, you will need to follow a few basic vacation home rules – some written down, some not.

A new study by Europ Assistance and its subsidiary Generali Global Assistance concludes that vacation rentals are a top choice for most travelers. Research has found that 78% of travelers prefer rentals over hotels, and will continue to do so after the pandemic. Almost 9 in 10 people (86%) said they would book a rental within the next 18 months.

Why? Vacation rentals are more private and considered safer than traditional hotel rooms.

But there’s a catch: vacation rentals aren’t hotels. These are homes, and each has its own vacation home rules. You can read some of them in the guest folder of your rental. The others, it is enough to know.

I talk to vacation renters almost every day through my nonprofit consumer advocacy site. But, as a full-time digital nomad, I also deal with many vacation rental owners. And I can tell you that for every written vacation home rule, there is an unwritten one. The published rules cover everything from maximum number of guests to pets. The unwritten covers amenities, courtesy and punctuality, among others.

You’ll want to know both before you stay in a vacation rental this summer.

Here are the vacation home rules you need to know

“When booking, travelers must agree to the host’s rules and policies, which include the cancellation policy, damage policy and house rules,” says Alison Kwong, spokesperson for Vrbo. “House rules help guests avoid surprises during their stay and can protect the vacation home.”

When you rent a house, the house rules will be posted on the listing page and the owner can send you more detailed holiday home rules once you have booked. Usually, they will also be in the guest file when you arrive.

Here are the most frequently found items in the Holiday Home Rules

Maximum number of overnight guests: Hosts can specify the total number of guests allowed to sleep in the vacation home.

Minimum age required: Landlords can specify if the primary tenant must meet a certain age requirement.

Events: Not all hosts allow family reunions, gatherings, or parties, although some event attendees do not stay overnight.

Pets: One of the top 10 search filters on Vrbo is for pets. Hosts can indicate whether they allow pets, how many, what types, and any size restrictions.

Not sure about the written rules of the vacation home? Ask your host before you reserve the property to avoid any misunderstanding or additional vacation rental charges.

There are also unwritten rules for vacation homes

Many rules are not written down anywhere, and they may not be the easiest to understand. For example, what do you do with your used sheets when you leave?

“Here’s a pro tip,” says Zander Buteux, organic growth manager at VacationRenter. “Even though there are no specific departure instructions in the welcome pack, if there is a laundry room, it is courteous to leave all of your dirty towels either in the washer or piled up in piles. proximity.”

What about your dishes? If your rental has a dishwasher, go through all your dirty dishes before you go and let the host know when you check out.

“Bonus guest points when renting,” says Buteux.

It is meant figuratively and literally. Some rental platforms allow owners to rate customers. I discovered this when I had a little misunderstanding with an Airbnb host about a house key. I quickly fixed it, but also learned that the hosts can ring you for misconduct. And it could affect your ability to rent on any of these platforms in the future.

To be on time

A vacation rental is not a hotel, where the front desk is open 24 hours a day. Often the owners live nearby and must make arrangements for you to enter the property. The owners say you should try to be on time for check-in, and especially check-out.

“Sometimes we only have six hours to return the property,” says Justin Marino, who owns a sustainable products business in Alexandria, Va., And is also an Airbnb host. “In order to do that, we have a tight schedule with our cleaning crew and have to do all the laundry and make the place shine. If a customer leaves late, it’s more difficult to do everything for the next customer. Wouldn’t want a cleaning crew in a rush to clean up a place for your stay, so that’s definitely something to think about. “

Bring these vacation rental essentials

Vacation rentals don’t always come with everything you need. For example, homeowners regularly lock the toilet plunger in a pantry where you can’t access it. This means that if you have a plumbing problem on a vacation weekend, you will need to go to the nearest hardware store to fix it yourself.

“Suppose you won’t be able to contact the rental desk for help while on vacation,” advises Chip Bell, an expert in vacation rentals and customer service. Its emergency kit includes not only a plunger but a key, extra spark plugs and a flashlight. Vacation rental insiders also say that you need a sharp knife to cook because, for some reason, every knife in a vacation rental is blunt like dishwater. I can attest to that.

Take before and after photos of the rental

“Don’t be blamed for something that was already broken or non-functional when you arrived,” says frequent renter Brett Sorge.

He always takes pictures of his rental as soon as he walks inside. Every room, every device, every table, chair and sofa. And then the same thing before leaving.

“Also, call the rental agent as soon as you arrive if something is wrong,” he adds. “They could try to fix it and, unfortunately, probably already knew it was broken.”

This is one of the most important vacation home rules, and I learned it the hard way. Unfortunately, a few years ago a host criticized me for pre-existing damage and I couldn’t prove my innocence. With regard to vacation rentals, you are guilty until proven guilty.

Make friends with the owner or manager

Get to know the vacation rental owner before your visit and maintain an open line of communication. That’s the advice of Darcy Vierow, who publishes a travel planning site. “Establish and maintain good communication with the owner of your vacation rental from the day you book your trip until the time you leave at the end of your vacation,” she says. “That way, if something goes wrong – it doesn’t matter who’s to blame – you’ve already built a relationship that will go a long way in alleviating bad feelings should problems arise.”

It’s nothing personal. New customers are generally wary of owners, possibly due to the behavior of previous customers. I have received all kinds of interesting questions from the hosts. “What is the purpose of your visit?” is probably the main question. Translation: “Are you planning loud parties?” Also, “How many occupants will be in the rental?” Translation: “Are you planning loud parties?” ”

I understand. The tenants are … well, tenants. But Vierow is right, putting a face to a name and being friendly can get you far when something goes wrong.

Quiet Please

Most vacation rentals don’t allow parties. But how do they know you’re having a party? Because they listen. Services like Alertify, Minut, and Partysquasher can keep tabs on noise levels and occupants without violating your privacy. Vacation rental owners swear by these services.

“We are implementing noise monitoring to make sure our guests are able to respect households within the community they are visiting,” said Emir Dukic, CEO of Rabbu, a rental asset management company. . “We have found that it makes all the difference. It’s important that we care about the people around us, and the types of guests we love to host are the ones who are happy to make them a priority. Noise monitoring helps us put the necessary guidelines in place so that we can help our guests be the kind of considerate, accommodating and discreet neighbors they want to be during their stay. “

Remember your manners

This is the main complaint of vacation rental managers. Some guests simply forget to pack their good manners. It’s an easy mistake to make, but it can really bother your landlord.

“Guests need to be pleasant and attentive listeners so that they understand that they are, yes, guests,” says Jim Prugh, owner of a vacation rental company in Lindsborg, Kansas. “Pick up after you, let us know if something is accidentally broken, take the trash back into the trash and don’t leave it in the vacation rental.” “

You probably won’t find it in your guest folder. How do you even ask someone to be a careful listener, anyway? This is something your parents should have taught you. And pick up after you? There too, you can thank your father and your mother for teaching you that (or not). But common courtesy will go a long way when you rent a vacation home.

And here’s the thing: if for some reason something goes wrong – say one of your kids breaks a vase in the living room – you can bet the owner will be a lot more sympathetic when you use your “treat”. and thank you .”

Have a good stay

Vacation rentals are a great way to experience your destination like a local. But you have to remember that most vacation home rules aren’t written on paper. These pro tips, a little courtesy, and common sense will help you figure out the rest.

Of course, that assumes that you can find a vacation rental this summer. Many destinations are already full, so you might have to wait until later this year to put these pro tips into practice.

About Brad S. Fulton

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