Are you day-dreaming about tropical islands or currently searching online for affordable vacation rentals? Yet, most of the focus when planning a Caribbean vacation goes towards deciding what activities to do and which sights to see.
You’ve probably also had at least one dream where you own a home in the Caribbean, right? Yet, it’s critically important not to forget the key factor of where you’ll be staying for the duration of your trip.
So, hey buddy…wake up, let’s get cracking.
As expected, internet-based rental marketplaces such as HomeAway, Airbnb, and VRBO are being swarmed by millions of vacationers searching for a way to keep rising costs down.
Whether you’re staying in a quaint little garden cottage or a spacious beach-side condo, your rental is where you’re going to be spending the majority of your downtime. Therefore, it’s important to plan your choice carefully.
To help you with this, we’ve put together a list of seven (7) tips to keep in mind when booking a vacation rental.
1) Do Your Research.
Read rental summaries wisely. Make sure that the listing tells you all the pertinent information about the location.
Is there air conditioning and heating? Is there adequate parking? Is the rental well-furnished, or do you need to bring some things with you? Are there laundry facilities on-site, or will you need to find a laundromat?
Consider Space. It’s easy to get carried away when browsing vacation rentals. You’re sure to be tempted to reserve a much larger space than might be needed.
Stay focused and shortlist the properties that are a suitable size, which will help you saved some money.
Resist Temptation. Don’t yield easily to unnecessary luxuries. Seriously, do you really want a hot tub if you haven’t used one in the past? Or maybe you’ve been recently converted and you think you’ll use it now.
If you really think you’ll enjoy them, awesome. But if not, why spend the money?
Choose Your Tropical Island Wisely. Due to airline availability, proximity, and differences in demand, some Caribbean islands are simply less expensive to fly to than others.
Because of its nearness and the sheer number of non-stop flights, Nassau, Bahamas is one of the least expensive Caribbean airports to fly to. Yet, there are certainly some Caribbean islands where vacation rentals are significantly more expensive than others.'Travel like Gandhi, with simple clothes, open eyes, and an uncluttered mind.' - Rick StevesClick To Tweet
Don’t be surprised! There are some vacation rental owners who tend to charge an arm and a leg for everything: rental cars, food, drinks, etc. And why not? They’re popular, well-known places, and they get a lot more demand than they have in supply.
And when that happens, costs will rise. Nonetheless, you still have affordable options.
These are only a few considerations and questions you should want to be answered in a rental listing. Also, be careful of rental summaries that contain generalities, and make sure to get a specific address for the property instead of trusting vague descriptions of the location.
2) Read Reviews Carefully.
It’s important to find out what previous guests thought. If they loved the property and had no complaints, a review will tell you so. Yet, common guest complaints may include cleanliness, poor communication, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements, inaccurate listing information and lack of vacation home essentials.
And if the property is flawed in ways that the rental listing doesn’t mention, a review will tell you that as well.
Here’s the takeaway.
Reviews can also help you in obtaining useful information (details about the rental that might not seem important to the property owner but matter to a guest).
So, make sure to take your time on this step. Consider a property with five or more customer reviews for starters.
3) Check (and Double-check) Pricing.
It’s important to make sure that you’re not being overcharged for your rental (such as being charged a higher rate than what you were initially promised). But it’s also essential to know about any additional fees or surcharges that might come with your rental.
Some properties charge not only cleaning/housekeeping fees but also require you to pay for your Internet and cable TV usage, and sometimes even utilities (such as water and electricity for the duration of your stay).
Hmmm. Just think about that for a minute.
Related: How to Find Cheap Accommodation
4) Verify Payment Methods.
Each property manager has their own preferences for how they receive payment (some don’t accept credit cards and require you to pay in cash or with a check).
As such, make sure that whatever rental you choose can be paid for by your desired method of payment.
We’re not through yet.
5) Book Vacation Rentals Early – Don’t Wait!
There are immeasurable benefits of vacation rentals. Accordingly, if you’re certain about the dates for your vacation, make sure to book your rental reservation as soon as possible.
However, booking a vacation rental may not be as easy and straightforward as booking a basic hotel room. Accordingly, it’s important to get a head-start on it so that you have enough times to communicate your needs to the property owner without feeling rushed.
6) Be Safe and Mindful
Not only is it important to verify the reputation of the rental property but also the property’s owner. If you are paying for your rental with cash or a wire transfer, try to arrange for a rental contract to cover the terms of your stay.
Please ensure that you read the fine print in the contract. Vacation rental contracts can vary, so take a very close look at the contract before signing it.
Also, most rentals require security deposits, so if you notice a problem with the property, report it right away so that the owner doesn’t hold you responsible for it and retain your security deposit.
7) Ask Questions
When you rent a hotel room, you’re one of many anonymous travelers. Certainly, the concierge will try to help you find a bargain or a good deal, but they probably won’t put as much effort into it as would a vacation rental by owner.
Therefore, our final piece of advice is to not be afraid to ask questions. If there’s anything about the rental summary that confuses you, ask about it.
Are you worried about not having the internet during your stay? Are you curious to know if there will be other people on the property at the same time? You still don’t see a must-have an amenity like air conditioning on the listing.
Then, simply ask the owner or manager about it. A reputable vacation rental owner will have no problem answering any questions you have.
Conclusion: Paradise Awaits
Vacation rentals tend to offer more comfort for less money than a hotel room. And you’ll save even more if you know where to look and how to ask for them.
While many enjoy staying in first-class resorts, the popular vote is shifting in favor of vacation rentals when traveling to the Bahama Islands. In some instances, some families discover that the hotel just wasn’t up to par for the price. With a vacation rental, you’ll have far better service and save money if you take advantage of the kitchen and laundry.
Additionally, many testimonials later reveal that the vacationing family grew to love their vacation rental so much, that they didn’t want to leave. There is nothing better when traveling to have the choice of eating in or eating out. Historically, families who travel spend the most amount of money on dining; so being able to save on breakfasts and the odd dinner will allow you to spend more on activities and sightseeing.
Just try to keep these basic tips in mind and you shouldn’t have too much trouble in finding the perfect rental for your vacation.
Download the step-by-step guide to setting up affordable family vacations on autopilot.
Question: If the Bahama Islands are on your list of possible destinations, which island are you going to visit first? We would be happy to read about your choice in the comments below.