Renting a Vacation Home: Is It Really Such a Good Idea?

For many people, booking their own vacation home for a week or weekend of bliss seems ideal. In addition to possibly saving money, a vacation home affords you privacy. It offers more space. It provides the opportunity to cook your own meals, host get-togethers and make your vacation a true one-of-a-kind experience. Yet, for all the shine associated with the idea of renting a vacation home, know that the real deal isn’t always what it’s chalked up to be. Vacation homes can, and often do, come with their fair share of pitfalls. Before you book your next getaway, consider the top complaints associated with the home rental route.

Listings Aren’t Always Accurate

One of the biggest consumer complaints regarding vacation rentals is that the home wasn’t what they expected it to be. The “cozy cottage” in the woods may end up being a run-down shack at the end of a cul-de-sac. The “charming lakefront villa” may end up being a typical track home situated in front of a shared pond. The old Victorian in “the center of it all,” may actually be an old Victorian, except that it’s in the center of a pretty rough neighborhood in which shop owners board up their windows at night.

Location aside, the interior may differ drastically from what was promised as well. The furniture may be broken, stained and full of smells. The appliances may not work, and the kitchen may be missing half its supply of utensils. The bottom line is, that you can never know what to expect with vacation rentals. If you don’t like surprises, it may be best to stick with your favorite hotel.

Round-the-Clock Service Is Not a Thing

If you’re used to the kind of vacation where you can ring room service for a midnight snack and request new beach towels once the old ones get a bit of sand on them, the rental route may not be right for you. Staying in a vacation home is a lot like staying in your own home in that you must do everything yourself. That includes cleaning up after yourself after throwing together an elaborate dessert and, yes, laundering towels on your own.

You May Need a Rental Car

Sure, you save money on hotel fees and food costs when you rent a vacation home. However, it’s not uncommon for vacationers to accrue new costs where they shed other ones. For instance, many vacation homes are not, in fact, in the center of it all. If yours is one of many, you may end up having to rent a car to get to major attractions and points of interest. The cost of the car alone will eat up any savings you acquired. However, you must also factor in the cost of gas, toll fees, parking and other expenses, all of which can quickly add up.

You Will Probably Need To Bring Your Own Bedding and Towels

After the events of 2019 and 2020, many vacation rental owners now require renters to bring their own linens. This is a major consideration, especially if luggage or car space is an issue. You can always buy linens at your destination to save space in your suitcase, but doing so is yet another expense that will eat into your savings.

Renting a vacation home certainly has its perks over staying in a hotel. However, for every perk, there is a pitfall. It’s important to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a vacation rental before you book one for your next getaway.