If you find yourself in a position where you need to find vacation rentals for an upcoming trip, we’re here to tell you: there are a lot of places to look online! If you spread your efforts too thin, you’ll probably give up your search and head back to a hotel. However, with a few simple tips, you can not only find vacation rentals with ease, but make the best use of your time doing so. We’ll help you not only save time, but know what to look for when you review all of the different listing sites. Vacation is meant for experiencing in your destination of choice, not the consuming yourself with the process of the search!
How to Find Vacation Rentals:
Tip #1: Start with a location-based search
When you’re in the search engine of your choice, try typing in the city and state or city and country of your preferred destination. The search engine results will give you a great list of sites to start with. Not only will the results generally take you directly to a page featuring only properties in the area you want to visit, but you’ll be able to go back to this page of search engine results and try a few different sites if you like. You can also start your search with sites like HomeAway, FlipKey or TripAdvisor – all have easy to use search interfaces and detailed listings.
Bottom line: Know where you want to go and search for that location.
Tip #2: Expand your search
If you find that your preferred destination has a price tag higher than you envisioned or not a lot of availability for your preferred dates, try doing a search for surrounding towns. Many resort cities (take Aspen, Colorado, for instance) have cities within just a few minutes drive (like Snowmass Village) that offer additional options.
Bottom line: Search outside the bubble for more options.
Tip #3: Know your dates
While Evolve keeps its listings up-to-date with real-time availability, not all vacation rental sites are equipped with this feature quite yet. Know your dates before you start searching and be aware that you might have to go through a date confirmation process with the owner to ensure that the dates a website says a property is available are, in fact, the truth.
Bottom line: Don’t take a website’s word for it when it says a property is available. Always confirm for your exact dates.
Tip #4: When you’re done searching and ready to book, know the payment policy
When you’ve completed the process to find your vacation rental, it’s time to book. If you’ve bought anything online lately, you’re well aware that credit cards are the most common AND safest way to make purchases (which is why Evolve only accepts credit cards on our transactions). However, this type of payment isn’t available at every vacation rental site. Know how different sites charge your credit card at the time of booking: deposit, partial payment or full amount? Unlike hotels, you’re booking with a private owner and the payment required at booking is a good faith gesture that you’re going to keep your reservation.
Bottom line: Know what kind of payment is due at the time of booking (and ask about the cancellation policy!).
Tip #5: Get the details
Unlike a hotel where someone’s waiting at a reception desk when you check in, you’ll likely have to pick up your keys and get additional details. We have a post called Want to Book a Vacation Rental? 10 Questions You Should Ask. Inside you’ll find a great list to guide your pre-and-post booking questions and get you ready for the stay of a lifetime!
Bottom line: Iron out the logistics for as few surprises as possible and get ready to enjoy your trip!