5 Tips For Booking Successful Vacation Rentals

Author: Family Travel Forum Staff

Tags : Caribbean, Couples, Europe, Family Reunion, Family-Friendly Hotels, Multigen, North America, Step & Single Parents, Teens

With more online resources available, and larger multigenerational family groups traveling together, it's time your family explores the vacation rental option for your next getaway.


1. Why a Vacation Rental When Hotels are So Easy?

Cost is a big factor. Vacation rentals, whether you are searching for a condo, beachfront villa, family home or timeshare available by the night, can be a great money-saving option for families. On the plus side, they are typically multi-room units with cooking facilities, extra space for the clan, pet-welcoming policies, and access to resort facilities you'd be paying much more for in a nearby hotel.

So if this is your year to skip the all-inclusive resorts and chain hotels and think about vacationing in a home-away-from-home, we hope you'll find the following tips and resources helpful.  

2. Choosing a Vacation Rental Destination

Your vacation destination depends on many factors, but wherever you go, picking the right family vacation rental is very important. You want to make sure of the following items:

  • There are enough bedrooms for everyone to sleep (for brief stays, a one-bedroom with a sofabed can sleep 4)
  • The living and dining area -- most important rooms -- are nice and spacious
  • Unit has all the amenities you need (full kitchen, washer, dryer, etc.)
  • The destination or surrounding region has things for your family to do while you're there.

Other additional features you might want to see offered by the chosen rental company are cleaning services, childcare, and pet care, if pets are allowed.

3. Top Value Vacation Homes Overseas

If you decide to go international -- where savings can be huge -- check out Hideaways International for their great international travel deals. They feature a lot of off the beaten path places, and list weekly deals at various exotic locations in Thailand, South Africa, and France. Their site is positively inspiring.

If you want to get a sense of the budget and moderate-price market, get out your foreign language dictionary and check out some of Homeaway Inc's foreign vacation rental websites. The Holiday-Rentals.co.uk offers a variety of homes and apartments, and the more budget-oriented Ownersdirect.co.uk features self-catered units, in the United Kingdom and abroad. At FeWo-direkt.de is where German families have shopped for vacation rental properties since 1997, just as Abritel.fr offers a world full of vacation rental choices to those from France.

Many of the international sites mentioned above will list beach vacation rentals on beautiful islands, and tree-shrouded cabins in dense tropical jungles. You don't only have to choose a ski chalet or a highrise rental in a major city. One of the great perks of foreign travel is that international trips can also be very educational for you and your children, as you experience the culture around you.

4. Vacation Rentals and Condos in the United States

If you want to stay local, states that have many attractions for kids, like Florida or California, are a good choice. Their strong tourism economy also guarantees lots of competition, which helps keep rental prices low, especially if you book with small, local companies. With Florida-based 4rentbythebeach.com, you can select affordable multi-unit condo properties that are close to Pompano Beach with lots of other attractions in the Fort Lauderdale area.

Or if you want something close to Disney World (there are Disney Vacation Club units within the themepark), stay at Disney's Boardwalk Villas where each 1, 2 and 3-bedroom villa has a kitchen, cribs and high chairs, access to a child's pool with waterslide, hot tub, minigolf, movies under the stars and child care service.

Additional rental properties are available through Wyndham Vacation Rentals, the world’s largest professionally managed vacation rental business, as well as being part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of hotel brands. In addition to many resorts with rental units, the company has ResortQuest and other vacation rentals businesses in the US and around the world under their banner. ResortQuest offers 7,000 vacation rental properties in over 30 locations in North American featuring beach, golf, tennis, themeparks and skiing, in addition to many popular destinations in Europe. Visit their site for deals and last minute vacation offerings.

Homeaway Inc. -- recently purchased by the giant online agency Expedia, also operates a large number of websites that feature more than 720,000 paid vacation rental home listings throughout the U.S. and around the world, including some of the largest U.S. sites: Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) and VacationRentals.com. VRBO is another favorite because it's easy to use and compare prices, and the management has rated and organized the properties in a very helpful way.

5. Save with Last Minute Rentals: More Resources

We have not focused on the very popular and rapidly growing Airbnb because most of their rentals are done by individual owners, so families don't have a management company to ensure the quality promised. Additionally, the majority of Airbnb rentals are rooms within an owner's larger property, rather than being stand-alone rentals. In a 2015 survey done by Homeaway Inc with YouGov, 39% of kids said the best part of staying in a whole house is getting their own room or their own bed -- the biggest complaints came from the 44% who spent their vacation nights on a couch and probably made parents miserable too. Exceptions exist of course, and with Airbnb listings in 190 countries, it's always worth checking out what is available at destinations of interest.

For vetted rental deals on both local and international villas, visit Endless Vacation Rentals. Check out "Last Minute Vacations," where they post deals for people looking for a quick getaway. Endless Vacation Rentals is the direct-to-consumer vacation rental business of RCI, the world's largest vacation exchange network.

Last but not least by any means, Discover Vacation Homes was launched many years ago by the Vacation Rental Managers Association (VRMA), a non-profit that offers advice to promote vacation rentals as a traveler's alternative. You can search their site by destination and find recommended vacation rental companies all over the United States and major resort areas.

Keep in mind, no matter how long you search, there are always other options available. And remember, when it comes to the right vacation rental at the right price, research is your best friend.

Photos courtesy of Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Note! This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.