Common mistakes can be avoided when booking a vacation

Newburyport, Massachusetts- As spring beckons, an increasing number of travelers are looking to rent a vacation home instead of opting for a costly and sometimes cramped hotel. Vacation Home Rentals (VHR), has released a checklist of key considerations for travelers as they select a vacation rental in their favorite destination.

Vacation Home Rentals ( entered the vacation rental market in 2004 and in 2010 became the largest independent vacation home travel site. With the Vacation Home Rental industry also reporting a 14% increase in traffic for the same time period*, indications are that many couples and families are becoming first time renters.

“This checklist is designed to empower travelers and encourage conversations that will help facilitate a positive experience renting a vacation home” said, Tom Gilmore, CEO Vacation Home Rentals. “Tips like these will make it easier for the property owner as well as the guest, and that is what we strive for.”

As you select a destination, there are several ways you can then choose a perfect property. VHR makes this process easy, allowing you to search by popular terms such as neighborhood, type of property, price and number of recommendations. and even has a “last minute deals” section for impromptu weekend getaways. Some recent VHR listings include; a one bedroom ocean view condominium in Kaanapali, Hawaii for $153 per night or a gorgeous, 'Every Day with Rachael Ray' Magazine (December, 2010, pg.162)1 recommended 4 bedroom home in Kissimmee, FL, $525 per week when you book 4/9 – 4/16.

Most sites, including VHR request that you contact the homeowner via an email form that is provided. One great feature of the site is that you have the ability to save your comments so you don't have to retype them for each property.

Here are some other guidelines that travelers and property owners have found helpful:

1. Insist on a contract. When contacting the property owner and agreeing to the terms, make sure that the property owner provides a contract outlining important terms such as the security deposit, cleaning fee and cancellation terms. These terms will vary widely depending on the destination, length of stay and property owner preferences, so be sure to read the fine print and ask them about any of their expectations when you depart the property.

2. Ask for destination related recommendations. This is one of the key advantages of renting from someone who really knows the area. Ask for recommendations on great restaurants, attractions and seasonal activities, festivals, concerts and other entertainment that may be unique to the area such as antique malls, bike trails, boating, surf spots etc. The property owner bought a property there, so they will likely have “locals only” ideas for you to consider.

3. Take advantage of the reviews available. On every VHR listing, there is an individual reviews section. In fact, many of the VHR reviews are linked to the actual reviewers Facebook account, allowing you to message them for more details regarding their review.

4. Be sure to understand the amenities available. Often renters assume the vacation home functions like a hotel and show up expecting linens and towels, to find bare beds and no towels. Ask ahead of time what you're expected to bring. Sometimes you can arrange for it with the owner, or you can always bring it with you. Be sure to also ask about satellite cable, internet, kitchen appliances and cookware, laundry facilities and other property benefits that may or may not be included.

5. Enjoy the luxuries provided! Account for the added space and luxuries that come with your vacation home when you pack. Plan fun activities that fully utilize the added benefits like pools, private balconies, spas, golf courses and other property features.

Following this checklist will help facilitate a positive experience for both the renter and the property owner. Remember, this is a personal transaction and in many ways different and superior to that of an average hotel experience.

About Vacation Home Rentals:
Vacation Home Rentals is the most visited independent vacation rental site in North America. Over 10 million potential renters search Vacation Home Rentals for their next vacation rental every year. Vacation Home Rentals hosts an extensive variety of vacation homes that provide vacationers with an organic alternative to the over-priced hotel option. A vacation rental gives the traveler an authentic experience- “Live like a local, save like an expert!” For more information

*(PhoCusWright, Vacation Rental Market Study, 2010)