Vacation rentals are on the rise in cities all over the world, and offer a truly great way to get to know a new city by living like the locals. There are many advantages – and some adventures! – that come with getting off the beaten path, but if you are unprepared it can also be a bit frustrating. The major advantage of staying in a hotel is that you have 24-hour access to someone who can help you with things like sewing kits and medical assistance. Industry experts like Brian Ferdinand always advise you to make sure you cover your bases to avoid nasty surprises when you arrive.
Electric supply and outlets
In some areas, electricity is purchased in preset amounts, and when it is gone, it needs to be “topped up”. Be sure that you understand from your host whether this is the situation, and if so, who pays for additional electricity. If electricity is provided in this way discuss with your host what “normal usage” means in terms of how likely you are to drain the existing supply. For countries with different electrical systems, ask your host if they provide adaptors. This is something that you would generally be able to borrow at a hotel – and you will definitely regret not asking your host about this if you arrive to find that you cannot charge up. You may also want to ask about electrical outlets – in many places, it is less common to have lots of outlets, and if you have many devices you might want to bring a powerbar.
Is it very noisy or very quiet?
It is a good idea to know something about the neighborhood and the neighbors so that you can make sure that a particular vacation rental is suitable for you. Most vacation rentals will prohibit parties or social gatherings as a way to limit both damage and noise. However, especially if you are travelling with a group of people, it might be the case that your normal activities might create more noise than is normal for the building or neighborhood. You should also be sure to ask about neighboring businesses or the “culture” of the street – if your vacation rental is next door to a pub that plays live music 5 nights a week, you may decide that it is not the right rental for you – or maybe that it is perfect!
Is there someone on hand to help if needed?
If you are locked out, the toilet backs up, or there is some other situation needing attention, whom do you call? Sometimes, vacation rental owners live in the same location and are available to help if needed. If not, is there someone else that can be called if something goes wrong? Does that person have your contact information so that they know to answer the phone if you try to reach them? Are you expected to pay for emergency service and be reimbursed or does the owner have an arrangement with local tradespeople and service providers?
These are just some of the many questions that you should ask your host before you arrive at your vacation rental to ensure that all goes well!