The fact that you’re going the vacation home route vs. an overpriced hotel already shows what a smart and savvy traveler you are. However, picking the right vacation home is no easy task. You want to make sure it has the proper bed set up, the amenities you’re looking for, and that it’s in the location (and price range) that makes the most sense for your travel plans.

Here are five tips for picking the perfect vacation rental for your family, and ensuring you and your loved ones feel comfortable in your home-away-from-home.

The Beds

When picking the perfect rental, it’s important to start with the basics, such as where everyone is going to sleep. The number of bedrooms doesn’t always tell you what you need to know. Make sure you find out what size beds are in each bedroom, and what it really means when a home says it can sleep a specific number. A house that sleeps ten might be including a pull-out sofa or bunk beds, so make sure these sleeping arrangements are suitable for your traveling party. Great-grandma might not be too thrilled about climbing up on the top bunk each night for bed. If you’re coming with little ones, ask if the home has cribs or pack n plays for you to use. If not, you can always add one to your reservation to make sure your baby has a safe place to sleep.

Vacation homes have maximum occupancy standards for a reason, and attempting to cram more people into a smaller house never works out well. It only results in some people sleeping in uncomfortable places, and even worse, could result in a violation of your rental agreement. Avoid these problems altogether by picking a vacation home that has enough room for everyone.

The Neighborhood

Is it essential for you to be in a neighborhood that has amenities you can use, like a community pool and playground? How important is it to be in a gated community? Do you want to be in an apartment complex or residential neighborhood? Your preferences about the neighborhood will help you narrow down your choices for a vacation rental. Resort style neighborhoods like Emerald Isle and Windsor Hills offer upscale amenities such as resort-style pools, luxury clubhouses, athletic courts and game rooms. For something a little more low-key and local, residential neighborhoods like Indian Ridge Oaks or Rolling Hills can offer you the luxury vacation home experience while not feeling as touristy. It?s also important to ask questions about the distance from your vacation home to popular local attractions. There?s nothing worse than renting something in an unfamiliar area only to find out it’s 30 minutes from everywhere you want to be. Check local maps to make sure your vacation rental is close to the theme parks, restaurants, shopping and other attractions that your family is planning to see.

The Must Haves

Every family has a unique list of things that are “must haves” in their search for the perfect vacation rental. Some families require a pool, or kid-themed bedrooms, or a game room. Others are looking for something on the first floor, or with a specific number of bedrooms, or for a home that is pet-friendly. Your list of “must haves” is specific to your family, but there are some factors that all families can agree on that are non-negotiable. These are things like:

  • Cleanliness of the property
  • The overall safety of the area/neighborhood
  • Attentive homeowner/property management team
  • Accurate description of home and amenities
  • Easy, safe, and secure booking and payment practices

At the end of the day, not getting a kid-themed room probably won’t ruin your vacation. However, do your research to ensure your vacation rental has a strong history of satisfied guests, clean houses, and a professional management team.

The Nice-To-Haves

This is your vacation, and it only makes sense you’d want a vacation home that has that “wow” factor. Maybe it’s a private media room with reclining leather seats. Maybe it’s a stunning two-story floor plan with state of the art appliances. Whatever it is that you feel would really take your home up a notch, ask for it. You’d be surprised at what some of these modern vacation rentals have these days! And adding that extra element of luxury and fun could mean adding specialty packages, rentals, or services onto your booking to really upgrade your experience. Some of Magical Stays’s most popular “nice-to-haves” are

  • Game rooms
  • Hot tubs
  • Media rooms
  • Kid-themed rooms
  • Pool toy packages
  • Anniversary/birthday packages
  • Welcome Packs
  • Exclusive Resort Access

Since browsing hundreds of vacation homes can be a time-consuming task, this is where talking with a professional vacation management team can help. They know the inventory of houses like the back of their hands and can help pinpoint the exact home that has all off of your “must haves” and plenty of your nice-to-haves. The perfect vacation rental is the right combination of all of the things you need, plus a few extras that will make your vacation comfortable and convenient.

The Price

When it comes down to it, you’ve got to find the vacation home that fits your budget. Being honest about your price range upfront can help you and your vacation planner narrow down the homes that are right for you. Staying in a vacation home eliminates many unnecessary costs that come with a hotel, including having to go out to eat for every meal, parking, resort fees, and more. It’s very possible to find a clean and comfortable vacation home that checks all of the boxes for much less than a hotel.

Ask your vacation planner about the different categories that their homes fall into so that you can get an idea of everything you can expect for the price you’re willing to pay. And if you consider all the money you’ll save just by cooking meals at home, you can already afford to upgrade to that luxury home you’ve had your eye on.

Also, remember that the price of your rental is based on when you’re coming. If you come during peak seasons, expect to pay higher rates. If you can come in slower times like September or October, you can really find some good deals. If possible, being flexible in your travel dates can also help you get the home you want for the price you want.

Let Magical Stays Help You Find Your Perfect Vacation Home

Part of the fun of taking a trip is planning it. Don’t get overwhelmed with all of the options when it comes to picking the perfect vacation rental. Instead, make a list of what you want, and then contact us so we can send over a few suggestions that will work perfectly for you. Picking the perfect rental will be a game-changer in creating priceless family memories that will last a lifetime!