Taking the Kids: Smarts for vacation rentals for holidays
We learned the hard way that it’s important to ask a lot of questions about the location. We never considered, for example, that the trails to the ski-in, ski-out house we booked in Park City would be too difficult for the youngest skiers in the group, necessitating a roundabout way to get to the base and back to the house each day.
And if you are sharing with another family or relatives, make sure you are all on the same page. Are you willing to share bathrooms? How important is a gourmet kitchen? A hot tub and pool? Is the place suitable for young children or those with mobility issues? Can you walk to the slopes or the beach? Is the location a reasonable distance from everyone’s home?
The good news is there are also more options than ever to book. Airbnb now offers vacation experiences hosted by locals — everything from cooking to bike tours to birding and private pottery classes. VacayMyWay, a new vacation rental booking website, eliminates guest service fees. Set sail with a private boat charter with Click&Boat, which connects boat owners with travelers. Guests can also opt for added amenities, such as an onboard chef, captain, deckhands and more. Rvshare.com offers the same service connecting RV owners to those who want to rent.
But whether you are considering a rental in Paris or Rome, or near your in-laws’ house, beware of scams by booking with a credible booking site that includes high-quality photography or even 3-D tours as Vacasa does. “ Find out what your vacation rental includes before you arrive, either through the listing description or contact the host and/or manager,” advised Viner. Is their soap and laundry detergent? Roasting pan for your holiday turkey? Griddle for pancakes? Enough plates and silverware? A high chair and crib, if you need one?
Make an itemized list of what you will need and send to the host or property manager. Reviews can let you know about how the home is stocked and amenities guests particularly enjoyed, as well as what disappointed them.
And for last-minute bookings: Seek out recently listed rentals that likely will have better availability and pricing.
Happy holiday travel!
(For more Taking the Kids, visit www.takingthekids.com and also follow TakingTheKids on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram where Eileen Ogintz welcomes your questions and comments. The Kid’s Guide to Philadelphia and The Kid’s Guide to Camping are the latest in a series of 14 books for kid travelers published by Eileen.)
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