Understanding the Vacation Rental Experience
Generally speaking, most vacation homes are privately owned by people just like you. They may be managed by a professional property management company, or they could be maintained by the owners themselves. Either way, it is very likely that you will find a vacation home to have more character and individuality than your typical hotel room. While some home owners choose to select pre-grouped furniture packages, many others like to add a little (or sometimes a lot) of their own personal flair to the decor and contents of the home. Don’t go into the visit expecting everything to be institutional or clinical – embrace the uniqueness of your temporary home! Take your time when choosing a vacation home, and find one that matches your taste and style! On the same note – you are staying in someone’s home. Be as respectful to their property as you would expect your own guests to be when they visit you.
Another difference to plan for during your vacation home stay… the self-catering experience! Self-catering means that you are provided with a sampler/starter pack of necessary supplies such as shampoos and dish soaps. If you are planning a lengthy stay, you should expect to buy these items on your own when your starter supply runs out, and you may find yourself running a load of laundry for freshly cleaned towels at some point. These are not necessarily drawbacks – especially if you are brand-loyal or if you have allergies or sensitivities. Daily housekeeping service is also not the standard for a vacation rental stay, but you can usually arrange mid-stay cleans if need be. You should expect on-call maintenance and emergency service to be provided by your vacation home host – as well as some sort of concierge/local recommendations service, but view your stay as “vacationing like you live here”, and take advantage of being a temporary local! In other words, it isn’t entirely necessary to call emergency maintenance if a living room light bulb went dead at 3AM on Christmas morning. Even when after-hours help is warranted, do remember that these crews are probably not a block away with all helpful gear to solve your problems. They may have to rouse from bed, get in uniform, gather equipment and work their way to your location. Chances are – they are still more prompt than your residential services tend to be, so please employ patience and understanding!
Your vacation home will likely be located in a nice residential subdivision, alongside people who genuinely do live there year-round. Some may be more friendly than others. Additionally, some may have dogs, or there may be daily residential goings-on (garbage collection, traffic, construction, lawn maintenance. People do live here, too… but you can use this to your advantage as well! Chances are, you’ll stumble upon some wonderful hidden gems in your immediate community… those places that the locals go to when they want to avoid the hustle and bustle of the tourist districts. Whether you’re grabbing items from the local market to prepare a meal at your home, or indulging in a sit-down dinner service, partake in the local flavors of your area, and delve into the unique culture of the destination. Remember, those touristy hot spots are not only maximizing the price tag, but they also try to keep their large streams of guests flowing swiftly (packing them in elbow to elbow, while rushing the experience). You have a kitchen at your vacation home, and probably a grill, nice deck, etc. In many cases, you can even hire a personal chef to handle meal prep and service for around the same cost of dining out. Don’t overlook the advantage of comfort, convenience, privacy, and space afforded by your vacation home!
A vacation home visit is undeniably more accommodating than a standard hotel stay. This option affords you the opportunity to have a truly unique experience with an enhanced perspective that is sure to be much richer than visitors who remain pinned into a rigid tourist routine of maximum spending with minimal options and a limited experience! You may be surprised at the cost and overall value of this approach. (Additionally, you’d be amazed to discover that vacation home ownership is more affordable than you may believe, too!)