If you are planning to stay in a vacation home this summer, follow a few basic vacation home rules – some are written, others not.
A new study of European Assistance and its subsidiary Generali Global Assistance concludes that vacation rentals are the best choice for most travelers. The research found 78% of travelers prefer hotel rentals and will continue to do so after the pandemic. Nearly 9 out of 10 people (86%) said they would reserve a rental for the next 18 months.
Why? Holiday homes are more private and are believed to be safer than traditional hotel stays.
But there is a catch: Vacation rentals are not hotels. They are home, and each has its own holiday home rules. You can read some of them in the guest folder in your rental. Others you just need to know.
I talk to vacation renters almost every day through my nonprofit consumer business site. But as a full-time digital nomad, I also deal with many vacation rentals. And I can tell you that for every written holiday house rule there is an unwritten one. The published rules cover everything from the maximum number of guests to pets. The unwritten ones cover facilities, courtesy and timeliness – among many other things.
You want to know both before you go on a vacation rental this summer.
Here are the holiday home rules you need to know
“When booking, travelers must accept the host policies and policies, which include cancellation policy, damage policy and house policy,” explains Alison Kwong, a spokeswoman for HomeAway. “House rules help hosts avoid surprises during their stay and can protect the cottage.”
When you rent a home, the house rules appear on the listing page, and the owner may send you more detailed holiday house rules once you have booked. Typically, they will also be in the guest folder when you arrive.
Here are the topics that are most often found in the house rules
Maximum overnight guests: Hosts can indicate the total number of guests allowed to sleep in the holiday home.
Minimum age requirements: Owners can specify whether the primary tenant must meet a certain age requirement.
Events: Not all hosts allow family gatherings, gatherings or parties, although some participants in the events do not stay overnight.
Pet: One of the top 10 search filters on HomeAway is for pets. Hosts can indicate whether they allow pets, how many, what types and any size restrictions.
Are you not sure about the written holiday house rules? Ask your host Before you book the property to avoid misunderstandings or extras vacation rental fees.
There are also unwritten holiday house rules
Many rules are not written anywhere and they may not be the easiest to figure out. What do you do, for example. With your used bedding when you check out?
“Here’s a pro tip,” says Zander Buteux, head of organic growth at VacationRenter. “Although there are no specific payment instructions in the welcome folder if there is a laundry room present, it is polite to leave all your dirty towels either in the washing machine or stacked in a pile nearby.”
What about your dishes? If your rental comes with a dishwasher, run all your dirty dishes before you leave it, and then let the host know when you check out.
“Bonus rental guest points,” Buteux says.
It is meant figuratively and literally. Some rental platforms allow owners to rate guests. I discovered this when I had a little misunderstanding with an Airbnb host about a house key. I fixed it quickly, but I also learned that hosts could talk you into behaving incorrectly. And it may affect your ability to rent from one of these platforms in the future.
Be on time
A holiday rental is not a hotel where the reception is staffed 24 hours a day. Often the owners live nearby and need to take steps to let you into the property. Owners say you should try to be on time for check-in and especially to check out.
“Sometimes we only have six hours to hand over the property,” explains Justin Marino, who owns one sustainable product business in Alexandria, Va., and is also an Airbnb host. “To do this, we have a tight schedule with our cleaning staff and have to get all the laundry done and make the place sparkle. If a guest checks out late, it makes it harder to get everything done for the next guest. You do not want a cleaning staff to be rushed to clean a place for your stay, so it is definitely something to think about. “
Bring these essential holiday homes
Vacation rentals do not always come with everything you need. For example, owners routinely lock the toilet plunger in a pantry where you can not get to it. This means that if you have a plumbing problem for a weekend, go to the nearest hardware store to fix it yourself.
“Assume you can not reach the rental office for help on a vacation,” advises frequent vacation rental guest and customer service expert Chip Bell. His emergency kit includes not only a plunger but a wrench, extra candles and a flashlight. Holiday rental insiders also say that you need a sharp knife for cooking because for some reason every knife in a holiday rental is boring as a dishwasher. I can vouch for that.
Take before and after photos of the rent
“Don’t be blamed for something that was already broken or non-functional when you arrived,” says frequent tenant Brett Sorge.
He always takes pictures of his rental as soon as he enters. Every room, every appliance, every table, chair and sofa. And so the same before departure.
“Also call the rental agent as soon as you arrive if something is wrong,” he adds. “They can try to fix it and unfortunately probably already knew it was broken.”
This is one of the most important holiday house rules and I have learned it the hard way. Unfortunately, a host accused me a few years ago of pre-existing injury and I could not prove my innocence. When it comes to vacation rentals, you are guilty until proven guilty.
Make friends with the owner or manager
Get to know the holiday rental owner before your visit and keep a communication line open. It’s advice from Darcy Vierow, who publishes a travel planning site. “Create and maintain good communication with the owner of your holiday rental from the day you book your trip until the moment you check out at the end of your holiday,” she says. “That way, if something goes wrong – no matter what the cause – you have already built a relationship that will go a long way toward smoothing out any bad feelings should problems arise.”
It’s not something personal. Owners are usually wary of new guests, probably due to the behavior of previous guests. I have received all sorts of interesting questions from hosts. “What is the purpose of your visit?” is probably the top question. Translation: “Are you planning high parties?” Also, “How many residents will be in the rent?” Translation: “Are you planning high parties?”
I understand it. Renters are … well, tenants. But Vierow is right, putting a name on your face and being kind can take you far when something goes wrong.
Most holiday homes do not allow parties. But how do they know you’re having a party? Because they listen. Services like Alertify, Minut and Partysquasher can keep track of noise levels and residents without violating your privacy. Vacation homeowners swear by these services.
“We implement noise monitoring to ensure that our guests are able to respect the households in the community that they visit,” said Emir Dukic, CEO of Rabbu, a rental asset management company. “We’ve found that it makes all the difference. It’s important that we care about the people around us, and the kinds of guests we like to host are the ones who happily prioritize it. Noise monitoring helps us putting in place necessary guidelines so that we can help our guests be the kind of considerate, welcoming and discreet neighbors they want to be during their stay. “
Do not forget your manners
It’s the best idea from vacation rental managers. Some guests just forget to pack their good manners. It’s an easy mistake to make, but it can really upset your owner.
“Guests need to be pleasant and attentive listeners so they understand that they are, well, guests,” says Jim Prugh, owner of a vacation rental company in Lindsborg, Kansas. “Pick up after yourself, let us know if anything is accidentally broken, take the trash can to the bin and do not leave it in the holiday rental.”
You will probably not find this in your guest directory. How do you even ask someone to be an attentive listener? This is something your parents should have taught you. And pick yourself up? There you can also thank your father and mother for teaching you (or not). But ordinary courtesy takes you far when you rent a cottage.
And here’s the thing: if for some reason something goes wrong – let’s say one of your children breaks a vase in the living room – you can bet the owner will be far more understandable when you use your ” please “and” thank-thank you “. “
Have a good stay
Vacation rentals are a great way to experience your destination as a local. But keep in mind that many of the house rules are not written on paper. These pro-tips, a little courtesy and common sense will help you figure out the rest.
Of course, this presupposes that you can find a holiday home this summer. Many destinations are already sold out, so you may have to wait until later in the year to put these pro-tips into practice.