Due Diligence Required to Minimize Vacation Rental Issues –

A hotel stay is often ideal for a getaway, but sometimes you need more space and a more affordable option. Sometimes renting a condo or house is better, especially for an extended stay with a large group of friends or family.

I’ve done both – I’ve booked many vacation rentals for several days to a week using websites such as Vrbo, Airbnb, Vacasa and 360Blue. Most have been problem-free, but not all. While I’ve always had a great time (being optimistic helps), some rentals have had “problems” that I didn’t anticipate that needed to be resolved quickly.

I offer the following suggestions for our readers to hopefully avoid rental issues in hotels and condos upon learning of my misfortunes:

1. Call me an old fogger, but in addition to having reservation information in emails and on phone apps, I like to carry information in old-fashioned print. Yes, I mean paper. Just in case my phone breaks or internet service drops or is spotty, I have confirmation numbers, addresses, door codes, and support contact information in printed form. Make sure you know how to contact support if you have any problems during check-in or during your stay. This is especially important if you are arriving after hours.

My family and I experienced several issues last December at a Destin condo we rented for a week. First the safe with the key to the unit would not open, followed by giant patio furniture placed in the living room and master bedroom as well as the plastic covered patio obscuring the ocean view . After several calls to a customer service rep, we were moved to another property about three miles away. The second property was not as luxurious and after complaining I received a discount of several hundred dollars.

2. Check with the accommodation or website a few days or weeks in advance to make sure everything is ok with your booking. In addition to having paid the fees, make sure you have completed all the documents they sent such as agreement forms, house rules, etc. and that your completed documents have been received.

For a December trip to New York, I discovered by chance that my hotel was still under construction and would not be open when I arrived. This led to a last minute scramble for a rebooking at a higher rate. After complaining, a representative from the original hotel agreed to cover the increase at another hotel that was not part of their brand.

3. Read the information sent to you about property entry times, parking information, house rules, etc., and pay attention to how to secure the gates. Ask questions in advance if the information is unclear.

An unmade bed surprised weekend guests renting this condo unit in New Orleans

While I was recently in New Orleans in a condo with a great scenic view, warnings were posted on the patio and front doors about how to secure the doors. However, someone in my group played with one of the locks and after spending the day exploring New Orleans we were locked out and unable to re-enter the unit. I had to text the support rep, find a safe on a staircase, get a key, and use the key and codes to open the door.4. Upon entering the property, do a quick check of all bedrooms and bathrooms to ensure that everything is in place and in working order. (An apartment I rented had no towels in a bathroom and a bed wasn’t made.) Also check kitchen appliances to determine if there are any issues with kitchen equipment. exploitation. Notify management immediately if anything is wrong and feel free to take pictures of anything that is damaged, not as promised, or cause for concern.

In a trendy new condo in Florida, my husband and I were stymied by several of the new high-end appliances that took us several tries to figure out how to operate. Between the flat-top induction cooker that had a magnetic dial and the pod coffee maker, we were scratching our heads, pressing this and touching that trying to get them to work. Finally, we understood.

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