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Ask An Expert: How To Find A Vacation Rental Home

Vacation Rental Home (credit: Randy Yagi)

The summer travel season is in full gear, and many Americans are in the midst of planning their next vacation. But instead of staying in a hotel with limited space, more families are opting to stay in a vacation rental for a number of reasons, including a more affordable rate versus a hotel, better amenities and considerably more space. What must people know about finding the perfect rental? Freelance travel expert Lyn Mettler of Go to Travel Gal shared a few valuable tips to consider before deciding upon what could make for an extraordinary trip with the entire family.

Lyn Mettler

Lyn Mettler is a freelance travel writer based in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has extensive experience in the travel industry and has appeared on a variety of national and local publications, including US News and World Report, USA Today and Executive Traveler. More information about Lyn you can visit her travel site Go to Travel Gal.

What Should People Know Before Signing A Vacation Rental Contract?

"Be sure you are clear on any fees that will be charged by the vacation rental company. Some surprise fees might include those for parking, Internet access, cleaning or for additional keys."

House Key (credit: Randy Yagi)

How About Getting The Keys?

"My family also enjoys the vacation rentals that offer keyless entry. That way if you arrive late, there's no worry about where and when you will pick up your key to check in. It also seems more secure since the passcode can be changed with each guest."

Microwave Oven in Kitchen (credit: Randy Yagi)

What Do Vacation Rentals Have That Hotels Don't?

"Vacation rentals, such as Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head, are a great option for families, because they often come with a washer/dryer, which makes packing so much easier and allows for clean swimsuits when you are at the beach. What's more, Palmetto Dunes was recently named one of the Top 25 World's Best Family Resorts. Kitchens are also helpful and a money-saver because you can bring your own snacks, lunch and breakfast items."

What Are Other Advantages Of Renting A Vacation Home?

"We appreciate having the room to spread out in a vacation rental that you don't get in a hotel room. The kids can watch their favorite show in their bedroom, while Mom and Dad read in theirs and then everyone can gather together in the main room for a game, lunch or other family activity."

Breakfast (credit: Randy Yagi)

What Are Other Ways To Save On A Vacation Rental?

"Check with your vacation rental company before arrival to see if there is a local grocery service that will stock your refrigerator and pantry for you before you arrive. This is a great perk and a wonderful way to start off your vacation besides dragging everyone down the grocery aisle when they'd rather be at the beach!"

A vacation rental may be a nice change of pace for you and your family this vacation season. With the added perks of being able to cook your own food, as well as the ability to spread out and have your own space throughout the home, families may just have a new experience to fondly remember this summer. So take a moment to consider renting a vacation property and switch things up as you prepare for your family time together.

Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on


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