Book Vacation Rentals Directly – Part 3 of a 3-Part series
We at Abalone Bay want to help you save money and to book vacation rentals safely whether you stay with us or others. We have prepared a three-part series on how to do that.
In our second blog post of the series you learned you save money – and lots of it – when you book vacation rentals directly with the owner or property management company. You now know you’ll avoid guest service fees of the Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) like HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb when you book directly with owners. We also provided you recommendations for vacation rental owners and their properties with whom you can book directly.
Next Steps to Book Vacation Rentals Directly
So now you’ve done your comparison shopping, found your perfect vacation rental property, connected with the owner or property manager, checked the reviews, and had a personal conversation with the owner or manager.
It’s time to book it and save money.
But how you pay is as important as how you find your property.
Read on in this, our third and last post in a series to safely book vacation rentals online.
Book it Dano – Safely!
It is good practice when you book vacation rentals or do any other online sales transaction to follow these steps to ensure it’s completed safely.
Safeguard Online Payments to Book Vacation Rentals
Get the full address
Get the full address of the property and find it on Google maps to check its location and legitimacy if it is not already listed on their website.
- Do not reply to any unsolicited emails
Do not reply to any unsolicited emails from companies you do not recognize. When contacting the owner be sure to list their email on your contacts so it isn’t sent to spam and you can confirm it when you see it in your inbox.
Pay using your credit card.
Credit card companies offer the most financial protection against fraud or wrongful charges, limiting your liability and even crediting back your account while your case is under investigation.
Double check you have all your travel details
Double check you have all your travel details confirmed (dates, itinerary, number of guests, pets) before paying. Otherwise, you may be charged/fined for amendments or not meeting the terms of your contract.
Obtain a detailed contract
Make sure your contract explicitly sets out terms and conditions of the rental, deposits, payment terms, housecleaning, etc. prior to paying via credit card.
Take out adequate travel insurance
Purchase adequate travel insurance that will cover arrival to your destination, activities while there and any accidental damage to the vacation rental. Owners often offer such insurance.
Ensure the payment link is secure
Before entering payment card information on any website make sure the website is secure. Use these three ways to verify:
(a.) look for a padlock symbol in the browser window frame and not on the page itself which would indicate a fraudulent site.
(b.) The web address should begin with ‘https://…’ The ‘s’ stands for secure.
(c.) If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
If the owner redirects you to a third-party payment service
Also, double check that the third-party payment service used (e.g., WorldPay) is a secure site before you make your payment.
NEVER transfer the money directly into the owner’s bank account
When making a payment to an individual use a secure payment site such as PayPal that transfers funds between two electronic accounts.
Always log out of any site you use
Closing your browser does not ensure your privacy on the web. It’s wisest to explicitly “log out” of a system when you’ve completed your communication or payment transactions. You can log out using a site’s log–out option provided by a site’s application or by the system, or by shutting down the computer or closing an application.
Keep your receipts
Make sure you have your receipts for all online transactions including bookings and payments. It may be best to make a printed copy. You can also make a screenshot.
Check credit card and bank statements carefully
After booking double check your credit card and bank statements to ensure the correct amount has been posted. It also ensures no fraud has occurred.
Double check your social media privacy
Revisit your social media privacy settings. Look to make sure they are in place before you post your travel plans. Remember if your settings are public then anyone may learn of your trip’s details on your personal social networking and travel tracking sites. This also includes your social media’s phone apps.
Keep your computer’s antivirus/antispyware software updated
And don’t forget to keep your firewall running at all times before you do any online transactions.
Do you have any special tips and recommendations to book vacation rentals safely to save money? Let us know what you do in the comments below.
And don’t forget to share these tips in this three post series with your friends and family!