Tips for picking the perfect vacation rental
The goal of Abalone Bay is to make your stay with us as pleasant and enjoyable as we possibly can. We continue to improve our home and hope the vacationers with whom we share it are comfortable and pleased with its changes. We also look forward to your reviews and suggestions on making it even better for your next visit.
But how can you be sure that when you book with Abalone Bay or any other vacation rental home, you will have the delightful time you envisioned when first planning for your trip? Listed below are hints that we as vacation home renters ourselves and others have used to make sure the selection of home to be used for your vacation meets all your expectations.
1. Order your vacation rental priorities
“Location, location, location,” were the words given to us when we purchased our home. And what could be better than having an oceanfront house- so we said “Sold!” to the agent and are thrilled to be sharing Abalone Bay with you.
However, another point to consider is purpose, purpose, purpose for your vacation rental home. What will your purpose be for staying at The Sea Ranch, what are your priorities for your vacation?
To make sure your vacation meets all your dreams create a short list of possibilities, desires, and non-negotiables. Most rental websites let you sort listings by location, price, number of bedrooms, pet friendliness, and other features. Must your rented home be wheelchair accessible? Will you need an internet connection and if so how fast; or are you attempting to flee from your phones, laptops and other electronic toys while you get your zen on? Will you be bringing your dog with you, or if you are not a dog person, can you stay in a home that welcomes pets? Will you be doing quiet activities, such as reading a book, enjoying a glass of wine at sunset? Or will you be needing to keep up with the latest sports event on a large screen TV and go diving for that elusive 10-inch abalone?
For our first foray into renting at The Sea Ranch we debated, do we rent on the ocean at a higher rate per night, but not be able to include all of our family gathering for a reunion and wedding for lack of space, or do we choose up into the redwoods for a reduced rate where we could have more of our family gather with us? While we enjoyed the vacation with everyone together under one roof, I longed for what we came to Sea Ranch – to take in the wonderful coastline that is Sonoma County. If it is the ocean you crave, but it is the meadows or redwoods that you can manage, then do make certain you include in your itinerary opportunities to visit and view the coastline. Public beach access is available in many locations at Sea Ranch. The bluff trails will guide you along the way to fabulous vistas whether of redwoods or coastline.
2. Read the vacation rental reviews
Reading the reviews is a must when determining your selection of a vacation rental. As Abalone Bay is a new listing, of course, you will not find many reviews as yet. But we hope that with you choosing to rent our home you will quickly fix that! For those homes that have been reviewed, make sure you carefully read every one for the home you are considering. Prior guests will give you the best indication of what the home and surrounding area are really like. When possible contact the prior guest to ask further questions. But be aware that many online rentals may not have any reviews, while others may be suspiciously glowing (owners on the popular site VRBO.com, for example, can delete negative postings).
Google is another way to determine the real condition of the home by using the specific name of the vacation rental or owner’s name and keywords “complaints,” “fraud” and “scam.”
3. Research, research, research some more
I just love to research and love to show others how its done.. probably explains why I have my doctorate in education. Use Google maps to give you a better indication of what the home looks like, its surrounding neighbors and neighborhood, as well as any possible annoyances that may disrupt your holiday.
Simply put in the search bar the actual address of the home you are considering. If you do not have the address then use the home’s name and general location, as in our case, “The Sea Ranch, Abalone Bay, Vacation Rental, “
Also, research the days available. While we pride ourself in maintaining a current calendar for its properties other agencies and owners’ calendars aren’t always current, so double-check with the agency or owner.
4. Look closely at ALL the photos – official and of guests
The goal of all advertising photos of any product is to invoke your desire to select the product, in this case, a vacation rental home. Of course owners, like us, want to put their property’s prettiest face out there for you. But we recommend you also be aware of the various tricks of the trade such as pulled window shades to hide an unsightly view outside or fish-eye lenses designed to make rooms bigger. Be concerned if you see more close up photos of the flower, trees, ocean views, bookcases, blankets, bottles of wine, but not enough of the full yard or house and other amenities showing what a weekend in your selected house could truly be like. I much prefer the photos of previous guests who have the first-hand experience with staying in the house. Guest photos will more often capture the good, the bad and yes, even the ugly.
I encourage you to inspect closely our photos too! We have posted recent photos of our vacation rental Abalone Bay. We also post photos on our Abalone Bay Pinterest account, and our Abalone Bay Collection of photos on Flickr . Photos of our home can also be seen on our Beach Rental listing portal. Once we have received delivery of the final pieces of furniture that will complete our living room we well have Abalone Bay photographed professionally. Please closely inspect those photos of our beautiful Abalone Bay home and hopefully, you will be enticed to consider it as your next vacation rental. We will be very specific that those future photos provide you with honest and realistic views our home as well as provide you that enticing vision of what your dream vacation could be it at Abalone Bay.
5. Check vacation rental booking site’s policies
Condé Nast suggests: Before you book any rental, make sure that the site’s policy is comprehensive and addresses at least these three potential pitfalls: the host canceling a reservation less than 24 hours prior to the stay or failing to provide access to the property; the rental’s size, amenities, or location differing from the description; or the accommodations proving unclean.
6. Ask about specials or reduce rates
Be sure to ask about any possible offseason or other possible discounts available (e.g. for longer stays, return customers). There may be some room for some negotiation with the owners. For instance, Beach Rentals offers frequent discounts for extended stays and discounts during the offseason.
7. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Of course, if there are serious issues or complaints you must speak up immediately to have those resolved. As a concerned owner, we want to know that Abalone Bay is meeting your expectations and contractual obligations. But as with anything, there are always those little surprises, glitches that will certainly not cause the end of the world and the failure of the sun to rise the next day. Rather they will be the stuff of stories that recall your adventures and how you were able to roll with the punches to have one of the best times of your life.
Do you have other suggestions or tips that you have discovered along the way while renting a vacation home? If so please add them to our list!