by Lindsay Bolton, Finger Lakes Premier Properties
Long before the internet and online booking platforms, vacation rentals have been the preferred accommodations for travelers to the Finger Lakes. There are many benefits to booking a rental home, including economic savings, the privacy and solitude of having your own space, and, for most travelers to our area, the lake life experience.
With the growing demand for short term rentals, our region has seen an 30 percent increase in the number of vacation rental listings. So how do you choose the right rental for your next vacation? Follow the tips below:
1. Location, location, location.
The Finger Lakes Region offers countless options for travelers to create their ideal vacation, but in order to avoid spending a majority of your time in the car, traveling from attraction to attraction, choosing a rental near points of interest is key. If you’re planning on unplugging and relaxing in privacy, you’ll want to choose a secluded home without neighbors, so be sure to take a close look at the outdoor photos and description.
2. Know the lay of the land.
Depending on the demographics of your group, you may have specific needs to ensure everyone is comfortable throughout your stay. For example, multigenerational families often request a home with a first-floor bedroom and level lakefront so the grandparents are able to enjoy the vacation as much as the wobbly toddler. Review photos, read the full description, look for the number of stairs to the property and to the lake, and take the virtual tour to walk through the home. If this information isn’t provided in the online listing, ask the owner.
3. It’s all about the amenities.
Unlike hotel rooms, all vacation rentals do not provide the same amenities, especially in the Finger Lakes. To avoid surprises during your getaway, be sure to look for things like WiFi, air conditioning, onsite laundry, and linens. These items should be listed in the amenities. Double-check with the owner if you see a photo with a desired amenity, such as kayak, that isn’t listed. On most sites, you can search by desired amenities, which will help you avoid an overwhelming list of rentals and reduce your planning time.
4. Feel secure with your booking.
We’ve all heard vacation rental horror stories, but there are ways to book with confidence. Read reviews to see how prior guests describe their experience with the homeowner or property manager, and read any responses. Remember that you are staying in a home where an unlikely issue may arise, such as a water heater not working. Make sure you have a clear understanding from the homeowner about how they handle these situations. Do they live nearby, or do they have an on-call person you can reach at any time?
5. Book direct.
There are many advantages to booking direct. First, you can save up to 20 percent by avoiding the listing site’s additional reservation fee. Secondly, this gives you the opportunity to ask all of your questions to ensure the home meets your vacation expectations. Most homeowners and property managers use listing sites for additional exposure, but there are often other ways to connect with them. Look for the section about who owns or manages homes, google them, and reach out.
The key to booking a vacation home is first understanding what your needs and wants are, then finding the rental that meets your expectations. At Finger Lakes Premier Properties, we have a team of vacation planners to guide you through this process and locate the perfect home for your next vacation in the Finger Lakes.