45 Questions to ask before you book vacation rentals
Something was wrong, very wrong. The booking engine wouldn’t work. The cancellation policy was ridiculous, and I wasn’t hearing back from the site owners. Signs were pointing towards a bad experience, and my gut was telling me to pull out quickly.
This is the experience I had when I was booking one of many vacation rentals in Spain last year. I learned a lot of valuable lessons booking that two-week trip through southern Spain with my family, but most importantly, I learned to ask a lot of questions BEFORE I book anything, especially if the cancellation policy is strict. In the end we found the perfect apartment for us at a great price, but not until after a lot of stress and back and forth that could have been avoided.
Here is a list of questions that you should be asking yourself and your rental agent (or owner) before you book your next vacation rental. It is not a be all, end all list, but it will give you an idea of the major points you should have confirmed before you sign on that virtual (or physical) dotted line.
- How many people are allowed to stay in the property?
- Are you charged extra if you go over that number? Sometimes a per person fee is charged if you are over two or four occupants. In Europe, children do count.
- Are there enough beds for everyone in your party?
- What is the bed configuration in each room?
- What is the bathroom configuration (if stated as a 2 bathroom, is one of them outside- this generally happens in beach destinations)?
- What is the cancellation policy?
- Is a deposit required? How much? When will you get it back?
- Are utilities included in the price?
- What isn’t included in the price?
- What extra charges may be added to your bill?
- Is daily housekeeping included in the price?
- Is there an extra cleaning fee or cleaning deposit?
- Are linens included? Do you need to bring your own?
- Are toilet paper and paper towels provided?
- Is hand soap and dish soap provided?
- Are any toiletries available at the property?
- Is there a hair dryer?
- Is there Internet available? Wi-FI?
- Is there a fee for Internet?
- Is there a washer and dryer?
- If not, is there a clothesline?
- Is laundry detergent provided onsite?
- Is there a dishwasher?
- Is dishwasher detergent provided?
- Is there a dish rack?
- Are all silverware, dishware and cooking items available if there is a kitchen?
- Is there a blender/food processor/griddle (or anything else you require) provided for use?
- Are there a microwave and/or toaster?
- Is there a coffee pot and/or tea kettle?
- Is it close to where you want to be? Is it worth spending more to be closer?
- Are restaurants near by? If not, how far away are they?
- Is there a grocery store or market within walking distance?
- If you have kids, is there a playground close by?
- Where is the nearest public transportation?
- Is there parking?
- Is parking included in the price?
- Are there bikes available to use?
- If not, is there a bike rental agency close by (if you plan to bike)?
- If you are traveling with young children, do the bikes have child seats?
- Is there a pool?
- Is there a gate around the pool?
- Are pool items and toys available for use?
- Are pool towels included in the rental?
- Who is your contact? The owner or a rental property management firm?
- If you arrive and there is a problem with the rental, can you cancel your booking and get a full refund?
Want to know where to start your search for a vacation rental? Check out 8 Vacation rental sites to have on your radar and why.
What questions do you ask before you book a rental?