There are plenty of compelling reasons you may want to consider booking accommodations for your next vacation through a home sharing site or rental marketplace such as Airbnb, VRBO or Booking.com rather than making a reservation at a traditional hotel or resort. In many cases, vacation rental sites offer more for your money whether you’re seeking luxury accommodations with plenty of amenities or just need a budget-friendly way to travel. They can also be a wonderful way to explore unusual digs or enjoy an immersive experience in a new culture and surroundings. Need a few assurances before deciding to deviate from making a standard hotel booking? Follow these tips below:
Make sure you’re familiar with the local laws: Not interested in having your vacation derailed by a legal snafu? As you may know, regulations on short-term rentals are cropping up in many cities, so be clear on what they are in the area you’re planning to visit. To quickly check laws pertaining to some of the most popular destinations in the U.S., check under “Your City’s Regulations” at the Airbnb website here. Curious which cities have the toughest restrictions on home-sharing sites in the U.S. and elsewhere? Take a look at “8 Cities Cracking Down on Airbnb” from Conde Naste Traveler.
Time it right: If you’re lucky enough to have some flexibility on when you travel, you can benefit by vacationing outside of the peak season. Like your typical hotel accommodations, peer-to-peer property rentals get pricier during the height of the summer. You may realize substantial savings by booking your trip for early June or after mid-August when many fall school sessions start.
Look for lots of photos: You’re much less likely to be bamboozled on a rental by narrowing your choices to only those listings that offer plenty of high-resolution photos of the property. If you’re scouring sites to find a large house that will accommodate your extended family, you’ll want to see a number of photos that show various areas of the home, or in some cases, allow you to take a digital tour. See a rental that seems interesting but displays too few photos to tell for sure? You may want to ask the owner to send you more.
Don’t overlook reviews: For genuine insight on a rental, don’t skip the reviews. They can help you avoid surprises and only other guests can give you a true account of what the experience could be like. As is the case with photos, it’s generally best to zero in in on those properties that have multiple reviews in order to make the best assessment of which might fit your preferences and needs.
Exercise caution with payments: In most cases, it’s advisable to use a credit card to pay for your stay since they can provide certain legal protections and make it easier to recover your money if there’s a problem with your rental agreement. Avoid paying an upfront cash deposit, wiring money or sending a money order or cashier’s check through the mail.
Check into payment protections: Also keep in mind that many rental marketplaces provide their own payment protections that can go a long way toward your peace of mind. For instance, FlipKey offers TripAdvisor Payment Protection up to $10,000 in the U.S. under if you book your stay using their payment platform.
Ready to give the hospitality marketplace a try but not sure which site makes the most sense for you? Check out “Nine Airbnb Competitors That You Should Know About” from Tripping.com.
Also while you’re thinking about a summer getaway, it’s a great time to register your SFPCU Platinum Visa at CURewards.com to become eligible to win an all-expense paid trip to Chicago for a shopping spree of a lifetime! Once you’ve registered, use your SFPCU Platinum Visa between June 2 and September 9, 2018, to make three purchases in a week, and you’ll be entered into the sweepstakes. What’s more, you’ll get an additional entry each week you use your rewards card three or more times during the sweepstakes’ period. Find complete rules and eligibility requirements here.
Don’t have your SFPCU Platinum Visa yet? Apply today by completing our online application, visiting one of our branches or calling us at 800.222.1391 to speak with an SFPCU Member Solution Specialist.