Back in July, you may remember that I posted about how to save money on vacation by renting a vacation home.  Since then, my family traveled on vacation to North Conway, NH, and decided to rent a vacation home so that we’d have more space and more options.

The home we rented was expensive, but based on the photos and description, it seemed worth it.  We had to pay a cleaning fee, and a deposit, but that’s relatively standard.  However, once we arrived at the home, we discovered there were several questions we should have asked.  So, learn from our experience, and make sure you ask these questions, even if you feel that you will be annoying or overly persistant.

  • The vacation home was advertised as having access to a community pool.  Access to the pool required a security code that we didn’t actually find until the day we were leaving (a kind family let us in when they saw us standing there with two kids in swimsuits).  Once we got to the pool, it was ICE cold.  Freezing.  Lesson: Ask if there are any key codes required for any advertised amenities, and ask if the pool is heated.
  • This was a three bedroom condo, but one “bedroom” was a twin bed and a set of bunk beds in a hallway by the staircase (not safe for little kids, because there was no walls – just two wooden bars that kids could easily slip through), and another bedroom was in the too-damp-for-humans-to-sleep basement.  My husband and I were not too pleased to sleep in the hallway on twin beds.  Lesson: Ask about the room configurations.
  • There were no toiletries – not even hand soap – in any of the rooms.  Lesson: Ask what toiletries are included.

After these experiences, and a few other things that I think would be hard to prevent, like college neighbors partying all night and filthy carpets, I’m a little apprehensive about renting a vacation home again.  Next time, I’ll be sure to ask friends for recommendations, and ask lots of questions before I rent.