When booking a vacation, one of the first questions you ask will inevitably be: where will we stay? ? Renting vacation rental homes such as Airbnb for your overseas trip has increasingly been the preferred option for various reasons such as affordability, availability of amenities such as kitchen and washing machines especially for longer trips, and convenience to popular touristy spots. However, we've all heard the horror stories from customers when it comes to renting private accommodations for their stays, which might make you rethink before hitting that confirmation button ? Don't worry, you can make your vacation fun and safe with these helpful tips!
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1. Read reviews from previous guests
This is arguably the most important step you can't miss out as you begin the search of your accommodation! Guest reviews are able to give you a more complete picture of the property, the host and the entire experience of their stay as it's authentic ? It goes without saying that the more positive the reviews and ratings are, you can be rest assured that your stay will be the same nonetheless. However, don't simply brush off those negative ones too soon - read through all the reviews with an open mind so that you'll be able to assess the best accommodation option suited to your needs ?
2. Do a thorough research of your potential vacation rental
Credit: Eve on Airbnb
So you've already chosen a few options; the next step to find THE one ? Here's where you delve deep with research and see if any of these accommodations matches your needs. Here are some questions to guide you on your research:
- Is it located in a safe neighbourhood?
- Is it accessible via transport?
- How far is it away from tourist attractions?
- Are there any nearby convenience stores, supermarkets, or halal food options?
- Is it convenient to reach the accommodation? (i.e. lots of walking, high steps that may not be friendly to elderly, if you're travel with them)
- What's the distance between the nearest airport, hospital, police station and your accommodation?
- Does it contain important amenities that you need such as kitchen, washing machine, and others? (i.e. especially useful if you're staying for more than a week)
3. Read the fine print, especially when it comes to payment issues
Think of a vacation rental contract the same way you would any of your bills; there are going to be additional fees, and you need to find out what they are ? It could be cleaning surcharges that the host might charge should you not follow certain instructions on what to do with the garbage for instance, or extra room charges if you do not return a key card - the thought of a high credit card bill waiting for you back home is certainly not anyone's ideal welcome back from vacation ?
Most importantly, check out the cancellation policies listed out by the vacation rental platform. The pandemic is a reminder that we should be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances as much as possible. For instance, vacation rentals offered in Airbnb have different cancellation policies; some might result in you having to forfeit all accommodation fees if you do not cancel within 30 days prior to your check-in! So the moral of the story is: READ ?
4. Do a safety check of your accommodation
We know it's been a long flight, but right before you start unpacking everything into your rental - do a safety check to spot anything fishy. Search for slip-and-fall hazards, non-functioning locks, hidden cameras - once you're sure everything's in place, go ahead and take your well-deserved rest ? Remember, trust your instincts; if you don't feel safe, ring up your host, or head to the police station for severe issues!
5. Keep in contact with your host
Ideally, your host and you should remain in contact from booking to checkout to ensure that you have everything you need. Good communication is key and it helps settle any issues you face swiftly. Don't be afraid to voice any concerns you have to your host - ultimately they want you to have a good stay (and a good review from you too! ?).
6. It helps to bring some safety essentials
It doesn't hurt anyone if you do take extra caution when it comes to your accommodation. You should bring some safety essentials to ensure your safety isn't compromised at all. Some examples would be first aid kits, extra locks if you're leaving alone, smoke detectors in case there's a fire and others ?
7. Keep your belongings safe when you're out
We know you wouldn't want to lug around your luggage while you're out exploring your destination, but don't simply leave it unopened in your vacation rental. Ultimately, this is someone else's place, not your own house, so don't throw caution to the wind ? Here's some tips we would suggest:
- Lock your luggages with either a lock-key system or a pin code.
- Don't leave valuable belongings such as your passport, wallet, credit card, cash, keys, lying around. Bring it with you.
8. Let your loved ones know about your location
If you're travelling alone, turn on your phone tracking to let your loved ones be kept in the loop of your whereabouts. Inform them key details about your accommodation such as its address and the host's contact ?
Your choice of accommodation can make or break your vacation, so remember to choose wisely! Who doesn't want a safe and fun vacation? ?
P.S. Looking for more travel tips? We got you covered below!
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- 10 Tips For Rusty Travellers Who Haven’t Travelled Overseas In A While
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- 6 Useful Tips To Travel Internationally With Kids