If you’ve never booked a vacation rental before, having relied on travel agents and hospitality liaisons, you might be surprised at how easy it has become to settle into the right property. However, there are a few key questions to keep in mind in order to ensure the experience you have is the one you’ve imagined. We’ve put together a quick summary, based on client inquiries and best practices. All you have to do is follow these guidelines and you are certain to have an amazing stay in the vacation rental of your dreams.
1. Location. Location. Location.
Do you want to be in town, or as far away from other people as possible? Is the property directly on the water or will you need to drive to reach the Atlantic? For that matter, is there a swimmable beach, a dock for your boat, the ocean or a lake nearby? Is there a market in the vicinity for picking up the essentials? The distances of Maine are vast, which is quite possibly, exactly what you are looking for in a vacation home here. But when you arrive you may be surprised by just how far you have to drive to grab a bottle of wine or something for lunch.
2. Checking in
When you arrive at a hotel you know exactly where to go. But vacation houses don’t have a front desk. Which is the appeal, for many individuals. You arrive at a home, warm and well-appointed, drop your bags and can begin to relax and explore. But what does that first moment look like? Will a property manager meet you at the gate or will you be fumbling with keys and a lock box? What equipment is available? Can you use the kayaks in the summer kitchen? Should you pack a hair dryer? Staying in a home can be cozy, but you may need to pack a bit differently. If you are a foodie, you’ll likely ask about the kitchen. Inquire about the cleaning schedule, too. If you’re taking out the trash, you’ll want to know where it goes. If you have these issues settled before your arrival, your vacation starts as soon as you arrive.
3. Traveling with Children and Pets
Old Maine homes do have their quirks. Which is all part of the charm, of course. But if you have small children you will want to know if all the bedrooms are on the same floor, if the stairs are wooden or carpeted, and whether to bring a baby gate. Childproofing is something you may want to consider doing yourself, packing your own cupboard locks and outlet covers. Inquire about pools, water access, and even mud flats. Those suckers can be tricky for a person who weighs 30 pounds! If you’re bringing a beloved pooch you will want to know if there is a fenced in yard, or if there are any restrictions on where your dog may roam within the house and property. Ask if there’s an extra deposit for large breeds and if there’s been a pest service in recently. You want to be certain that all your kids, whether human or fury, are going to be comfortable and safe during your stay away.
4. Who You Gonna Call?
If something goes wrong, if the shower water pressure is just a dribble or the wifi won’t connect, are you calling a maintenance person, property manager, or even the homeowner herself? You hope to have a perfect holiday, away from the stresses and inconveniences of everyday life, but lets’s face it, things do go wrong. You want to be able to settle the issue quickly and without spending any of your time or money on the problem. Knowing the point person is critical. Make sure you have a name and number and a way of contacting him. Which reminds us, make sure your data plan will work where you are staying. Staying beyond the reach of your phone service may sound romantic, but if the ceiling starts leaking in the middle of the night you will want to be able to contact a helpful human person.
5. In the Unfortunate Event of Cancellation
If, at the last minute, you have to cancel your trip, what is the policy for getting back your deposit? Vacation homes have different rules and coverage than hotels and you need to know what to expect if something unexpected arises.
At SummerMaine we strive to make your vacation an ideal experience. We work with you to find your perfect place and ensure that the home you find suits your needs and desires. We have many lovely properties that are rather walkable to little grocers, coffee shops, and restaurants. We can find you a view of the mountains or the sea, farms or marshes or classic New England architecture. You just need to know what you want and what to ask for.