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The latest Time Warner Cable News travel report offers some tips on what to look for, and when to book, a vacation house. Our Valarie D'Elia filed the following report.
If your summer travel plans include renting out a vacation home, then you better hop to it.
"Obviously, I think the weather has been colder this year, so people are looking forward to getting away for the summer and thinking about the weather, so we're seeing strong activity in areas like Cape May, the Hamptons, as well as upstate, Catskills, the Adirondacks, and then into New England and down the coast as well," says Eric Horndahl, vice president of marketing at flipkey.com.
Flip Key, an online vacation rental marketplace that is part of Trip Advisor, is also seeing increased bookings in beachy markets such as Hilton Head, the North Carolina coast and the Jersey shore.
Other online resources for renting or listing vacation homes include Home Away and VRBO, Vacation Rental By Owner.
Consider your timing, price range, location and what amenities you require, such as a pool or a gourmet kitchen. Pay attention to online reviews to make sure they actually come from past guests and are not planted.
The same thing goes with photos. They should be authentic representations of the property. Call the homeowner for specifics. Is it pet-friendly? Does it include towels and linens? And what about deposits, payment and cancellation policies?
A safe bet is to go with credit card payments that are handled securely through the booking site. To save money, avoid booking in the peak season of July and August. Consider booking around it, in the so-called shoulder season period.
Finally, online vacation rental sites have varying policies on fees for listing a property, those levied on owners when a place is rented, or fees built into the rent charged to the traveler. Always check the terms and conditions of the site first.