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Vacation Rental Homes: Stay And Play In Style On Your Next Theme Park Vacation

Apr 28, 2008
Vacation rental homes have become an incredibly popular alternative to the traditional hotel room when it comes to theme park vacations. Lodging is usually one of the biggest chunks of a vacation budget and most savvy travelers want to make certain that every dollar is spent wisely. Not only are vacation homes clean and conveniently located next to many major attractions, but they are also very affordable.

Most vacation rental homes offer considerably more living space than you will find in the typical hotel room and are a great value for the budget-conscious. These homes are perfect for large families that need a little more room to spread out or perhaps two families who are traveling together and want to stay under one roof. Most rental homes offer several bedrooms and can sleep up to 12 people, which often makes the cost per person far less than that of a hotel.

Renting a vacation home is not like making a hotel reservation and typically requires signing an agreement and making a security deposit with the vacation property owner. The deposit is usually returned a few days after check-out, assuming that nothing in the home was damaged or taken. This agreement is legally binding and provides more detail than the standard form you might find at a hotel. Make certain that you read and understand the terms of your agreement and are fully aware of all fees and deposits that due before signing the rental agreement so you can avoid any surprises later on.

Vacation rental homes are my number one choice in accommodations when taking a theme park vacation. We buy groceries and save additional money by eating meals at our rental home and by preparing and taking snacks to the park. We all have our own bedrooms and can go to bed at our regular and often different bedtimes. I enjoy that "home away from home" freedom that comes with my rental fee and because I shop around, that rental fee is always less than that of a typical hotel stay. And, yes, I can say "always" because I do a lot of research before I ever spend a dime on a rental deposit.

Although there are several online rental home agencies available, my first step in rental home research always begins with EBAY. There are hundreds of rental properties listed on EBAY and I am never disappointed in the amount of results I find. Keep in mind that this option is best suited for theme park vacations to the larger parks, like Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Busch Gardens Europe, since a lot investors purchase rental properties near major tourist attractions.

Of course, your budget is the first thing to consider when narrowing down your search results. Planning ahead and booking your vacation rental home several weeks or even months ahead of time can save you money as well as give you peace of mind. But if you're making last-minute travel plans, don't worry that you may have missed out on early bird savings because you can often take advantage of great deals on last-minute cancellations.

Vacation rental home booking agencies always have customers that, for whatever reason, have to forfeit their deposit and cancel their reservation at the eleventh hour. They obviously don't want to have an empty rental home for a week so they often offer it up for a discounted price so that it will be rented quickly. They win and you definitely win and come away with a great deal on a rental home that fits your style and budget.

Regardless of your budget, make sure that the home you choose is clean before you arrive, is adequately furnished and features everything that you would use at your own home. Remember that reputable rental companies go above and beyond to provide you not only with great details about themselves but also with pictures and details about the homes that they offer. Here are just the very basics of what the home should supply:

1. A fully equipped kitchen with dishes, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerator and cooking appliances.
2. A washer and dryer.
3. Central heat and air conditioning and all other utilities.
4. Local phone service with emergency numbers by each phone.
5. Cable TV, DVD/VCR player and some even offer free high-speed internet.
6. An ample supply and assortment of towels and bed linens.
7. Safety and security features like locks on all doors, pool alarm, fire extinguishers, etc.
8. Off-street parking.
9. Directions and phone numbers of area groceries and supercenters, entertainment venues and medical facilities

Cleaning fees are usually included in your rental fee if your stay is at least 5 days. This makes the departure easier because you don't have to clean around the clutter or fear you're putting things back in the wrong spot. Rental companies can also supply cribs, high chairs and play pens upon request and some are even pet-friendly. Additional deposits may be required for some of these items so be sure and ask first.

Vacation rental homes can provide a welcome and home-like retreat for those of us who spend most of our days enjoying the hustle and bustle of our favorite theme park. From modest to extravagant, selecting a vacation rental that fits your personal style, accommodation needs and budget can be the beginning of a lasting vacation memory.
About the Author
Kelley Falgout is a theme park enthusiast and publisher of www.FamilyThemeParkVacations.com, a vacation planning tool and continuously growing database of all theme parks, amusement parks and water parks located across the United States.
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