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How to Choose Your Vacation Rental

Pauline Kenny

It isn't easy to select a vacation rental from all that are available. Usually the only information you have is in the description and pictures on the web site or in the catalog.

Look carefully at the photos for the listing. They will tell you a lot about the place. Read the description carefully. If your questions are not answered there, ask the owner or agency. Ask questions, look at pictures, read about the area, talk to other people who have used the agency or stayed in the place you are considering.

Use the Slow Travel web site to do your search! In the Vacation Rentals sections we have reviews of places people have stayed. Make a short list of places and then post your short list on the message board to get input from other Slow Travelers.

The Slow Travel Worksheet

Use our worksheet below to decide what type of place you are looking for. Then compare what you need with each place you are considering. I make out one of these worksheets for each place on my short list, to get an idea of how to compare them.

Once you have completed a worksheet for each vacation rental on your short list, you know enough to make a good, informed choice.

Try not to get irrationally "married" to a place; this can lead to disappointment (believe me, I know). Then book it and start planning the rest of your trip.

Printable version of worksheet: This opens in a new browser window. Just print the work sheet from the browser (File - Print), then close the window.

Slow Travel work sheet for finding your vacation rental

Check YES if you must have this feature, NO if this is something you don't want, and MAYBE if it does not matter one way or the other. The last column is for the vacation rental you are shortlisting.

Dates needed:
Agency:
Listing:
Location
Where do you want to be?  
Type of place YES NO MAYBE  
Apartment or house in a city        
Apartment or house in a town or village        
Apartment or house on an estate or farm        
Independent house in the countryside        
Historic building        
Size NEED  
Number of people to sleep    
Number of bedrooms    
Number of bathrooms    
Square foot size of house/apartment    

Situation

YES NO MAYBE  
Quiet        
Private        
Able to walk to a nearby village        
In an area where you can go walking        
Close to a town for shopping        
Amenities YES NO MAYBE  
Pool        
Telephone        
TV        
Air conditioning (for summer months)        
Screens on windows        
Heating available (for non-summer months)        
Fireplace        
Furnishings

YES

NO MAYBE  
Enough furniture for your group        
Good quality furnishings        
Good lighting        
Large bed        
Shower        
Bathtub        
Full kitchen        
Washing machine        
Other things YES NO MAYBE  
Limited amount of stairs (if you have mobility problems)        
Outdoor sitting area        

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