Many travelers prefer to stay in a home rather than a hotel and it has a number of advantages, including the reduced costs of cooking at home, multiple bedrooms in a single area, a central place for larger groups to meet, and more. One of the most popular reasons for renting a home rather than a hotel is the ease of ‘living like a local’.
This type of travel comes in a couple of forms:
- Renting someone’s second or vacation home
- Home swapping or home exchange
Travel insurance plans provide coverage for the risks associated with destinations, including hotels, inns, and even homes and apartments. The key for the traveler is providing assurance to the travel insurance company that there is a rental agreement. With a hotel reservation, you have a printed document (usually sent to you via e-mail) that proves you made and paid for the reservation. It’s the same with any home or apartment reservation.
Coverage (depending on the travel insurance plan) can include pre-trip cancellation in the event the rented property is destroyed through natural disaster, for example. Coverage may also provided benefits for post-departure trip interruptions in the event you have to evacuate the rented property ahead of a natural disaster or following a natural disaster event.
Tips for safe home or apartment rental
- Ensure there is a rental agreement – this is your agreement with the rental agency or property owner, and you should review the terms and conditions carefully so you understand your rights and responsibilities.
- Ensure there is a local contact – this is a person who is nearby who can answer questions about maintenance issues, how to operate appliances, and help if you get locked out of the property.
- Evaluate past reviews – if the property has been rented before, review the past guest comments for clues about the property and how renters were treated.
- Ensure there is a secure reservation system – the property owner should have a way to make standardized, secure reservations over the Internet with a major credit card. You should expect to pay a security deposit, but do not wire money or pay with cash or check.
A number of vacation rental sites, like Vacation Rental By Owner and Home Away, are available to help travelers find suitable homes, flats, and apartments in their desired destination. Most properties are professionally managed and the sites have secure methods to make reservations and payments.