Planning a vacation can become a major undertaking by the time you are finished. There are many factors that should be taken into consideration and the entire process can quickly become an annoyance. However, a hassle-free, memorable, and relaxing vacation will make all the pre-vacation fuss well worth the effort.

Unfortunately, deciding on your accommodations is a necessary part of this process. For those individuals who wish to stay in a rental cottage or other similar accommodation, choosing the right rental can become a major headache for many vacationers. There are several factors that must be considered during the search for the perfect rental property for your vacation.

There are two basic methods of renting a cottage or other vacation property. You may choose to take advantage of the services of a licensed broker or rental agency or you can rent directly from the property owner. Agencies, while minimizing hassle on your end, will charge a fee for their services. However, an agency will be able to provide a large selection of rentals from which you can choose, give suggestions as to what they believe will best suit your needs, and provide useful advice to which you may not have access otherwise.

Renting directly from the property owner will eliminate the middleman and save you money by avoiding the fees that agencies will charge for their services. It is a good idea to request some names and contact information for a few of the property’s previous renters to use as references if necessary. Be aware that when you rent from the owner directly, you are subject to his or her own opinion of the rental property. Very few owners will mention any undesirable qualities that their rental might possess, such as mold in the bathroom or substandard furnishings.

Independently owned vacation rental properties are often significantly cheaper than those booked through an agent. However, the extra money that you spend on a licensed representative is extra insurance that the property is of good quality and this will often buy the renter an added sense of peace of mind.

In many cases, the extra expense of a broker is well worth it because agency-represented properties tend to be better maintained and are often much cleaner than most other properties. Agents also make it easier to obtain an accurate description of each rental property. The last thing that any agent wants is an unhappy client; therefore, the personal service is often well worth the added expense.

Agency represented rentals also serve to prevent vacationers from being victimized by fraudulent rental transactions being booked online or on the telephone. These days it is easy for anyone to build a website and advertise properties for rent (complete with pictures) that aren’t even owned by the individual who built the website. Such scams are not uncommon and several vacationers are conned out of several hundred dollars and will probably not even know until it is too late.

The rental property that you choose will be yours during the duration of your vacation. While oddities that some properties possess can be a part of the property’s charm and appeal, they can often end up being an annoyance in the long run. It is impossible to know every last detail, but a licensed agent will be able to answer most of your questions and offer advice based on his or her experience.

What is the easiest way to obtain information regarding vacation rental properties? The internet is an extremely popular source of information in this age of technology. All the information that you require can be found online, such as pictures, relevant information, ability to ask questions regarding specific rentals, FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that addresses common questions and concerns of clients, etc. You can even book your rental property online. If you are not familiar with the internet, you can have brochures sent through more traditional avenues-such as brochures sent to you via regular mail.

One major benefit that rental properties have over packaged vacation plans is that they allow the vacationer to plan and schedule their vacation to suit their needs and desires and also allows them to make plans on their own terms. Unlike many packaged vacation plans, vacation rentals accommodate the vacationer’s schedule as opposed to the vacationer having to accommodate a pre-set schedule of events.

Make a list of your top four or five favorite properties. Prioritize your choices but do not procrastinate making your final decision until you are stuck with your fourth choice in rentals. If possible, plan alternate dates for your vacation along with an alternate choice of accommodations.

The booking form provided by the owner or agency will provide a space for listing your preferences. Keep in mind as well that the larger the number of people involved in making the decision, the longer it will take for the decision to be made and agreed upon. For large groups it might be smart to let one person narrow the possibilities down to a manageable number of suitable choices and then vote as a group to make the final decision. Rentals of four or more bedrooms are very difficult to find and are often impossible to find unless you book extremely early.

Arrival day is often very stressful for most vacationers. It is not at all unusual to be hot, tired, and hungry after a long trip. Additional delays such as traffic jams and wrong turns can truly test one’s patience to the absolute limits. However, once everyone gets settled into their rooms, you can finally take some time to relax and start enjoying your vacation.