Money Saving Strategies
- Find the tourism bureau in the area you wish to travel. Most tourism bureaus supply travel guide books with special packages for rental homes, restaurants and activities. These guides can provide a great start to your rental home search.
- Willing to switch your dates? The off-peak seasons generally offer phenomenal rates on rentals.
- Are you a armed forces veteran? Plenty of vacation rental companies offer concessions to vets and active-duty servicemembers. Make sure to ask property manager to see if your vacationing group is eligible for a discount.
- Some homes are particularly suited for particular types of visitors. Large event homes are ideal for weddings, wedding parties and corporate escapes. Some rentals cater to wildlife enthusiasts. Other rentals are situated close to night life. You'll receive the best value from a rental which most directly matches your ideal vacation setting, even if it costs a little more.
- Rental companies and individual property owners frequently offer clients the chance to obtain trip insurance protection. Trip insurance, which usually costs between 1% - 5% of the basic rental rate, offers buyers reimbursement of their trip costs for any nights missed as a consequence of medical emergencies or weather, in addition to ensuing extra hurricane evacuation costs or charges, such as an unforeseen hotel room stay or extra gasoline. Trip insurance can be a bank account-saver if the unforseen occurs .
How to Book a Vacation Home
First-timers are oftentimes surprised at the number and variety of short-term properties available in the Southport area. Vacation home accommodations have gained in popularity with the rise of global search sites like Homeaway and VRBO.
Vacation rentals are often owner operated or managed by property management companies. Property management companies leverage scale, technology and expertise to provide simple and easy operational management on behalf of the homeowner..
Seasoned Southport vacationers have identified a number of tips and tricks over the years when it comes to renting rental properties, however most newcomers will be happy to discover that several "methods" are in plain sight, if you know where they should look.
How to find and book the right rental property:
Before you book "Family Time: Breathtaking Ocean views! Just Steps From the Beach!", read through our short checklist of considerations.
Start Your Search Early
Southport rental homes are reserved many months (and up to a year) in advance. To get the best selection, start your planning and search Six-12 months in advance of your vacation. Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years are excellent times to plan and reserve your rental home..
Decide on a Town and Time
Quite often, the toughest part of planning your trip is deciding where to go, and when. When the big decisions are resolved, the rest is much easier.
Bedrooms and Bed Sizes Matter
Establish who is traveling, and just how many/what particular bedroom arrangement you should have. Be aware that most homes list maximum guest capacity, which oftentimes includes sofa beds in the home's living room. It is important to determine what is most appropriate for your group. Specific descriptions of bedrooms and beds are usually available online. If not, email or call the property owner before you reserve the home.
Stay on a Budget
Check to make sure "Family Time: Breathtaking Ocean views! Just Steps From the Beach!" satisfies your budget *during your desired week*. Make sure to get cost-sharing commitments from loved ones prior to reserving a costly rental property. Typically, just one person in the group will be responsible for making the full reservation and collecting each person's share.
Let's Discuss Amenities
What amenities is the family interested in? Is a screened-in porch a necessity? Do you want to be away from it all, or close to a city setting? Are extras like beach chairs, barbecue grills, beach umbrellas, beach carts or coolers available and included in your rental home rate? Make a list of prioritized "necessities and preferences" from your group to help narrow your search to the most suitable home.
Oftentimes the older generation has problems with stairways. If wheel chair access, elevators, pool lifts or other specialized devices are required, factor that into your search. Nearly all rental home listings will include a list of amenities.
Be sure to include your best friend! While many vacation homes allow pets, rules and costs fluctuate per property. Many limitations could dismiss a prospective vacation property. Be sure you read agreements and contracts carefully. Additional fees or deposits may be applied to your agreement.
Searching the Internet
Several internet resources exist to match visitors with rental owners.. In combination with Homeaway, VRBO and Tripadvisor, we recommend searching Google for "Southport local rentals" for local vacation rental management companies. Local agencies usually have an exclusive collection of rentals daily and weekly.
Re-read the description to confirm the home has everything that you need. If something is missing, the vacation rental management company may know of very similar homes that fit your wishes and budget..
Although not true for all properties, many property owners and property managers will negotiate rates. If the rate isn't negotiable, the number of nights might be. Your best opportunity for a lower rate will be shifting to an off-season week.
Read through the Entire Agreement
You'll want to know which services are included:
- Electric bills
- WIFI Access
- Phone service
- Pool Heating
- Cable and pay-per-view TV
- Cleaning Service
- Trash Pickup (and which day?)
- Maintenance (get a phone number)
- Key exchange
- Parking requirements
Get a total that incorporates state taxes, pet and other extra fees.
What is the Cancellation Policy?
Cancellation policies vary with each vacation rental. Rental home management companies and individual home owners often offer their clients the option to purchase trip insurance. Trip insurance, which commonly costs anywhere between 1% - 5% of your base rental home cost, provides guests with reimbursement of their vacation costs (and subsequent rental costs) for any nights missed as a consequence of personal medical related emergencies or weather, as well as hurricane evacuation costs, such as a unforeseen hotel stay or additional gas.
Complete the Reservation
When you think you've found "the one", start the reservation process. You'll likely have to submit a security deposit at time of reservation.
Get Contact Info
Make sure to get the manager's contact phone number and entry/exit procedures for your rental property. We recommend keeping the contact's information in your smartphone and wallet.
Congratulations on reserving your rental home! You're on the way to a fantastic vacation!
During your Stay
- Photograph at your arrival. To assure no damages are attributed to your stay, make a record of any trouble spots of the property. If you discover problems, or if fixes are needed contact the rental manager immediately.
- When there's any ambiguity about parking, policies of the property, condo access, swimming pool functions, etc... we recommend you ask the rental manager promptly. A phone call can save several hours of difficulties.
- Make sure to be a good next-door neighbor. Many times, neighboring residences are filled by permanent residents. Respecting late-night quiet hours and parking regulations can make a trip much more enjoyable.
- Ask a local. Local people can frequently point you in the right direction.
- Make sure you protect the property owner (and your stuff!) by keeping the property secured when you are away, exactly like you would in your own home.
When its Time to Leave
- Make sure you've packed all of your possessions. Sweep all the rooms in the house for forgotten items. Check bath rooms, the garage, cabinets, porches, the swimming pool area, and anywhere else your personal property might "hide".
- When everything is out, begin a walk-through of the property to make sure that no property damage occurred during your remain. We recommend walking through with the rental manager whenever possible (often this isn't possible).. If the property owner is not available, be sure to take photos of the property to record its condition.
- How was your trip? Virtually all rental management company websites seek feedback after your stay . Rental owners and property managers will appreciate your positive recommendations. If anything went wrong, we recommend being kind but genuine about your stay. Top owners and managers will try very hard to fix the situation.
Learn and Improve
Hold a meeting with your family. Does everybody want to re-book next year? Maybe everything ended up being exceptional and you're excited to reserve the rental home for next season. If the property wasn't quite right, and you will better know how to improve your search next time.