Five things to consider before you book an Orlando vacation home

What to know before renting Orlando and Kissimmee area vacation homes and villas near Disney World

The following considerations must be given a serious thought when looking at the many advertised Disney villas, Orlando villas or Florida vacation rentals.

Each vacation home rental owner or agency may have a different pricing structure for base rent and all the extras that are possible including cleaning fee, BBQ grill rentals, linens and towels, pool/spa heat, various taxes, credit card/PayPal fees and processing fees. Please ensure that the price quoted includes all the extras and fees that you are anticipating if not clearly stated. Read the fine print of the rental agreement and ask anything that is not obvious. Most owners are willing to answer any number of questions that you may have. In fact, if the owner you are renting from is unwilling or unable to answer your questions, be cautious!

Another point that may seem like obvious is that you want to find out if the towels and linen are included with your rental or if you need to rent them or bring them with you. These days most owners provide them with the rental, however, it does not hurt to ask. Also, if the linens are provided with the house, ask your responsibilities at the time of your check-out. Some owners ask that you strip-out the sheets and some ask that you wash them for the next guest. Most home owners provide starter pack of supplies though the contents may vary depending on the location and the  individual owner you are renting from. How about hair dryers, cribs, stair gates – confirm these are provided for you.

Key collection and drop-off are other key factors that you must consider. These days most Orlando Florida vacation homes either have a lock-box at the home itself or key-less entry system. If the home you are renting has a lock-box  the vacation home owner provides you with the lock-box combination. If your home has a key-less entry system, you will be given with a code to open the door. Some vacation homes may not have either of the above systems and may have you drive to an office for collecting and dropping off keys. This method is not a preferred method as the collection point could be out of the way from your vacation home and their operating hours might not work with your schedule.

Know where you are going?  Really, do you know the address of the villa you are renting? Ensure that you know the exact address of the villa as well as directions from airport or from major freeways.  Some vacation rental agencies do not disclose the actual vacation villa you are renting until you arrive in Orlando. There are some disadvantages with this scenario as the home assigned upon arrival may not be in close proximity of Disney World and other Florida attractions that you are planning to visit. Also, the home assigned on arrival may not be the one that is shown in the pictures which could disappoint the whole family!  Always know the distance between your vacation rental and famous central Florida attractions such as  Disney Word, Sea World, Universal Studios etc. Some vacation home rental agencies claim that their rentals are “minutes from Disney”. Though that may seem like acceptable, anything less than an hour drive may be considered as minutes. You will be disappointed to drive for hours in traffic while returning from parks after the mid-night fireworks.

Know the standard check-in and check-out times of the villa and be prepared to work-around if your arrival time is sooner than the check-in time or if you have a late flight. Vacation homes adhere to their standard check-in and check-out times as it needs several hours to prepare the homes between guests.  You may also want to keep in mind that it takes much longer to prepare a house in comparison to a hotel room. You can always check with the owners for flexibility with check-in or check-out, though there may be a charge for such deviations.

Pet and Smoking Policies: Most Orlando vacation homes have  no pet policy though some vacation homes allow pets. Also, there might be a charge for bringing pets. If you are bringing pets, let the owners know and know their policies before you reserve your vacation home.  Most if not all vacation homes do not allow smoking inside the villa and may impose severe penalties for smoking inside the villa.

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