Vacation Home Rental Checklist

How to find the perfect holiday home away from home.

Six Months to One Year Ahead

  1. Check Envision your ideal property.

    How many bedrooms do you need? Bathrooms? Do you want a house within walking distance of town? On a waterfront? Must it accept pets?

  2. Check Determine your price range.

    Rates vary from roughly $1,000 a week for a two-bedroom in the United States to up to $10,000 a week for a staffed villa in Europe. Remember: Cleaning charges and security deposits may be tacked on.

  3. Check Consider calling an agency.

    Renting through an agency is generally more expensive than booking online, but it guarantees that the property has been officially screened.

  4. Check Find a property.

    Browse sites such as,, and that list properties worldwide. Tourist boards can help you find agencies in any given area of the United States.

  5. Check Check references.

  6. Check Book your stay.

    You’ll likely have to put down a security deposit.

One Month Ahead

  1. Check Confirm reservations—and amenities.

    Be sure to check with the owner or agency to see if your rental includes a washer and dryer, dishwasher, and air conditioning (many European rentals do not). Also, find out if linens, towels, dishes, and any other special accessories you’ll need are provided.

The Week Before

  1. Check Reconfirm reservations.

    Ask how you’re expected to leave the house at the conclusion of your stay, the location of the circuit breaker, and if there are any household quirks you should know about.

  2. Check Scope the neighborhood.

    Browse sites such as and for advice about nearby attractions and restaurants. Print out addresses of and directions to local stores, transportation companies, and any other services you may need.

  3. Check Prepare a contact sheet.

    Make sure you have the correct contact information for the owner of the house in case of an emergency. And write down your agent’s information, if you used one.

  4. Check Pack essentials.

    Fill in any basics not on the list of amenities provided by the owner or agent (such as linens, fans, or cooking equipment).