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Advice on budget rentals for vacation from the BBB

Vacation rentals can be a great way to save money when traveling on a tight budget. The Better Business Bureau advises vacationers to do their research before booking rentals to insure that the rental description matches the condition, amenities and location of the actual property.
In a tight economy, a vacation rental is one way to save if you are willing to forgo some luxuries offered by hotels. According to a survey by TripAdvisor.com, 43 percent of respondents said that they were planning to stay at a vacation rental on their next vacation.
“Many travelers can save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars off of their vacation costs by renting a house or condo instead of paying for a hotel or resort,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “If you do your research and read the fine print, a vacation rental can be a safe way to save money.”
The BBB has six steps to make your next vacation rental a breeze:
• Start planning now. Rental properties in popular locations get snatched up quickly.
• Do your homework. If you plan on finding a vacation rental on the Internet or a realty company, be sure to check the website or company out with the BBB first.
• Take a virtual tour. Research the property online and take a virtual tour of the surrounding area using map services that provide street views.
• Get the deal in writing. Make sure that all verbal agreements are included in the rental contract including deposits, payments, refunds, maid service, utilities, internet service and rules on pets.
• Use a secure form of payment. Do not send money until you have signed the rental agreement and never pay via wire transfer. The best way to pay is via credit card which provides consumer protections.
• Vacation rentals by owner. Take extra precautions when renting from an individual, particularly for international rentals.
For more information, please visit BBB or call 1-877-317-7236 toll-free in N.C. and S.C.

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