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Planning a trip to the beautiful Okaloosa Island and don’t know how to start looking for a Destin or Fort Walton beach rental? The internet sure has made life easier as we can simply type in our holiday destination to find out about places where we can stay while visiting. However, too many options tend to result in a tedious amount of time searching and comparing different businesses and locations that offer accommodation for your beach vacation. We’re going to share these useful tips that will help you focus on what’s important and narrow down your search for your perfect vacation rental on the Emerald Coast.

We all know more or less what to expect when staying at a beach resort, and while most hotels offer a pleasant ambiance and a comfortable enough stay, having your very own vacation rental is something of a unique experience. There’s nothing like having your own private space to relax and do pretty much whatever you want responsibly. Vacation rentals are particularly popular among those who prefer cooking, as many available options are equipped with kitchens, eliminating the need to spend money on eating out every day. Think of it as a home away from home.

In order for you to have a clear heading when searching for your ideal beach vacation rental, there are several things that you should have in mind:

1) Plan your budget

For those of us who are very particular about financial organization, it will be helpful to know from the onset exactly how much you are willing to spend on your vacation rental. When you have clarity on this, you can use the price range tool that most travel websites have, which allows you to input, on a scale, the price ranges in which you are interested in seeing properties. You’ll also be able to select specific amenities or preferred “view” type, which will influence your search results. Based on your selections, your options will be narrowed down.

2) Know how many people you’ll be sharing with

Depending on the number of vacationers under the same roof, you’ll also need a different quantity of amenities per person, such as towels and even parking spaces, so these are important factors to consider. When traveling with younger children or even toddlers, you may want to consider other elements, such as safety for the little ones, and look to avoid rentals with stairs and balconies for a more risk-free stay.

3) Check if pets are allowed (in case you want to bring one)

If you’re looking to bring your furry friend or some other exotic pets to the vacation rental, you need to make sure that the property owner allows pets. You’ll usually see “pet-friendly” tags with the property listings, indicating that a specific vacation rental is, in fact, pet-friendly. In case you need help finding this information, you may want to contact the property owner directly. Don’t bring a pet if it’s not allowed at the vacation rental, otherwise this may result in a costly complaint from the owner, post-vacation.

4) Think about your ideal location

You’ll be amazed to know that you can rent anything from a beautiful beachfront house to your own private island(opens in a new tab) in Florida. Of course, your budget will influence the options available greatly, but you may also want to consider how many or which types of connections you really need. For example, how close or far you are from the beach, grocery stores (especially if you’re planning on cooking in your rental home), and other available activities in the area.

5) Check photos and read the property listing carefully

If there is a listing that has caught your eye, because you loved the photos of the property, don’t get too excited. Though it’s great to get a preview of the property through photos, don’t be fooled by the perfection that is presented through the images. In most cases, the photos may be a realistic representation of what’s in store for you at the rental home. Still you may want to steer clear of those that look like something out of a magazine and also ones that have a gallery of photos showing sunsets and the surrounding areas rather than the actual vacation rental property.

Additionally, you should pay close attention to all the details of the vacation rental listing. If after reading all the information of a listing, you still have questions, you should contact the owner or rental company directly. Avoid booking a vacation rental that is unclear in its description or terms and conditions.

6) Check the rental’s Cancellation Policy

The pandemic that came along with Covid-19 taught us all that, things can happen that are sometimes out of our control. And though this may be an extreme example, it has certainly taught us the importance of having a backup plan.

While searching for your perfect vacation rental, whether you already have your dates set in stone or not, it will be useful to know what would happen in case you need to change your stay dates (or even cancel your vacation altogether). This is why it’s important that you read the cancellation policy associated with each property or that of the vacation rentals website you are using. You should look out for the following information:

  • Does the vacation rental company or property owner allow a change of dates? If so, how much time in advance do they require you to notify this.
  • How much time in advance do you need to notify a cancellation in order to receive a full refund.
  • You might find that some companies offer a non-refundable rate, which is lower than the standard rate, making it more attractive to buy. However in the event of cancellation, no refund will be given.

The excellent news is that Florida offers an exceptional range of vacation rentals. Even budget-friendly options are as charming and well-equipped as the more luxurious ones, with beachfront views. Independent of price, all rentals are unique, so don’t worry if you have a lower budget. In case expenditure is not a topic that worries you, you may still want to be aware of everything that will be included in the rental with the price you pay for it, and compare properties of a similar price to ensure you’re getting the best option for your money.

Now that you’re beach rental savvy, we’re sure you will find your perfect home away from home to make the most of your vacation on the Emerald Coast. We look forward to seeing you at Crab Island Watersports on Okaloosa Island(opens in a new tab), where we have a fleet of Jet skies(opens in a new tab) and Pontoon boats that you can hire(opens in a new tab) to enjoy your holiday afloat the glistening waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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