Vacation Rentals: Apartments, Homes & Beach Houses for Rent - HomeToGo
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Find answers to commonly asked questions about vacation rentals like: making a booking, cancellation, payment, amenities, pets, check-in, check-out, fraud and using our website. Click on the categories below, or feel free to contact us at any time.

What is a vacation rental?

Vacation rentals are furnished houses or apartments rented to vacationers by an independent owner or professional organization.

They are a common alternative to hotels, motels, and hostels and offer travelers the chance to enjoy home comforts, like a kitchen or private pool, while on vacation. Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation, location, and the amenities being offered.

Why should I choose a vacation rental over a hotel?

Whether traveling for business or pleasure, there are many reasons to choose a vacation rental instead of other accommodations. 

Vacation rentals offer:

  • More space and comfort.
  • Higher levels of privacy.
  • More autonomy (such as self-catering), and no need to stick to a fixed schedule.
  • Often cheaper - especially when traveling with family, or in a group.

What makes a vacation rental unique?

Every vacation rental is unique, in terms of location, interior design, atmosphere, and character. This distinguishes them from other accommodation types, and means that every stay at a vacation rental is different.

Vacation rentals tend to have passionate owners that care about their property being a warm, welcoming, and comfortable place to stay. You can enjoy the comforts of home, in a new location, when staying at a vacation rental.

What is the difference between an "express booking," "instant booking," and an "on request" booking?

Booking options will differ depending on the providers' and owners' conditions.

Properties that are marked as "express" can be booked entirely on The contract partner is responsible for your contact, and for changes or cancellations.

Properties that have an "instant booking" option allow you to book and pay in just a few clicks using the provider’s payment options.

Properties that are listed as "on request" require you to send a booking request or inquiry to the property owner before booking an accommodation. The owner has to check within a given time frame if the accommodation you want to book is still available before accepting your booking request.

Please note that a booking request or inquiry is usually non-binding, thus your payment data won't be necessary. Only your contact details are needed so the owner or provider can answer you.

Can I cancel my reservation?

You can cancel a reservation; however, you should always check the specific cancellation policy, which can differ depending on the provider or property owner. In order to know the conditions of cancelling a reservation, always check the cancellation policy of the website you have used to book your rental, or the confirmation email from the provider through which you booked.

Can I reserve a property and pay later?

If the website on which you are booking your vacation rental offers the option to reserve now and pay later, this option will be available to you. Always check the provider website's terms and conditions for more information.

What is the cancellation policy of my booking?

A cancellation policy sets out the terms and conditions for when a renter cancels his or her booking; it determines under which circumstances the renter is eligible for a refund. Confirm the cancellation policy of your vacation rental with the provider or owner. Please note:

  • Cancellation policies vary depending on the provider or property owner.
  • When you book an accommodation, you automatically agree to its cancellation policy.
  • Not all cancellations are eligible for a refund (either total or partial) - always check the cancellation policy before booking a property.

When will I get my booking confirmation?

The time at which you receive your booking confirmation depends on the provider or travel agency you used to book the property. If you haven't received a confirmation email up to 48 hours after completing your reservation, check your email's spam folder. If you still can't find your confirmation, contact the provider's site or rental owner.

How can I contact the property owner?

Once you complete your booking, you should receive an email with the contact details of the owner or managing agency. If you don't receive this information after booking on a provider's site, please contact the provider's customer service.

Do I need travel insurance if I book a vacation rental?

You are free to decide if you want to purchase travel insurance or not. Some insurance services offer travel insurance in addition to personal liability insurance. For more information, check the requirements of your travel destination.

Registered users can choose to opt in for HomeToGo's Money-Back Guarantee and free insurance when booking accommodations on the website.

In which language should I communicate with the property owner?

If you are renting a property located abroad, and the owner has not specified their language of choice, you can send the owner a message in English as well as in the local language. Messages can be automatically translated using free translation tools, and therefore language should not be an obstacle.

Is there an extra cleaning fee or cleaning deposit?

Along with the cancellation policy, the cleaning fee and deposit conditions will be detailed in the terms and conditions of the provider or property owner. Usually, this information is listed in the detailed description of the offer, as well as in your booking details and contract.

Are my payment details secured and protected?

The same rules for making any other transaction apply when booking a vacation rental. Make sure you have an SSL connection when entering your bank data. Most browsers show you a lock icon in the address bar that gives you more information about the encrypted connection.

What is a deposit, how does it work, and when can I get it back?

A deposit is a down payment given in advance and kept by the property owner during your stay. The owner may use this money in case you cause damages to the vacation rental. If there aren't any damages, you will get your full deposit back at the end of your stay.

When do I need to pay for my booking?

Payment policies depend on the terms and conditions of the provider or property owner. Some may ask you to pay the total amount of the rental fee at once, while others will ask you to pay a certain percentage of the total fee up front, with the remaining percentage being paid at the end of the stay.

You may also need to pay a deposit in addition to the booking fee (if it's not already included). Always check the terms and conditions as well as the payment policies before booking. You should get a summary of this information in your booking details.

Which payment method can I use to book?

Depending on the property owner or provider, you will be given one or several payment options once at the booking stage. The most common method is a bank transfer or credit card payment.

What amenities are included in my vacation rental booking?

Generally, a vacation rental has a detailed description listing all of the included equipment and amenities. Usually, all amenities listed are at your disposal during your stay. If you have doubts, feel free to ask the owner or provider website through which you finalized your booking for further information.

Do I have to pay an additional fee to use my vacation rental's amenities?

Unless it is specifically mentioned, amenities are included at no extra cost. However, the use of certain amenities may incur additional costs. Always contact the owner or the provider website through which you booked your vacation rental for more information.

Can I request additional amenities in my vacation rental?

You should use all the amenities filters at your disposal when searching for rentals on If your vacation rental is still missing something, ask the owner or the provider website through which you finalized your booking to see if adding extra amenities is possible and at what cost. If possible, we would recommend that you bring vital equipment with you.

How can I search for rentals that offer specific amenities?

You can use the amenity filters to narrow search results based on your preferences. For instance, select the "Pool" filter on HomeToGo, and every property in your search result will have a pool. You can also use multiple filters in a single search. If you want to see pet-friendly rentals with balconies, for example, select the "Pets OK" and "Balcony" filters. For more information regarding a property's amenities and equipment, contact the owner or provider of the vacation rental.

What should I do if I damage or break something in the vacation rental?

If you damage or break something at the vacation rental you are staying in, stay calm and contact the property owner. If the damaged item needs to be fixed or replaced right away, the owner will advise you on how to proceed. You can also check if your travel insurance or personal liability insurance covers the damages. Please note that the owner may retain some or all of your deposit to cover damages caused.

How do I find pet-friendly vacation rentals?

If the vacation rental you are looking for needs to be pet-friendly, you'll be able to select this option while searching for the ideal vacation accommodation. If a vacation rental is not marked with this option, then pets are not allowed.

How many pets can stay with me in my vacation rental?

Bringing one pet is standard. If more pets are allowed in a pet-friendly vacation rental, the number will be listed in the rental description. If not, please contact the vacation rental owner or provider for more information.

Do I need to provide vaccination certificates if I am traveling with my pets?

If you are flying domestically with your pet, some states require a rabies checkup within a certain amount of days of travel. Be sure to check this in advance of your trip.

If you are traveling internationally with your pet, you can make sure your pet meets the requirements for your destination country and is healthy enough to travel. Requirements may include: blood tests, vaccinations, and microchips for identification.

The United States does not require that your pet be identified with a pet microchip, but it is recommended.

Are all types of pets allowed?

Dogs and cats are the most common animals people travel with, so they will be allowed in most cases, as long as you're staying in a pet-friendly vacation rental and you have fulfilled your vacation destination's conditions.

If you own "exotic" animals such as snakes and spiders, please ask the rental's owner or contact the provider's customer care services for more information.

Please note that some dogs may be classified as "dangerous" and are thus not allowed in some vacation properties or resorts. Always check the classification in your country and abroad.

Can I request special amenities for my pet?

We advise you to ask the owner of the property directly if you need special equipment for your pet. However, be aware that the owner is not required to provide additional amenities or equipment and may charge an additional fee for doing so.

What should I do if my pet damages something in the vacation rental?

If your pet causes damage, report it to the owner. If the damaged item needs to be fixed or replaced right away, the owner will advise you on how to proceed. You should also check if your travel insurance or personal liability insurance can cover the damages. Please note that a part of your deposit may be retained by the owner for the damage caused.

How does check-in and check-out work?

You will need to arrange your hour of arrival to check-in, and your time of departure to check-out of the vacation rental. In some cases, you can directly discuss personalized check-in and check-out times with the owner, whereas some properties only allow specific time slots. Refer to your booking details for more information.

How do I get the keys to the property?

Unlike a hotel, an independent vacation rental does not have a reception. Therefore, you need to either agree with the rental owner on a time and place to pick up the keys, or follow the instructions given in your booking details. It works the same way for returning the keys to the rental owner at the end of your stay.

How late can I check in?

Check-in time depends on the type of accommodation you booked as well as the provider. Check-in hours will be provided to you once your booking has been accepted - check your booking details. If you have further questions, we advise you to speak directly to the owner or provider through which you finalized your booking.

Do I have to clean the vacation rental before I leave?

Depending on the vacation rental conditions and the options you selected, a cleaning service and corresponding fee may apply. The cleaning fees are usually included in your booking total. Please refer to the property conditions and booking details for more information.

If I have questions or encounter problems, who should I contact?

If you have any questions or encounter any problems with the vacation rental you booked, you should contact the property owner or, in some cases, the agency in charge of the rental you booked. To know whom to contact, always refer to the information you received after your booking was accepted.

What travel documents should I bring?

When traveling domestically around the US, we recommend that you:

  • Always travel with your state-issued ID.
  • Bring your rental contract along with the owner's contact details.
  • Bring your personal liability insurance details in case of an accident.

Having this information at hand will save you some time and stress in case of a problem. If traveling internationally, you will need to bring your passport.

Once on the property, can I cancel my booking if I spot something wrong?

Cancelling a booking once at the destination would be an exceptional situation. If that were to happen, we encourage you to speak directly to the owner, and if possible walk together through your rental to address potential issues immediately.

What should I do if I think a rental listing is suspicious?

Signs of a suspicious vacation rental listing include:

  • Insufficient information
  • Vague responses from the property owner
  • Private personal data requests from the property owner, such as your social security number or a double-sided scan of your credit card

If you experience these or any other red flags, don't answer and report this to the partner website that lists the vacation rental.

How can I be sure the property is as advertised?

Providers put a lot of effort to identify and remove false advertisements. Travelers should ask for as much information as possible before booking, check that payment page is secured with an SSL connection, and avoid any suspicious payment methods or data requests. In case of doubt, always get in contact with the provider's customer service.

How can I avoid a vacation rental scam?

Steps you can take to avoid a vacation rental scam:

  • Do not agree to pay for your vacation rental via money order, sending cash by mail, or instant money transfer like Western Union, as these types of transactions are not traceable and are often untrustworthy.
  • Ask for more details about a property if they are missing
  • Ask for a detailed contract outlining conditions, which can protect you in case of dispute. A provider or owner that does not offer you a contract should not be trusted.

How is my personal data used?

Generally, personal data is only collected when you supply it yourself by creating a user account, submitting a booking request, or contacting a website via email or contact form. In all cases, your personal data will be treated as strictly confidential. For more information, please check the privacy policy of the given website.

How can I get in touch with HomeToGo customer care?

If you have a question regarding our service, you can send your inquiry to or call us on +1-650-741-0003. We will do our best to answer your email as soon as possible!

What does “on request” mean?

Vacation rental offers marked as "on request" require you to contact the owner before booking. This additional step required for "on request" bookings differs from "instant booking" offers, which you can immediately book in a few clicks after clicking on the "view deal" button.

What is the difference between "instant booking" and "express booking?"

Properties that are marked as "instant booking" can be booked directly on our website or on our partners' websites, where you can finish the booking process in a few steps. Properties that are marked additionally as "express" can be booked entirely on The contract partner is responsible for your contact, and for changes or cancellations.

What should I do if there is a difference between the price shown on HomeToGo and the price shown on a provider's website?

The price on the provider's website is always the correct one. HomeToGo takes care to ensure our prices are accurate, so if you notice any price discrepancies, your input is welcome. Feel free to message us:

Can HomeToGo give me personalized advice?

HomeToGo is a metasearch engine that aims to give you an overview of available vacation accommodations and the ability to compare offers. You can easily tailor your search using our search bar and available filters, but we can't provide you with other results if there are no available offers matching your requirements. If you have specific questions about a property, always turn to the respective owner or provider website.