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Travel | Traveling
Know These Warning Signs In Listings For Vacation Rentals


AAA infographic on choosing the right vacation rental


The day you've been waiting for has finally arrived—it's time for your vacation. You've spent hard-earned money on a flight and a short-term vacation rental, not to mention using some of your limited vacation days. All you want in exchange is for your experience to match your expectations. To ensure this happens, read the description of the accommodation with a fine-toothed comb and watch out for these sometimes-misleading phrases.

In front of a bar


Even if you love bar hopping, seeing this phrase in your Airbnb listing might not be as great as it sounds. Skipping the extra cost of an Uber and walking home is great. However, if your vacation rental is upstairs from a bar or has bedroom windows overlooking a popular street, you might hear music long after leaving the dance floor.

To know what to expect, ask your potential host via a direct, in-app message, or review the location on Google maps. If the vacation rental is located on a busy street, there is one final thing you can check. Google the area and check the popular times grid. If the crowds dissipate early on the nights of your stay, you can enjoy the walkable location and still sleep soundly.


There's a sweet spot when it comes to distance. While you don't want to be in the middle of an entertainment district, you also don't want to be 20 minutes away. The farther you get away from a city center, the less likely you are to feel immersed in it, and you might miss out on some fun nightlife because you don't feel like yet another Uber ride.

As with hotels, just because the city name is in the title or description doesn't mean it is geographically accurate. Even if you don't know the exact address of your Airbnb, you can ask the host how many miles away the property is from a venue you're interested in visiting.
Security System


While it's great that your belongings will be protected, is this something necessary to point out for vacation rental listing in a supposedly safe area of town? Consumer advocate group Elliott Advocacy, doesn't think so. If you see a listing marked as secure, look for any blogs about your travel destination to get a sense of the best neighborhoods to stay in, versus those to avoid. Your rental may be secured out of necessity.


If you filter for whole-house listings, that's what you should receive. However, be forewarned if you see the words "semi-private" anywhere on the page. As the website Thrillist points out, "there are no ranges of privacy, you either have it or you don't."
Small House


While innocuous in and of itself, cozy might mean something else entirely. For example, Elliott Advocacy warns that cozy doesn't always mean you'll be comfortable. On the contrary, it could imply "you'll be living in a shoebox." To safeguard against this, the advocacy group recommends checking the listing's square footage.


A Business Insider article reminds travelers about the importance of photosWhat you see— and don't see—in photos is telling you something. If a listing shows you stock photos, photos of public spaces, or the place your visiting, i.e., a city skyline; all of these could be a serious red flag.

Sure, it's nice to see the rooftop pool and state-of-the-art gym you can use. But, if you're seeing only one photo of the bedroom and no photos of the bathroom, or in some cases, a kitchen, those are warning signs.