Cottage Country: Off the Beaten Track

By: Jody Smith

Some people love to head for a hotel chain, knowing that there will be no surprises. They know how things will look, how things are done. It's home away from home, and it looks the same whether it's on the West coast, the East coast or anywhere in between.

But other people don't want this kind of familiar sameness. They figure if they are going somewhere different, it should be... different. Renting a cottage could be just the thing. It's not home, but it's a good home base while you are traveling and exploring. A cottage tends to be bigger than a hotel room which provides more room to turn around.

It can be nice to be picked up after but it's also nice not to have someone going through your room every day as happens in a hotel or motel. You have a greater sense of privacy even if you are sharing your cottage with roommates.

Finding potential cottages to rent for your vacation isn't difficult. You'll find lists of such places on websites, in newspapers, through real estate agencies, and by the old standby word of mouth. Ask your friends and neighbors if they've ever rented a cottage, where it was and how they liked it.

Finding them is easy. Determining if a particular cottage is right for you can be a little more work. Phone or email the owner or manager of the property. You'll need to find out whether or not the cottage is available for the dates you want.

Spell out how many people will be coming to the cottage. Are you taking children or grandchildren? What about pets? The proprietor will need this information.

Find out how they like to be paid, by a check sent in the mail, by credit card or PayPal. Learn their cancellation policy in case things don't work out. Ask them for an emergency contact phone number if the owner/manager will not be nearby.

Sometimes you'll get the key ahead of time by mail, or you might be met at the cottage with the key. When you're in the front door, make sure you've got working lights, water and any heat or air conditioning. If there are problems, notify the proprietor right away so as not to be saddled with repair costs.

Remember to bring your own bedding and towels if they are not provided. You'll want to know what is in the cottage for food preparation, and what's in the surrounding area.

Do you need to bring some utensils, pots or pans? Do you have a stove? A microwave? A dishwasher?

Are there restaurants, fast food places or grocery stores close by? You can save yourself money, and heartburn, by buying and preparing your own food.

Leave the place as clean as you found it. Put out the garbage. Lock up, and return the key by whatever method has been agreed upon.

Sources:

How to Rent a Vacation Cottage

http://seniortravel.about.com/od/accommodations/ht/rentacottage.htm

Pros and Cons of Vacation Rentals

http://seniortravel.about.com/od/accommodations/a/VacRentalProCon.htm

Related Links:

Tips for Eating Heart Healthy on Vacation

http://www.empowher.com/heart-amp-blood/content/tips-eating-heart-healthy-vacation

Surviving Your Family Vacation

http://www.empowher.com/relationships-amp-family/content/surviving-your-family-vacation

Hey, Seniors Love Summer Vacations Too

http://www.empowher.com/active-adult/content/hey-seniors-love-summer-vacations-too

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