5 On Your Side

Is your vacation rental safe?

Posted June 10, 2020 12:23 p.m. EDT
Updated June 10, 2020 6:29 p.m. EDT

— Staying in one location, with only your group sharing space, is really appealing right now.

While location and layout are still important in a vacation rental, a priority for many families this summer is, is it clean and safe?

You want to make sure COVID-19 isn't ignored.

Beach and houses

5 On your Side's Monica Laliberte shares three questions to ask.

The first, how is the property being cleaned and disinfected? There is a difference.

Top Mops of Carolina Beach currently cleans about 80 vacation rentals. Company owner Kristen Bray says their disinfection process starts with tackling the many touch points, "spraying all light switches, oven door, the refrigerator door, remote controls."

As the renter, also consider wiping down hangers, blow dryers, even night stands.

To kill the virus that causes COVID-19, a cleaner should contain bleach or at least 70% alcohol. So ask what's being used to disinfect.

The EPA's website has a searchable list of effective disinfectants.

Next, ask how bedding is being cleaned.

Are comforters, blankets and pillow covers washed between guests?

Bray says to allow time for that, some property owners are spacing bookings.

"In previous years, we would have what's called a back-to-back," she said. "Someone would check out at 10 a.m., and a new family would move in around 3 p.m. Some of our hosts are putting several days in between."

Another option Bray recommends for added safety: "I'm going to bring my own bedding," added Bray. She says it's another option for added safety.

In fact, she says many owners are removing decorative pillows and linens, as well as knick knacks, as a precaution.

Third, ask about amenities.

Does the property offer contact-less entry?

Will extras like beach chairs, bikes and games still be available?

If so, be prepared to wipe them down with your own disinfectant.

And again, for added safety, 5 On Your Side says plan to wipe everything and rewash dishes, utensils and kitchen tools before use.

Something else to consider, the cancellation policy.

If the beach closes again or short-term rentals are banned again, can you get a refund or credit? Get specifics, because a credit that exchanges an expensive summer week for a winter week isn't ideal.

Many so called "booking guarantees" and travel insurance policies don't cover cancellations for "unforeseeable circumstances," such as COVID-19.

Remember these questions to ask before you book and actions to take once you arrive because we escape to leave our worries behind, not bring any back home.

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