Don’t Book Vacations Rentals With These Red-Flag Words in the Listing

When it comes to your hard-earned vacation, a rental property can make or break the trip. For example, you might get lucky and end up booking a place that’s even nicer in real life than it is in the listing photos. On the other hand — and more likely to happen — you might discover upon arrival that the host took quite a few liberties when describing the property in the listing. While reviews can help, it’s important to keep in mind that one person’s rustic dream house is another person’s outdated vacation nightmare. To help avoid situations like this, be on the lookout for certain words in listings that could be red flags, or at least tell you more about whether a proper is a good fit for you. 


ECLECTIC: Maybe it’s referring to decor that mixes several different design styles, or maybe it means that the only sink is located over the toilet. If you still have questions about the eclectic property after looking at the photos and reading the reviews, it’s probably best to get in touch with the host to make sure it will meet your needs. 


SECLUDED: This could mean “private,” indicating that it’s far enough away from other people that you won’t bother them and they won’t bother you, or it could mean that you need a helicopter to get to the nearest grocery store. Always check the approximate distance from civilization before booking. The listing might not give you the exact address prior to making a reservation, but it will at least give you an idea of where it is on a map. 


SECURE: Of course, you want your vacation rental to be secure, but what prompted the host to include that in their description? While it could mean they recently installed a video doorbell, it could also be a clue that the house isn’t located in a safe area. If everything else about the property is appealing, you may want to do a little research on the location. 


RUSTIC: “Rustic” is in the eye of the beholder, so when you see that word in a property listing, it’s your clue to dig deeper. Make sure you read reviews from people who have stayed there, and check out the photos carefully to make sure the rental at least meets your minimum standards. For example, a 150-year-old house may be described as “rustic” because of the unusual quirks that come with a property of that age. In other situations, “rustic” can mean the rental doesn’t have air conditioning, has a limited supply of hot water, a composting toilet, or a weak WiFi signal — all things that are perfectly acceptable to some people, but dealbreakers for others.