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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

All Vacation Rentals are Not Created Equal-!

IMG_4543And so, I am living vicariously through my friend with the beach rental.

“What’s happening now?” I ask her on a daily basis.

In just over a week of renting the gem of a beach home, they have had enough experiences to last a lifetime-! I feel like I should pull up a chair and a bowl of popcorn.

There are the honest folks, who agree to pay the asking rate, conscientiously fill-out rental contracts and say they will love, honor and cherish this lovely, historic beach cottage.

There are those who are so happy to book the cottage, recognizing that it’s about 10 steps above the average beach-house fare, that they don’t read the fine print. The Beach Blue Sea Cottage allows up to two small dogs for a modest fee, but by then the guests have fallen in love with the idea of staying there and plead for their 50- or 70-pound pooch to be allowed to stay, that the dog is hypoallergenic, does not shed, is up to date on all shots and meds, and is the best-behaved creature on the face of the earth, etc. My friend just laughs and says, “At least they’re honest. Family fur-babies are people, too!”

She has a kind heart. Did I mention she usually leaves a welcome basket of something yummy?th

Then there are the last-minute cheapskates who want to sleep 20 to the house, meant to accommodate 8-10. They ask for three nights for the price of one, request if they might slip in another 5 or 10 friends or family members, inform her basically that receiving some kind of income is better than nothing…. She has the patience of Job, but really, even her maid won’t get out of bed for peanuts.

The would-be guests don’t understand all of the fees — for cleaning, for city/county/state hospitality taxes, for credit card processing, for HomeAway/VRBO advertising — that have nothing to do with my friend’s rental rate, at all. They have caviar dreams on a spam budget. So she works up a quote, outlining all of the above. When reality hits, the something-for-nothing crowd shows their true colors.

IMG_4545“Did they thank you?” I ask, Miss Manners ever on patrol.

“Um… no…” she shakes her head and our eyes meet.

This is not how cultured people roll. And to comment on their behavior would not be genteel, as well, so we allow the matter to drop. Yet I know, both of us have the same visions of such wannabe guests: eating pizza on the couch, climbing into beds with sand still on their feet, leaving the kitchen sink piled high with their dishes…. Damage deposits can only do so much….

Which brings us to the reality: not all beach rentals are created equal. She has a prime piece of real estate in one of the swankest locations in Myrtle Beach, a two-minute walk to the ocean, on a double-sized, residential lot. This is not to be compared with other beach rentals, far from the city limits in campgrounds or crowded communities where you can wake up in the morning and basically clink your coffee cup with your next-door neighbor’s. If you sneeze, the neighbor hands you a tissue. They keep you up all night, or wake you early in the morning.

These are the beach houses with air conditioners in the windows making all sorts of racket. They have three or four bunkbeds per bedroom and one bathroom the size of a hall closet. Rentals like these sport rattan furniture with soiled cushions and believe it or not, she IMG_4544actually showed me a pic of a “competitor” who used a picnic table as the kitchen/dining room table-!

You get what you pay for. Period. Over and out. They have just finished renovating the home and already, the first few compliments are gushing with enthusiasm.

She shows me the guest book with its comments: “Sooo cute!!! Absolutely adorable cottage, I want to live here!!! Thank you for sharing your home with us. Even hubby was happy!”

She beams. Her beach rental has gone big-time, HomeAway ID #4623397, the exclusive/private/historic cottage earning kudos. I’m so proud of her! She deserves the best guests, well-mannered and respectful of the beautifully-restored property, instead of sardines who want to squish more into the can.

All beach rentals are not created equal. And this one is a cut above the rest. I love being a fly on the wall, hearing all of the great stories without having to do a bit of the work!

Have you ever managed a vacation rental home?


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