Picture this: You’re sitting on the couch, scrolling through Google and looking for the best vacation rental company to book with. Third-party sites like HomeAway and VRBO are coming up, but you’re not sure if you’re getting the best deal. Then you remember that when you book directly with Royal Shell, you can save up to 19%!

Royal Shell has been around since 1996 and we are the largest vacation rental company in Southwest Florida. We live, work and play here, so we know where the hidden gems are and all of the ins and outs of the areas we serve. Some of our homes are pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry family member. Royal Shell has its own in-house cleaning service, rental reservation team, and more than 500 vacation rentals on Sanibel and Captiva Islands and about 1,500 mainland and island homes throughout Southwest Florida.

10 tips for renting a vacation home for the first time:

  1.     Begin your search early
  2.     Know what housekeeping does and doesn’t do
  3.     Make sure you fill out the damage waiver
  4.     Choose your rooms before you get there
  5.     Wait to buy extras
  6.     Know what amenities the rental comes with
  7.     Think about what you want to do when you get there
  8.     Consider purchasing travel insurance
  9.     Talk to a local professional who knows the area and the rental market
  10.     Have the trip of a lifetime!

Begin your Search Early

Begin your Search Early

Starting your search early will help you avoid last-minute headaches and stress. It gives you time to decide which area you want to visit and it gives you time to find the ultimate vacation rental. Planning six months to a year ahead is ideal. If you decide you want to visit paradise at the last minute, our Vacation Planning Advisers will be able to help you. However, keep in mind that if you have your eyes on a particular rental property, it’s best to book it as soon as possible to ensure its availability. As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to have a few backup properties picked out in case your first home is already booked.

Know What Housekeeping Does and Doesn’t Do

Some rental services will charge you and surprise you with cleaning fees. At Royal Shell, those fees are included in the total price when you book a property. Our maintenance staff and cleaning team are in-house, so we know they are providing hotel quality service. Our linens are also laundered and supplied from our in-house facility. We know they’re good quality and that we always have fresh products for you to use. We have also directed our chemical distributor to adjust our settings to maximize the sanitation process. Commonly used items such as doorknobs and TV remotes are being sanitized along with keys to the rental properties. Guest safety is always our top priority.

Make Sure You Fill Out the Damage Waiver

The damage waiver doesn’t need to seem scary or overwhelming. One of its main purposes is to offer the guest peace of mind and to make sure they’re protected. The fee is added to the reservation total. When issues are reported immediately, it covers the guest against any accidental damage to the unit or its contents for an amount not to exceed $3,000. This fee essentially takes the place of a traditional security deposit. Please keep in mind that the damage waiver is only valid if incidents are reported before checkout.

Choose Your Rooms Before You Get There

When you look at our vacation rentals online you’ll be able to see all of the available bedrooms. Some homes also have sleeper sofas and daybeds so they can accommodate even more people. Choosing which room you sleep in before you arrive will be helpful if you’re traveling with kids. This crucial step could prevent a fight.

Wait to Buy Extras

It may be tempting to order things like groceries, beach towels and beach equipment before you arrive and have them waiting for you, but if you wait until you get there, you may find that some items you were going to buy are already there. Our rentals come with things like toilet paper, laundry and dish detergent, trash bags in trash cans and some units have beach equipment in them, but this can’t always be guaranteed.

Know What Amenities the Rental Comes With

Know What Amenities the Rental Comes With

All of our vacation rentals come with a full kitchen. If the home has a pool or beach access, those features will be listed in the property description. If a home is in a complex or community that offers golf, a clubhouse, restaurants, a pool or other perks, those things will also be cited in the property description. If you have any questions or want to confirm what amenities you’ll have access to, our Vacation Planning Advisers are a phone call away at 800.656.9111.

Think About What You Want to Do When You Get There

Having a vacation plan or a loose itinerary will help you save time when you get here. If you’re looking for things to do on vacation in all of the cities we offer vacation homes in, head over to our Things to Do Page! It’s beneficial to make a plan so you don’t waste part of your first day here putting it together. It’s also a good idea to leave some flexibility in your schedule in case you want to lounge around and do nothing or you discover something new you want to go do or see.

Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance

Royal Shell offers optional trip insurance. It can help protect against unforeseeable circumstances that could lead to a cancellation. Please note that in order to be binding, all cancellations must be made in writing. Cancellation refunds are processed within six to eight weeks on reservations canceled outside the Cancellation Policy and six to eight weeks after the original departure date of the reservation, for reservations canceled within the Cancellation Policy.

Talk to a Local Professional Who Knows the Area and the Rental Market

Southwest Florida is so diverse and unique, so why not explore the whole region? Especially if you’re going to be here for a while! Sanibel and Captiva Islands are like paradise. If you’re staying elsewhere, these islands are definitely worth a day trip. Downtown Naples is charming and reminiscent of a European city. The River District in downtown Fort Myers has weekly events throughout the season and it’s also home to Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s winter estate. Or go a little further south and explore the Everglades. It’s a Southwest Florida treasure. There’s no other ecosystem like the Glades.

Have the Trip of a Lifetime

Have the Trip of a Lifetime!

As more people are opting for vacation home rentals vs. hotels, we wanted to provide you with some tips for renting a vacation home for the first time. Everyone deserves a vacation, and we’re here to answer any questions you might have. Our goal is for everyone to have a relaxing trip with as little stress as possible. Southwest Florida is about letting your worries wash away, rejuvenating and getting on Island Time. And we’re here to help make that happen.

This last tip for renting a vacation home for the first time should be pretty easy! Now that you have more information about booking a vacation rental, we hope you feel confident and good about the overall process. If you have any questions or if there is anything we can do for you to make your trip even more special, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Vacation Planning Advisers. We love helping you create lasting memories you’ll cherish for years to come.