Ask Trip Coach: Vacation rentals

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Home and apartment rentals can provide travelers with more space (and more character) than hotels, and for less money. But finding the perfect vacation rental sure is more complicated (and more worrisome) than reserving a hotel room.

If you've ever had questions for any part of the vacation rental process, from figuring out what sources to consult to ensuring you get your deposit returned, now's your chance to ask them. By all means, fire away with questions on topics like:

Is it better to rent directly from the owner, or from a realtor or professional management company?

What are the best, most helpful websites for winnowing down the search for the ideal rental?

What kind of questions should you ask of the owners, and of the references the owners provide?

Are rental prices set in stone, and if not, how much of a discount should I ask for while negotiating?

Is it OK to pay with a check or money order, like some owners request?

How do you make sure you're not getting scammed?

Send us your questions (and feel free to chime in with advice, if you've got good tips!), and we'll compile all the best answers and resources in an upcoming issue of Budget Travel.

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