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How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Cosby, TN
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How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Even though I am new to TA, I wanted to share my thoughts and opinions on how to get that perfect cabin rental. I work in the cabin rental business in Gatlinburg and I would like to share what (imo) is the best way to get what you want.

While I love the fact that you can search and buy most anything you could want on the web, sometimes the only way to get what you need is to contact the business by phone or even email, if the phone isn't an option. Most of the folks in this area that do rentals require their employees to visit the cabins and get to know them.

So, the person taking your reservation is the best expert you have access to. Make a list of the amenities you want and start with the Chamber of Commerce in the town you want to stay in. You can also use the Better Business Bereau in Knoxville (they do Greater E. TN, too) to see if there's any really bad companies to stay away from.

Example of items for your amenity list:

- # of Beds/Baths (take into account the "Sleeps" number may be including sleeper sofas/futons, etc. If this isn't an option, be sure to say so. )

- Location, Location, Location! - Do you want to be close to town? Away from it all? On a Creek? Be sure to ask how far to the trolley and how busy the street is.

- Views: Mountain, Creekside, Wooded and private. With Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge bursting at the seams with cabins and even private homes, alot of the "very private" cabins and chalets are out a little further from town than most people realize. Ask how many miles, but keep in mind, they may be mountain miles and you may end up in traffic.

- Chalet vs. cabin: What's the difference? Chalets look more like a house and are generally decorated accordingly. Cabins are generally log (or log look) sided and have the decorations you'd expect in a cabin.

- Rustic vs. new? Ok, I am familiar with a truely RUSTIC home. It's old (built in the 1880's and renovated in the '30s), it's dark, it's kinda creepy. But some people love that. If you're expecting top-of-the-line, new and awesome. Ask that question. Sometimes the pictures aren't really what they seem. Most companies will tell you when the cabin was built.

- Hot Tub vs. Jacuzzi: What's the difference? May seem to be a simple question, but I am constantly amazed at the number of people that don't know the difference. A hot tub is an outdoor jetted tub that fits 2 or more people. The larger the cabin, usually, the larger the tub. Jacuzzi's are meant for only 1 or 2 people and are generally in a bedroom or bathroom in the cabin. More like a bath tub than a hot tub.

- Gamerooms: Gamerooms generally include the following: A pool table (or game table of some kind), a TV and some sort of game system. Because a cabin amenities list a "gameroom" don't assume it has EVERYTHING. Several cabins I know only have a pool table, or foosball. No TV, no gaming system. Figure out what kind of games your family will want and put those on the list.

- If you're travelling during the summer you will want to book early. The biggest/best places go first, the same applies during the Holidays. Also, traffic is always an issue. Even during the off-season when they do contruction. Ask those questions! Find out where the cabin is and how long you could sit in traffic if it's a busy week/weekend. Most people will be able to give you some idea of the time or miles.

Everyone's taste is different. And for folks that have never been to the area before, or it's been years since they've been, it can be overwhelming to see how many cabins there are. There are so many resources availible (above & beyond TA), might as well make use of all that you can.

I think that's everything for now, if anyone else can think of something I missed please add a reply! (I'm sure I'm forgetting something). I can't wait to see what other ideas people have (usually from experiance) that can only help others!

Becky

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Knoxville
Knoxville
Tennessee
Pigeon Forge
Pigeon Forge
Sevier County, TN
Athens, Georgia
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2,963 posts
36 reviews
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1. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Gosh, i think you just about covered it. This is great info. It's good to have a perspective from the other side of things. I know last year in searching for our cabin i think i looked at every cabin on the web and narrowed it down to just a few that had everything i wanted.

Germantown...
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1,627 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Becky,

WOW thats great info!!!

When I would rent from Alpine Chalet Rentals,There was a girl named Kim that worked there,She knew all the cabins,where they were located at and all the amenties of everycabin,

I too think you might get a better deal if you call them in person.

Oh on Mountain Rentals website after you been looking at the cabins a few minutes A LIVE Person will pop up and chat with you about the cabins,I think that is cool beans.You never get a live person anymore.

Thank Again for the great info Becky.Im sure it will be helpful to new commers in the area.

Cosby, TN
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17 posts
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3. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Before I worked for the rental company I worked for the aquarium for 6 years. It's amazing, still, to me how many cabins there are! I have people call all the time that really have no idea how to get what they're looking for. Even if they know what they're looking for. I'd hate, for myself, to have that "lost" feeling and I hope that this information is helpful for someone. =)

Becky

Pigeon Forge...
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1,818 posts
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4. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Becky...You have given many cabin searchers great advice on the must ask list!

One thing to add (imo) is the driveway. Sounds like an odd thing to ask, but while doing a lot of driving around cabin areas on my last trip, I can not imagine arriving at some of these cabins, only to find a VERY steep grade driveway, or a driveway with virtually no place to turn around. It amazes me at how some of these cabins will advertise a steep driveway, but never show pictures of thr actual driveway. I drive to a few cabins on my last trip to actually cehck out the driveway for future reference. Wow! Some driveways would be almost impossible to get up or to turn arond in, and I can't imagine having to 'back up' a very steep hill.

Another thing to ask if you speak to someone on the phone is to ask availability of maintenance if they are needed.

Cosby, TN
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5. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Ah! Yeah, I knew I was forgetting something. The driveway is a -very- important question, especially if you're faint-of-heart. Some of Ski Mtns driveways can be frightening!

Maintence is important to ask about too, and also the total cost. Some companies are not up front with Cleaning, Hot Tub and other type fees. Make sure they include the awful 12.5% taxes!

MI
Destination Expert
for Ludington
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1,173 posts
116 reviews
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6. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Another interesting thing to think about that most people do not consider is trip-insurance. From personal experience we would never book another vacation without that protection. We had to cancel our 2 previous cabin rentals due to our sons serious medical condition. We lost quite a bit of money with both those rentals. We rented this vacation from Mountain Rentals of Gatlinburg and have gladly paid the additional fee for trip insurance. We arrive in exactly 1 week and will be standing outside their office at 3PM next Sunday to check in!!! The peace on mind knowing that if another serious medical situation comes up, we will get the majority of our money returned.

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Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg
Sevier County, TN
Oneonta, Alabama
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7. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

A few more things I would add would be to ask the square footage of the cabin or chalet. There's a big difference in a 1200 square foot cabin which has 1 bedroom vs. the same size cabin with 3 bedrooms.

Another thing would be to ask what the seating arrangements are. I've seen cabins which sleep 8 or 10 people and only have enough seating in the living area and dining table for 6.

Finally, I would also ask how many steps there are to get into the cabin or chalet. To some it doesn't matter, but many people don't want to carry groceries and luggage up 20 steps to get to the door. This is especially important if you have small children or older folks in your group.

Lisa

Mississippi
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1,530 posts
21 reviews
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8. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Thanks for the heads up.

While I have booked online in the past, I always call to ask questions, if only to get a feel for the people with whom I am doing business.

I try not to call during check-in or check-out times. I always inquire as to whether or not it's a good time to ask some questions, and if not, when is a good time to call back. I want to give the person every oppurtunity to fully answer all of those questions without feeling rushed.

If they can't answer your questions, ask if there is someone in the room that can. If not then, maybe someone who will be working different hours/days. Be polite, but persistant.

If they continue to fail in this regard, it's probably a good idea to find another cabin company. Customer loyalty is earned.

Thanks again Becky for bringing these issues to our attention.

Gatlinburg...
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9. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

All of these items, plus a few more were covered in the "Sticky" post on the forum page:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g60842-i150-k20362…

Cullowhee, North...
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10. Re: How to get the vacation cabin rental of your dreams...

Becky, good post. JMH is correct though about the sticky note. I have one correction though for your information. Jacuzzi is a brand name of jetted tubs in bathrooms and maker of hot tubs. Not all hot tubs are Jacuzzi brand neither are all jetted tubs.

Jetted tubs are in bathrooms and hot tubs are everywhere else.