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The use of vacation rentals has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years and is predicted to grow even more. That's because renting a vacation property instead of a cookie-cutter hotel room provides vacationers with more space, flexibility, and comfort. Here is everything you wanted to know about how vacation rentals work.

Vacation Rentals 101

The use of vacation rentals vs. hotels has been growing by leaps and bounds, with 40 percent of vacationers saying they have stayed in a vacation rental.

In a few short years, the vacation rental industry is projected to nearly double in size, with some industry experts predicting vacation rentals will overtake hotels as the primary form of lodging in the not-too-distant future.

These experts say travelers today are looking for more flexibility and options when it comes to their vacation experience. They want a vacation experience that makes them feel immersed in a locale and that they “own” their vacation property—even if it’s just for a few days, a week, a month or longer.

Read on for answers to several frequently asked questions about vacation rentals in general and also about Meyer Vacation Rentals.

Want to skip straight to the answers you need most? Click your question in the list below:

How is a vacation rental different from a hotel?

Once I book, is there a spot on your website I can find more information I should know before I go?




How is a vacation rental different from a hotel?
The experience of vacationing in a rental property differs greatly from that of a hotel. (Details)

Full kitchens are one factor that makes vacation rentals different.A typical hotel room, at an average size of 325 square feet, simply does not have much space for families to hang out and relax. On the other hand, Meyer Vacation Rentals-managed properties range in size from efficiencies to five bedrooms and almost 4,000 square feet. We have houses with one bedroom, we have houses with 20 bedrooms, and we have everything in between.

Our vacation rentals come with private bedrooms and bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen that allows you to prepare full meals, a washer and dryer, a private balcony, deck or patio.

Each vacation rental is unique—uniquely decorated and unique in its availability of amenities. With a selection of more than 1,100 vacation rental properties, Meyer Vacation Rentals has a property to suit every taste, group size and desire for amenities.

Amenities at privately owned vacation rentals run the gamut, with some offering access to indoor and outdoor pools, a sauna, a hot tub, playgrounds, fitness rooms, wireless Internet access, game rooms and on-site restaurants. Other vacation rentals have access to different amenities but offer other unique features aimed to please vacationers.

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How can I figure out which vacation rentals are available for the dates I need?
Once you are logged on to MeyerRE.com on your desktop, you will see white boxes prompting you to select your arrival and departure dates.

Meyer makes it easy to choose your dates.You may use the calendar to fill in your dates here. Or, if you are unsure of your dates, simply click the “Search” button to pull up a list of Meyer Vacation Rentals-managed properties.

Once on the results page, select your preferred filters for property type, areas, orientations, number of bedrooms, etc. Other options allow you to further refine your list by categories such as rental houses with pools, children’s pools, dog-friendly, boat friendly, ground-floor units and so on.

On a mobile search, once you select “Vacation Rentals Search,” you will be prompted to note your preferred arrival and departure dates if they are known and also your preferred property type, view and area. It is not necessary to input arrival and departure dates, however. You may choose for your results to be sorted randomly, by featured properties at the top, by price or by the number of bedrooms. Selecting “Advanced Search” will allow you to access more filters to narrow your search results. On your results page, the link “Modify Search” will return you to the “Advanced Search” option.

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In what areas are rental properties located?
Meyer Vacation Rentals offers the most diverse selection of beach houses and condos on the Gulf Coast, including 900+ condos and 200+ beach houses located throughout more than 38 miles of beachfront.

Properties are available in Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan, Orange Beach and Perdido Key.

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What’s the difference between a condo and a house?
Meyer Vacation Rentals manages both condos and houses for vacationers to rent.

Houses Vs. CondosA condominium rental is located in a multi-unit complex. While units are individually owned, property owners and their guests share access to common spaces and amenities like pools, fitness rooms, etc.

Meyer manages more than 900 condos and 200 houses along the Gulf Coast area that includes Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan and Orange Beach, Alabama, and Perdido Key, Florida.

The selection of houses varies in size, the number of bedrooms and the number of people they can accommodate. Some houses have only a single bedroom and are right-sized for romantic getaways or a small family, while others have as many as 10 or even 20 bedrooms and can accommodate up to 56 people.

Regardless of whether you select a house or a condo and regardless of the number of people it can accommodate, each property has its own unique features and décor and includes fully equipped kitchens, living areas, and private bedrooms and bathrooms.

Meyer-managed houses feature a range of amenities. Some have their own pools while others are located in a neighborhood and offer access to a community pool. Some have elevators for ease of loading in and out.

While all of Meyer’s beach houses focus on the essentials needed by vacationing families such as fully equipped kitchens and washers and dryers, some owners have opted to reach beyond the fundamentals and offer extras such as gourmet kitchens, barbecue grills, and icemakers.

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What are my options for views?
You may select from a variety of views at Meyer-managed properties. During your search for vacation rentals, simply filter your preferred results by the view.

Gulf ViewProperties with “Gulf-front” views provide an excellent beach view from your house or condo located directly on the Gulf of Mexico. There are no condos or houses between your balcony/deck and the beach. In the majority of properties, your view will be panoramic. However, at a few condos and houses, the adjacent properties are situated close to the beach on one or both sides, making your Gulf view still direct but not panoramic. The walking distance to the water’s edge varies by property.

Gulf View
When a property is considered “Gulf view,” beach views range from excellent to angled or partial from your condo located on the Gulf of Mexico. The position of the condo building or house on the beach creates the type of view from the balcony of your individual property. Your advantage, in addition to the view, is the location on the beach side of the street.

Gulf-side” view means that there is no view of the beach from your condo located on the Gulf of Mexico due to the position of the condo building. Your advantage is the location on the beach side of the street.

Gulf-oriented” view means your condo or house is located in close proximity to the beach but not on the beach side of the street. Your beach views will be either excellent, good, angled, partial or no view depending on how the buildings on the beach side of the street are positioned. In most cases, you will have easy beach access nearby.

WaterfrontA “Waterfront” view means your house or condo building is located directly on one of the bays, lagoons or bayous on the island. Views of the backwaters will be excellent from houses. Water views from condos will be excellent, good, angled, partial or no view depending on how the buildings are positioned on the backwaters. In most cases, you will have easy beach access nearby.

Course-oriented” houses or condos are located on or near a signature golf course with excellent or partial views of the course.

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How do I search for rentals large enough for my group?
When searching for vacation rentals, you may sort your results by criteria such as the number of bedrooms or by people you need to sleep.

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Can I see photos of vacation rentals?
Yes, photos can be accessed on the individual house and condo pages as well as pages that highlight the shared amenities of condo complexes.

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I’ve found some vacation rentals I’m interested in for my dates. How can I share these properties with my group or request more information?
Email to a friendFrom the individual property page, look below the main photo for icons that indicate you may email a friend, request more information or print a listing.

When you click the email a friend icon, a window will pop up prompting you to provide your name, email address and friend’s email.

Once you click “send,” your friend will receive a message directing them to click the link to view the property page.


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The property I’m interested in is not available for my selected dates. How can I find something similar?
From your desktop computer, you will see that properties with similar attributes to the one you have selected appear on all property pages. Above the “Vacation Rentals” bar at the top of your results page, you will find “breadcrumbs,” or navigation links, that will identify your location within the website and allow you to return to a previous results page.

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Do you ever run any specials?
Specials can be found on your mobile device on a tab at the bottom of the MeyerRE.com homepage. On the full site, specials and properties with hot deals can be found under the “Vacation Rentals” tab in the navigation bar at the top and also on the homepage in the “Vacation Rentals Special” block.

Joining our mailing list (click “Register” link at the top right of the homepage) and following Meyer on Facebook will alert to ongoing specials.

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Can I book my selected rental online, or do I need to call your office?
You can book and pay for your vacation directly on MeyerRE.com. You may also call one of our vacation planners 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-382-9635.

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Do you offer trip insurance?
Trip InsuranceYes, Meyer offers trip insurance that can be added to your reservation to protect your vacation investment.

Two options are available, “Cancel for Any Reason” and “Sun Trip Preserver,” both of which help protect your vacation investment in case of unforeseen circumstances such as illness To learn more about how the insurance options work, click HERE.

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How do I obtain trip insurance coverage?
It's easy! At the time you make your reservation online, select the checkbox for the desired travel insurance coverage and travel insurance will be included in the total cost.

If you are making your reservation by phone, please ask your vacation planner to add the desired travel insurance coverage to your reservation. You may choose to opt-out of this coverage online or by phone at the time of your reservation.

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What are my payment options?
An Initial Reservation Payment is required prior to arrival and is specified in Meyer’s Rental Policies. A non-refundable processing fee to cover expenses associated with the initial reservation is due at reservation time and applies to all reservations.

Final payment, which is the balance due after the Initial Reservation Payment has been paid, is required prior to arrival. See Meyer’s Rental Policies for specific details.

Payment may be made by online or by calling 1-800-382-9635 via MasterCard, Visa, Discover or American Express. Final payment may also be paid by cashier’s check, money order or certified funds. Personal checks are not accepted.

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What are your rental policies?
It is very important to carefully read and understand the Rental Policies, as this document is binding and detailed and addresses a variety of frequently asked questions.

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What happens if something goes wrong with the pool or elevator at my vacation rental?
Just as in your own home, sometimes breakdowns occur. Availability of on-site amenities, such as pools, is not guaranteed. No refunds will be issued for changes made by individual property owners or unavailable amenities.

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What if I need to cancel my reservation?
To cancel your reservation, you will need to call one of our vacation planners at 1-866-382-9635.

Cancellations may be made and refunds issued (excluding non-refundable processing fee) within a certain number of days prior to reservation check-in date.

See the Rental Policies for details.

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Are there plenty of attractions, grocery stores and shops, and restaurants near my rental?

Shopping while on vacationGulf Shores and Orange Beach have the most restaurants, attractions, grocery stores and shops to choose from.

Perdido Key and Fort Morgan are a bit less concentrated with vacation rentals and thus do not have quite as many options to choose from. But the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is a small enough destination where nothing is very far away. (Condo & House Maps)

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What’s the best way to access the destination?
The Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is typically thought of as a drive-in destination, with easy access from U.S. Interstates 10 and 65.

If driving, once exiting I-10 or I-65, you’re only about an hour’s drive or so from the beach! (Driving Directions & Maps)

Most fly-in visitors use the Pensacola International Airport, which is a 45-minute drive east, or Mobile Regional Airport, which is an hour’s drive west. (Details)

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Can I bring my pets with me to my rental?
Dogs are the only pets allowed in Meyer’s dog-friendly properties. Certain weight and seasonal restrictions apply to some of these properties. Details may be found on each property page within our dog-friendly collection.

According to local laws, dogs are not allowed on beaches except in Fort Morgan, where they must be on a leash. In addition, dogs must be on a leash outside of the property. (Details)

There are three dog parks where dogs may be unleashed, one of which is a dog pond located at Gulf State Park. (Details)

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Are there any vacation rentals that welcome weddings?
Wedding-friendly propertiesYes, we have a select few wedding-friendly vacation rentals. (Details)

Wedding-friendly properties allow weddings outside the property (not inside) with certain restrictions and guidelines as noted on our wedding-friendly properties page.

Wedding-friendly properties also require a non-refundable fee ranging from $250 to $500 per property.

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Does my rental have entertainment options?
Your vacation rental includes basic service cable- or satellite-connected TVs and DVD and/or BluRay players.

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What about Internet access/Wi-Fi?
Each individual property details page lists available amenities, including whether Internet access is available. The majority of Meyer-managed properties are Internet access enabled.

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Do we need to bring our own linens?
Beds are made with linens in all vacation rentals, and bath towels and washcloths are provided in bathrooms. Hand towels, however, are not provided for the bathrooms.

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Do you provide toiletries such as soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc., and paper products?
You will need to bring these items to your rental. A complimentary starter kit of supplies is provided for the kitchen, including a dish sponge, two dishwasher tabs, a roll of paper towels and a kitchen trash bag placed in the can.

Each bathroom is equipped with a roll of tissue, a small and a larger bar of soap, and a small trash bag placed in the can.

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What does my vacation rental kitchen come equipped with? Should I bring extra kitchen equipment?
Fully equipped kitchensKitchens in vacation rentals include glassware, flatware, and dinnerware based on the number of guests the rental can sleep. A variety of utensils is also included, such as a basting spoon, bottle opener, butcher knives, can opener, colander, corkscrew, grater, measuring cups and spoons, storage containers and more.

Small kitchen appliances that come standard in vacation rentals include a blender, automatic drip coffeemaker, hand mixer, microwave, and toaster.

The kitchen will also contain cookware such as a broiler pan for the oven, casserole dish, cookie sheet, baking dishes, fry pans, mixing bowls, muffin tin, pizza pan, saucepans and a shrimp pot.

General cleaning equipment such as a broom and dustpan, iron, ironing board, mop and vacuum cleaner are also available within the property.

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Can I bring my boat or personal watercraft?
A select few vacation rentals are considered boat friendly and welcome guests who wish to bring boats or personal watercraft. Boat-friendly properties will feature an icon on the property page indicating that boats are allowed. Please be sure to review the amenities list on the property page for more information. (See Boat-Friendly Properties)

In properties not noted as boat friendly, boat trailers or trailers of any kind are not allowed.

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How many cars can we bring and park at our vacation rental?
Parking is limited at ALL Meyer-managed properties, especially condos, where the number of parking passes is limited to the number allowed by the property owner association—typically one or two per reservation.

To find out the number of parking passes your selected rental permits, check the amenities list on each property details page.

Trailers are not allowed in condo parking lots and may be towed by the property owner association.

Extra cars may be parked in Meyer’s Gulf Shores parking lot at your risk and subject to availability.

Parking at houses is limited to the number of vehicles that comfortably fit within the driveway space.

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When are the times of highest demand for vacation rentals?
Summer on the Gulf CoastVacation rentals vary in occupancy during seasonal timeframes. The period of highest demand is “peak summer,” when vacationers tend to reserve most properties in a Saturday-to-Saturday pattern.

Peak summer demand is followed by late spring and early summer. Demand tapers somewhat during spring, late summer and ending summer, while fall and winter seasons offer vacationers the greatest selection of properties. (See current Seasonal Calendar)

If you are interested in reserving a house for a summer week, is important to book early, as they tend to book a year or even two in advance.

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What is the weather like there?
The weather on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast is temperate year round.

View Meyer’s weather page for a snapshot of the current weather, the forecast and average monthly temperatures and precipitation. (Weather)

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What are some of the top festivals and activities in the area I can plan a visit around?
Fun festivals are held year round on the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast. Some of the most popular are held during the fall.

FestivalsFor example, the Wharf Uncorked Wine and Culinary Event is held in September, and the World Food Championships and the Hangout Oyster Cook-Off and Craft Beer Weekend are held in November.

But perhaps the most well-known festival held all year is the Annual National Shrimp Festival. More than 300,000 people come to browse 300+ art vendors, listen to music on multiple stages, entertain the young and young at heart at the Kids’ Zone, run in the 5K or 10K race, and so much more.

With the Shrimp Festival so popular, it is wise to make your vacation rental reservation as soon as possible so your group is near the Gulf Shores Public Beach festival grounds.

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How do I learn more about what there is to do in the area?
MeyerRE.com is a wealth of information about fun things to do in the area. Click the “Area Information” tab for info about beach areas, restaurants, attractions, concerts, calendar of events, etc.

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Where do the locals go to eat?
Locals love to eat! And that means seafood, burgers, gourmet cuisine, and everything in between.

If seafood is your choice, check out this list of popular seafood restaurants. (Seafood Restaurants)

See our Dining and Nightlife page for more options.

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Are there usually long wait times for restaurant dining?
There can be a bit of a wait for seating at restaurants during the busy summer season. But, during the spring and fall, getting into your favorite places to eat is no problem.

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Some in my group enjoy exploring nature and seek out activities that thrill during vacation. What are the options for them?
Nature trails offer adventureThere are nature trails winding throughout the Gulf Coast area for hiking and biking. Kayaking is another popular activity, and there are several options for renting the needed equipment.

There are also high-adrenaline activities to enjoy, such as roller coaster rides at the brand new The Park at OWA, located in Foley. Or, check out The Track Family Recreation Center to ride the Wild Woody or the Spinning Coaster. An on-site arcade is lots of fun.

There are also plenty of mini golf courses to play, and the Hummingbird Ziplines at The Wharf at Orange Beach.

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Some in my group prefer a more relaxing vacation experience. What are the options for them?
Shopping is always a fun activity, especially with the Tanger Outlets Foley just north of Gulf Shores.

There are also several spas for those who enjoy being pampered on their vacation.

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Once I book, is there a spot on your website I can find more information I should know before I go?
Get ready to relax! Our “Know Before You Go” is designed to provide you with everything from a Meyer Vacation Rentals Vacation Handbook to details about special events, restaurants, beach tips and paying your final balance. (Details)

In addition, you will automatically begin to receive emails and text messages not only confirming your reservation but also providing important check-in instructions, payment details, area information and more.

A vacation rental is an ideal way to offer your family plenty of gathering space, privacy, a fully equipped kitchen for preparing meals, and the opportunity to live like a local during vacation. After all, you’ll be staying in someone’s beach home!

Make your family’s beach vacation reservations today at a beach house or condo.

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