- South Lake Tahoe is located 62 miles S of Reno, 105 miles E of Sacramento, 189 miles E of San Francisco, 450 miles NW of Las Vegas, 485 miles N of Los Angeles.
- Most of the ski resorts are located around the north end of the lake however three popular resorts, Kirkwood, Sierra-at-Tahoe and Heavenly, are located on the southern end.
- A few popular resorts are...
- Heavenly Mountain Resort: the largest ski area in California and Nevada, located near Stateline
- Squaw Valley: the second largest ski area, known for its hosting of the 1960 Winter Olympics, located near Tahoe City
- Alpine Meadows: a medium sized ski area on the north shore only a few miles from Squaw Valley
- Northstar at Tahoe: a popular north shore ski area
- Kirkwood Mountain Resort: a ski area which gets more snow than any other ski area in the Tahoe region
- Average August temps are 78F hi to 40F low. January is 41F hi to 15F low.
For more info on what Lake Tahoe has to offer see our video gallery below
- Make a reasonable offer
Travel experts suggest making a reasonable offer. It can't hurt to ask and if an owner/manager is motivated this can save you hundreds of dollars.
- Ask about last minute deals
When a property is vacant and it appears that it won't be rented in the next few days, owners are especially motivated to try to make a deal. If you make it known that you are considering multiple properties and will book the best deal some owners/managers will compete for your business.
- Inquire about "hero" discounts
Some owners/managers are willing to provide a discount to renters who are "American heros" such as military, police, fire fighters, veterans, teachers, and others.
- Try to deal with property owners as opposed to managers
Property owners have the greatest flexibility and motivation. They are much more likely to work with you to make a deal than a property manager who gets paid the same whether a property is rented or not. Some property managers however also have incentives to try to make a deal so don't shy away from asking about discounts just because you're dealing with a property manager.
- Get a written price quote
This is the only way to compare the true cost of vacation properties. Cleaning charges, taxes, parking or resort fees, and more may apply. Even if you haven't yet decided on which property you want, get a quote so that you can compare the true cost of that property.
Not all of the following questions will be relevent for everyone's situation but look them over to see what might be important to you. Be sure you know about all additional fees, deposits, and refund policies.
- You're oceanfront but is there a view?
Many properties are advertised as being oceanfront but that doesn't necessarily mean you'll have a great view. Is the view unobstructed by other structures? What exactly do you see from the blacony or living room? Do you get a sunrise or sunset view? If there's a balcony, what type of patio furniture is provided? If the property is located "on the beach", exactly how accessible is a nice sandy beach? Is the beach right out the front door, across a busy street, down the road, or...?
- How accessible is the property?
Is the property easy to access? Is parking plentiful? How far is the front door from the parking area and are there stairs or other obstacles? Is the property on the ground floor and if not, how many stairs need to be climbed? Is there an elevator?
- Are there noise issues?
Are there any noise issues such as heavy traffic, trains, flight paths, entertainment venues, bars, construction, etc? Is the unit close to swimming pools, play grounds, tennis or basketball courts, a club house, or other potentially noisy activities?
- What about neighbors?
If the property is a condo are there neighbors above or next door? Does the unit have good privacy?
- Is the kitchen well equipped?
If you plan to cook check to see if there are adequate cooking utensils, a good assortment of pots and pans, measureing cups, strainers, serving/storage bowls, knives, and a big cutting board, bottle opener, cork screw, etc. How many people can be served with plates, bowls, large glasses, wine glasses, silverware, coffee cups, etc? Is everything in good condition. Is there a working toaster and coffee maker? Is coffee provided? Are there any spices, cooking oils, condiments, or staples provided?
- Is the bathroom well equipped?
Is an adeqaute supply of towels provided for everyone in your group? Is there a hair dryer? Are toiletries such as soap and shampoo provided?
- What about heating and cooling?
Is there central heat and air conditioning? If not central then where are the heater and A/C units located. How much heating and cooling power do they have, how many BTUs? Are there ceiling fans?
- What about electronic devices?
How many TVs are there, what size, and where are they located? Is there a sound system? What about TV services such as cable and NetFlix?
- How close is everything you need and want?
How close is the nearest grocery store. How close are restaurants, entertainment, beaches and other attractions? What is within walking distance?
- How much is the cleaning fee?
Typically when a vacation rental is vacated someone needs to make a special trip to the property to clean that unit only. Since cleaning a house or condo thoroughly is very time consuming the owner must pay a substantial amount to a cleaning service and that expense must be passed on to the renter. Most owners and managers charge for the cost of cleaning seperately from the rental cost so they can advertise the lowest rental price possible. If you don't see the cleaning fee specified in an ad ask if there is a seperate cleaning fee and how much that is.
- Are there additional fees?
Most vacation rentals do not have fees in addition to the cleaning fee but some, primarily resorts, do charge extra for WiFi access, parking, resort fees, and more. Be sure to ask about all additional fees and get them in writing in the form of a total price quote.
- How much is the booking deposit and security deposit?
How much money is required to book a reservation, and how much money is held as a security deposit?
- What is the cancellation policy?
Most vacation rentals require a deposit to reserve the unit for you. What if you need to change your plans? How far in advance do you need to cancel your reservation to get a full refund of the deposit? What happens if you need to modify your plans and arrive/depart on dates that are different from the original reservation dates?
- What is the security deposit policy?
What is the policy on having the entire security deposit refunded? Are there situations where only a portion of the deposit is returned? How long does the owner wait before returning the deposit?
- How do you get the keys?
Most vacation rentals do not have a front desk or anyone on-site to assist with entry. How do you get the keys? Can they be accessed any time of the day or night? What happens if you can't get in?
- All properties are owner verified
Every property owner or manager is screened and verified so you can feel confident that you are dealing with a legitimate person who's authorized to provide you with the property you're interested in.
- Huge Selection
Choose from over 300,000 vacation rentals in over 11,000 cities throughout the world.
- Book Online
Many properties give you the option of booking online which means you have the security of using a credit card rather than sending a check to a stranger.
- $10,000 Peace Of Mind guarantee
Book your reservation online through FlipKey payments and you will be reimbursed up to $10,000 if (a) the home does not materially match the description, (b) the Guest cannot enter the home or, (c) payment was made properly but not received by the correct Owner or Manager
- Authentic Guest Reviews
You'll have the largest collection of authentic guest reviews in the industry at your fingertips.
- Use reputable and trusted websites to find rentals
Some of the large established vacation rental directories such as FlipKey and TripAdvisor screen and verify property owners and managers as part of the registration process. Owner profiles are also provided including direct contact informtion. Online classified ad sites such as Craigslist and Back Door provide listings of vacation rentals but anyone can post an ad and there is no screening to weed out scammers, it's buyer beware.
- Insist on paying with a credit card
Credit cards will usually refund your money if you are scammed. Also, it's more difficult for a scammer to be able to accept credit cards. Don't write a check or wire payments. As the Craigslist scam information page notes: "NEVER WIRE FUNDS VIA WESTERN UNION, MONEYGRAM, or any other wire service - anyone who asks you to do so is a scammer."
- Do a keyword search
Googling is one of your best defenses. Google the address, Google people's names and phone numbers, even Google sections of descriptive text from the ad to see if it's been copied from elsewhere. Scammers commonly lift real ads, copy them onto a new web site and lower the price to make the offer more irresistable.
- Ask to visit the property
A scammer would be unwilling to arrange an inspection for you. Even if you can't actually make a visit just making the request can give you a clue as to whether you are connected with the real owner or manager. Keep in mind that even a legitimate owner may be unwilling or unable to spend the additional time to meet someone for an inspection. If the request is granted however it's more likely that you are dealing with the real owner.
- If it's too good to be true, it just might be
If it looks like you're getting something for practically nothing, keep your antennas up and make sure to do as much due diligence as possible.
- Look for poor grammar in the ad
Speaking perfect English isn't a prerequisite to offering properties for rent but since many scammers are based in non-English speaking countries it's something to watch out for. If the English used in the ad itself is poor and the language in e-mails deteriorates as communication continues, watch out - it may be a sign that a scammer is venturing out beyond his script.
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