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What to do when they don’t meet expectations

Many vacation rentals look more appealing on their listings than in person.

To say that Alan Muskat’s accommodations in Costa Rica were a vacation rental disaster would be an understatement.

“It was horrible,” Muskat says. Mosquitoes buzzed through gaping holes in the screens. Termites infested the kitchen. The roof leaked.

“Worst of all, it had fleas,” he remembers.

Muskat rented the house through Airbnb and paid just $1,200 for the entire month, which seemed almost too good to be true. Turns out, it was.

Vacation rental stays don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, properties don’t match their description. Sometimes, owners neglect to clean — or fumigate — the home. And sometimes, your money’s gone.

But that doesn’t have to happen to you. A little pre-trip research and quick action when something goes wrong can help you avoid a replay of Muskat’s vacation rental disaster. Also, don’t believe everything you read.

How to handle a vacation rental disaster

You can avoid a vacation rental disaster by doing your homework, experts say.

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