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How to Save Money and Safely Rent a North Conway Cabin Rental [Infographic]

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Back in the day, vacations were planned at the kitchen table. If you were lucky you owned a Rand McNally Road Atlas, you mailed away for countless brochures from travel vacation bureaus, asked friends and family for suggestions and owned a car in good enough shape to get you to your destination!

Fast forward to 2022 and I've owned a North Conway vacation rental for 30 years.

Nothing about vacation planning even remotely resembles the days of yesteryear! Plus, most families vacation a couple times a year instead of once every few years.

Maps have been replaced by online websites and GPS, the main source of vacation destination information is the Internet, Facebook is the main source of information about our friend's and relative's travel experiences and most average families have at least two fairly new vehicles in the driveway or the travel will be done by plane!

It's much easier now a days to plan a vacation. Once the destination has been chosen, next on the agenda is choosing the perfect New Hampshire cabin rental or North Conway cabin rental. With booking sites like Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway, the search has become somewhat of a one stop shopping.

One stop shopping is easy but is it always the best choice? The plot thickens…

Several years ago HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb started allowing property managers of vacation rentals to advertise on their family of sites. The problem with allowing property managers to advertise on those sites is that VRBO and HomeAway and Airbnb started as site that listed properties being rented by owners.

Now, instead of knowing you will be dealing with the actual owners of a property you might be interacting with a property manager that represents their client's properties. Some property managers represent tens of properties while others might have hundreds!

Which leads you to wonder... what's so special about booking a vacation directly with an owner? Well, I'm just the gal to tell you!

Here are my top six reasons to Book Direct & rent a Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO)

  1. No Service Fees or Booking Fees

  2. You get to experience North Conway like a local

  3. Rent from locals & get the benefit of their experience

  4. Who else knows the ins and outs of the lodging like the owner?

  5. No middle man when it comes to customer service

  6. MORE and FREE amenities

1. NO Service Fees or Booking Fees

VRBO and HomeAway have been around since the 2000's. In December 2015, both VRBO, HomeAway and a few other sites were purchased by Expedia.

vrbo airbnb
Vrbo, Airbnb, and Expedia Service Fees

Expedia began charging an average of a 7-10% Service Fee in February 2016! This fee will be paid by YOU, our guests, when you make your payment on VRBO and HomeAway! This applies to ALL North Conway Vacation Rentals and in fact, all listings on VRBO and HomeAway.

In her blog on the new booking fees Donna Martinez owner of Sea Ranch Abalone Bay states the following in her blog about booking fees, "These fees serve to simply make a profit for HomeAway’s online booking websites, pay back shareholders and increase brand dominance and increase bookings, so increasing the cycle of profitability and growth."

Service/Booking fees are no stranger to the vacation rental industry. Airbnb charges guests a 6-12% fee, Vrbo charges guests up to 12% fee, and FlipKey charges guests a booking fee of 5-15%!!

Save Big Bucks if you do this...

The financial ramifications of the buyout of VRBO, HomeAway, Vacation and many other vacation rental sites by Expedia are astronomical!

Linda Lou Huskies, owner of Villa Seashell is the proud owner of the best vacation rental in the Caribbean. Check it out!

Kim Bergstrom, owner of the wonderful Houses of Manzanita Beach created this infographic detailing the fees...

alternatives to vrbo
Vrbo, Airbnb, Flipkey, Service Fees

Need information about how to rent an Orlando, FL vacation rental safely? My friend Sarah Elder gives a great explanation of how to check out an owner of an Orlando Vacation Rental on her Orlando Insider Vacations website.

Nancy McAleer wrote a very detailed article on Tips to Save You Thousands on Vacation. Her Vacation Rentals in Florida are fantastic!

Imagine renting a vacation rental house and getting ski lift ticket free? You'll save about that much if you book with a vacation rental owner directly. All you have to do is a bit of research to help you save vacation dollars and book a vacation rental that is a great fit for your group.

Before you start your search figure out:

  1. What city or town you'd like to vacation in?

  2. Condo, house, lodge, cabin or villa?

  3. How many guests in your group?

  4. Will you bring pets?

  5. Flexible with dates of travel or do you need an exact match?

  6. What luxury amenities do you need?

Next, pull up your favorite search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) and in the search box type in something like [town, cabin rental, amenity].

Refine the search to fit your group’s needs and hopefully, you will have a list of vacation rentals that meet your needs to choose from.

Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch has never accepted payments on any vacation rental booking site. We do our best to make a vacation in North Conway at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch affordable for most groups and one of the ways we've done that is never take payments online. Booking directly with us (Teena), you can be sure we will NEVER charge a booking/service fee.

It's our pleasure speaking with you directly and helping you plan your vacation fun! The other bad side to Expedia taking over is that ALL our contact information will be hidden as soon as they make Book It Now or BIN mandatory. They will no longer allow us to share email addresses or phone numbers. They want to ensure they get all of their booking/service fees.

Remember to bookmark


2. You Get To Experience North Conway Like a Local

Sure, you can book with any of the local hotels and motels but if you want space to spread out in, a kitchen to cook in (satisfy food allergies or to save money) and not be sequestered to the commercial side of town consider a North Conway Cabin Rental!

We host many groups traveling with elderly grandparents for a family reunion or with some that do not participate in active outdoor sports. These folks can stay home and relax, read a book, babysit, cook a gourmet meal or sunbathe out in the backyard on the river bank!


3. Rent From Locals & Get the Benefit of Their Experience

Vacation rental owners who live in the same town as their property have a wonderful gift to offer you, their experience.

Active people that live in vacation areas will know the best restaurants, hikes, bike routes, photo op stops, best activities for kids and much more plus, they can provide you with opinions about customer service, quality of food, appropriateness for children or those that are less that fit and much more!

As Nancy McAleer, owner of Anna Maria Island Home Rental says, renting a vacation rental is like getting a concierge for FREE!

We spend lots of well used time helping our guests make the most of their vacation and memories that last a lifetime!


4. No One Knows a Vacation Rental Like an Owner

Many North Conway vacation rental owners use their properties as a place to vacation so they really know their property. I know that WE do!

We are constantly and lovingly changing and improving the Lodge for our guest's enjoyment.

We do a walk through The Ranch before every guest arrives and anything that is not quite right is taken care of immediately, if possible.

Plus, we are available by phone 24/7 for questions. (Hopefully, non-emergency questions can wait till morning).

5. No Middle Man When It Comes To Customer Service

You check in after a long drive and the heat won't turn on or the toilet won't stop running. What do you do?

If you have rented directly from an owner, you call them. If you rented from a property manager you call their answering service. Most vacation rental owners either own one or just a couple of houses as opposed to property managers that oversee tens if not hundreds of properties!

Working directly with an owner is a one on one relationship from inquiry to enjoying your vacation. An owner will work with you as a guest and work hard to ensure that your vacation experience is a wonderful one!

Property owners have a lot invested in making sure that your vacation is a memorable one from start to finish. Owners that I know feel that renting our vacation rental homes is not a job, it's a great experience to help folks have fun on vacation!

6. MORE and FREE Amenities

Vacation rentals are becoming more like boutique hotels these days.

Many vacation rentals have amenities that rival hotel resorts AND there is no added fees to enjoy them all! Many amenities are becoming the norm in vacation rentals. Although some hotels charge for amenities like an indoor pool, Wi-Fi and arcade games, most vacation rentals include those and many others for free.


In an effort to make renting a North Conway Cabin Rental a safe experience, I wrote a blog titled, "Safe Rental Tips for North Conway Cabin Rentals".

Below is an excerpt from that blog…

Here are some questions that make a great starting point for you to think about and suggestions of what to ask.

  • Are you the owner of the property or are you a property manager?

  • Are you (the owner) nearby in case of problems?

  • How long have you owned the property?

  • How long ago were the pictures taken?

  • How many cars can park at the Vacation Rental?

  • How far is the Vacation Rental from [Landmark]

  • Is it on a main road?

  • How close are the neighbors?

  • Is the lot wooded or clear cut?

  • Is there a rental contract for our protection?

  • When do we get our security deposit back?

  • Are the amenities listed in the ad private or just our group?

  • When is plowing/shoveling done?

  • Is there WiFi? Is it free?

  • Is there a place outside to sit in the sun or to play a game of whiffle ball?

  • How far is it from the nearest main road?

  • Are there any adjacent or close businesses or construction companies that would wake us early?

  • Do you have a 24 hour property manager/handyman available for emergencies?

  • Do you have a floor plan of the Vacation Rental?

  • What forms of payment do you accept? Do you provide receipts?

  • How long have you been in the Vacation Rentals business?


  • Pay by wire or Western Union

  • Conduct all your dealings by email

  • Rent without talking to the Owner/Property Manager

LISTEN to your gut!

  • Read Reviews

  • Read Reviews!

  • If it sounds too good to be true..

  • FOLLOW YOUR GUT! There's no better indicator than that.

My Mom always chanted that, "Knowledge is Power." I couldn't agree more. Using the information above will help you gather information about a vacation rental from the person who knows the property best, the owner!

Our History With North Conway Vacation Rentals

Here at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch we have a long history in North Conway. We vacationed in the Mount Washington Valley every year and as soon as possible, made the cozy village our home! These days we shop local, eat local, play local and have great relationships with the local craftspeople and business owners.

We take pride in booking directly and offering you an alternative to VRBO! We are happy to offer traditional hospitality that you won't find at a hotel.

Our guests know they can turn to us for the inside scoop on great restaurants, hikes that are perfect for young families, where to see wildlife, if something is a good value, great photo op spots and much more.

Our "repeat offenders" as we jokingly refer to our wonderful guests that return year after year and always comment on our updates that Russ and I have added to our lovely space.

For almost 30 years, we have welcomed groups of families or friends to our North Conway cabin rental. We have watched many children grow and eventually many of them have returned to offer the same great experiences they enjoyed as kids to their children.

Summer 2021 we looked forward to hosting a family group that the Dad was a guest of ours when he was a wee lad! Knowing that a young child, more than 20 years ago, made vacation memories that have truly lasted a lifetime is priceless to me!!

We LOVE what we do and hope a vacation at Russ-Tee Bucket Ranch will be the beginning of a love affair with your group and all that North Conway, NH has to offer!

We look forward to sharing our special space in this beautiful world with you. Don't hesitate to phone us to discuss a rental or pick our brains for family friendly Things To Do in North Conway!




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