If you go

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - TRAVEL -

Find­ing the per­fect beach rental: I used HomeAway.com and its part­ner, VRBO.com. They’re very sim­i­lar, but I pre­fer VRBO’s fil­ter setup for ease of use — so you can eas­ily spec­ify a beach­front lo­ca­tion, the max­i­mum rent you want to pay, and in­clude ameni­ties such as an out­door grill, in­ter­net ac­cess, etc.

Beware that both sites in­clude a book­ing ser­vice fee that isn’t clearly listed, and al­most all rentals add clean­ing fees (some­times sub­stan­tial) on top of the listed rental price. The ser­vice fee is, on av­er­age, about 6 per­cent of the rental amount, ex­clud­ing re­fund­able de­posits or taxes. When you book and pay through these two web­sites, you get pro­tec­tion of your full rental pay­ment against list­ing fraud, phish­ing, “sig­nif­i­cant” mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion and more.

I al­ways feel most com­fort­able if the prop­erty owner or man­ager re­sponds quickly to queries. I like to speak to them by phone so I get a clear feel­ing that they are who they say they are.

I’ve had bet­ter luck with VRBO and HomeAway rentals than with Airbnb. With Airbnb, I’ve seen more mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion by land­lords — such as the Kauai rental that claimed to be a peace­ful river­side walk from the ocean but turned out to re­quire hik­ing the nar­row shoul­der of a busy high­way. With any on­line of­fer­ing, care­fully in­spect photos and read re­views (re­cent re­views are best). Try to get a street ad­dress so you can go to Google Street View and see the neigh­bor­hood. If any­thing feels fishy, ask the land­lord for ref­er­ences and make more calls.

If you don’t find what you want on the first look, try al­ter­nate dates or re­vise your fil­ters. On the North Shore of Oahu, you rarely need air con­di­tion­ing; just open win­dows and let the trade winds blow through. And maybe, for this week of re­con­nect­ing with fam­ily or friends, you don’t need the in­ter­net. (Un­plug, you might like it.)

More about Oahu’s North Shore: The laid-back town of Haleiwa (“hawlay-EE-va”) is the fo­cal point of Oahu’s North Shore com­mu­nity. It’s about 40 min­utes, via In­ter­state H2 and Hawaii 99, from Honolulu In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Or take the less di­rect, slower and much more scenic Hawaii 83 (Kame­hameha High­way) along the is­land’s wind­ward shore through Ka­neohe and Kahuku (al­low 90 min­utes or more).

Art walk: Ev­ery sec­ond Satur­day, 3-7 p.m., is Art Walk evening in Haleiwa. Gal­leries and shops stay open late and you can meet lo­cal artists. See gonorthshore.org/ haleiwa-art-walk.

His­toric walk­ing tour: Take a 90-minute walk­ing tour of his­toric Haleiwa. Tour by ap­point­ment (at least 48 hours no­tice needed): $10. Visit Haleiwa Shin­gon Mis­sion, Lili’uokalani Church, Wa­ialua Court House and more. See gonorthshore.org/his­tory-and-tours.

More in­for­ma­tion: gonorthshore.org

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