Travelers seeking an experience that emulates the feel of being a local are increasingly forgoing hotels in favor of renting another person’s home. While this can make for a unique experience, there are personal safety issues to keep in mind in such a scenario.

For starters, make sure you thoroughly read the contract so that you know exactly what is included. For example, the contract may stipulate that you will lose any deposit you’ve put down if you don’t clean up after yourself. Before signing anything, make sure that the host is legally able to rent out the home. In today’s age where websites like Airbnb attract thousands of users, there have been many legal situations involving property owners and travelers. Ask for documentation; if the person is reputable they have nothing to hide and will be forthcoming with proof.

Any payments and communications should be done via the rental company website instead of directly with the property owner. This will add another level of security and significantly reduce the odds of fraud or your identity and credit card information being stolen.

The home you’ll be renting will likely have security measures in place like an alarm and the standard door locks. As you would when visiting any foreign place, use common sense and proper judgement. Keep your valuables at home, thoroughly inspect the references and be aware of your surroundings. If it feels sketchy or unsafe, have a backup plan. This is also a helpful step should the host be a no-show.

This update is provided by travel insurance provider Trawick International. Some of our travel insurance plans include international and domestic inbound and outbound travel insurance, missionary travel insurance, trip protection and cancellation, visitor insurance, and Schengen Visa. Call 877-233-4591 for more information.