Renting Your First Vacation Home

Congratulations on the decision to take a well-earned vacation! Americans don’t take nearly enough of them, compared to our European counterparts, and it’s no wonder we’re so stressed all the time. You’ll soon be on your way to your best vacation-self, which is probably going to be your favorite-self. We’ve got a few tips to make the planning process easy and your first vacation home experience unforgettable.

Start with the sleeping accommodations.

We’re biased but we think this is the fun part. You’ll want to decide if you prefer the Northern Hills (Deadwood and Lead area) or the Southern Hills (Custer to Hill City). You might also love Rapid City, Spearfish, or Sturgis, though they’re less popular as vacation destinations. Once you’ve decided the area, browse for cabin rentals and choose the one you love. If you can be a little bit flexible on dates, you might be able to find a great deal.

Pro tip: We usually have a handful of new homes under contract with us but still being built, so if you don’t see what you’re looking for, just let us know and we can send over more options that aren’t listed yet.

Next, take care of logistics.

Are you flying in or driving? Will you need a rental car? Dining out, catering, or cooking at the cabin? This is also a good time to plan your excursions and reserve any ATV’s, boats, kayaks, or bicycles you plan to rent. Be sure to reserve the things that are important to you in advance. When we were young, dumb college kids (yikes-years-ago) we tried to wing it in the Black Hills over Labor Day weekend and couldn’t find a hotel room under $800/night for the two of us. It’s smart to plan ahead on lodging, and “can’t miss” excursions, even if you decide to play the rest of the trip by ear.

Plan for a grocery run on the first night.

Whether you’ll be cooking at the cabin or enjoying the great restaurants in the area, you’ll probably want to stock a few snacks, drinks, and supplies. It’s easiest to task a few people from your group with a food-run to pick up the perishable items you couldn’t bring with you, beer for the cabin, etc.  Keep in mind, if you’re shopping in Deadwood or Custer, you’re going to see “tourist prices” which are higher. We personally do most of our grocery shopping in Rapid City at Safeway on Mountain View Rd, Family Fare Supermarket on Mount Rushmore Rd and Staple & Spice Market for health and specialty items. There’s also a year-round Black Hills Farmers Market every Saturday morning that we almost never miss. #shoplocal #shopsmallbusiness

We’ve got your basic supplies covered.

Cabins are basically souped up hotels. Vroom. You can expect fresh, soft bedding, pillows, and towels. Some owners even provide shampoo, conditioner, and body wash and you can always ask us about it. Trailhound cabins also have full kitchens stocked with pots, pans, plateware, utensils, coffee maker, microwave, and toaster. Some even have things like coffee and Crockpots at the owner’s discretion, so feel free to ask if you’re curious. You can also expect a starter supply of paper towels and toilet paper. We try to be more generous with our starter supplies than other vacation rental agencies and you’ll usually have enough to last the duration of your stay. However, once supplies run out, you are responsible for getting more, so it doesn’t hurt to pick up extra if there’s any concern.

Here’s what to bring to your vacation home.

You’ll want to bring any toiletries like Q-tips, makeup wipes, toothpaste, razor, and shaving cream. Or you can be a real mountaineer and rough it for a few days, camping-style. We don’t judge. However, be sure to pack layers and a few shoe options, as our weather can be unpredictable.

Budget time for clean-up.

We ask for a few things upon departure but we promise it’s the bare minimum and less than any other competitor. This includes taking out your garbage, cleaning dishes or loading them into the dishwasher, and stripping the beds. We also ask that you clean your food items out of the refrigerator and pick up any trash left behind. However, we WON’T ask you to start any laundry, empty out the dishwasher, replace any trash bags, mess with hot tub chemicals, or do anything weird.

Pro tip: If you’d like to skip the clean-up entirely, we get it. No one wants to work on a hangover. Reach out to us in advance and for an additional fee, we’ll have our cleaning team take care of it all. You still can’t trash the place but you can leave the garbage, bedding, refrigerator, and dishes for us.

Have any questions left unanswered? Let us know! We are so excited to have you stay at Trailhound Cabin Co.!

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