Planning for vacations each year is easy if you own a vacation home. Buying a second home may seem expensive, but many vacation homes are located in remote areas where land values are lower. Also, if you combine finances with friends or family members, you can get a good vacation home for considerably less money. Some people who buy vacation homes also list them as rentals for other people looking for getaway accommodations. When traveling, the cost of paying for hotel rooms can add up pretty quickly. Plus, you never know exactly what to expect when going to a hotel. A vacation home can be your reliable home-away-from-home that you revisit throughout your life. You can decorate and furnish it however you'd like, and your place will be waiting for the next time you're on holiday.

Where are nearby land values cheapest?

Unless you want to pay for plane tickets each year, you should find a vacation home that's within driving distance. A local realtor can help you evaluate the different getaway locations near you while also looking at housing prices in those areas.

Anyone want to split the ownership and benefits?

Maybe you're not the only person you know who wants a vacation home? It's incredibly common for family and friends to purchase these homes together, so everyone has a place they can retreat to throughout the course of the year. If you do this, be sure to find a good attorney who can draw up a rock-solid ownership contract, just to make sure everyone is protected in making this sizable investment.

Are there nearby amenities?

A good vacation home will have anything you could need withing a short driving distance. Even if you're not near a huge city, you should be certain that the home you're renting is near a convenience store, or a hospital, etc. You don't want to arrive at your vacation home only to find that you're cut off from nearby food and supplies.

What is the cancellation policy?

Nobody likes cancelling vacation plans, but sometimes things happen that require travelers to stay put. For this reason, you should always ask about vacation home cancellation policies before leaving on your vacation.

Do any agencies offer vacation homes in my destination area?

Although you can save money by booking a vacation home rental through a private owner, there are also vacation home rental agencies that can get you hooked up with a nice place. A big benefit of booking through an agency is that if something happens with your planned vacation home -- such as the need for an emergency repair -- then you can be easily moved to another comparable home nearby. Going through an agency can help to ensure that you have a hassle-free vacation experience. Some people also feel better about their credit information being handled by vacation home agencies instead of private parties.

Are the pictures current?

Always ask if the pictures you're seeing of vacation home properties are current. Sometimes, these homes can be drastically remodeled, or the surrounding areas can undergo lots of changes in relatively short amounts of time. Wherever you end up going should be exactly what you want from your vacation experience.