Six Things To Consider When Planning A Cabin Gate-away

This past weekend my girlfriends from college and I rented this cozy cabin in McGaheysville, Virginia by the Shenandoah National Park.  Eight of us occupied this gorgeous mountain home complete with an outdoor hot tub. It has been while since the last time this many of us are under the same roof for a much-needed mini reunion.

We spent most of our waking hours eating and being satiated (what the lunar new year is all about).  Despite the rain, we enjoyed a hike on the Massanutten Ridge Trail, but definitely spent more time lying on the coach watching the Winter Olympic games + various Avengers movies while getting Beanboozled.  We chit-chatted away in the hot tub in the afternoon breeze and under the star-studded midnight sky. We “blazed” through an absurd amount of Korean barbecue, took a three-hour soju nap, and immediately rolled out an equally impressive hot-pot spread. It was a short but sweet visit that reminded me how special these girls are to me, even when visits are few and far between.

Between my husband and I, we have rented over nine mountain cabins with friends in the past three years.  Here are six things that I have learned about picking out the most suitable cabin for the best group get-away yet:

  1. Set the budget collectively, but don’t be a stickler
    • Get a consensus of how much everyone is willing to spend on lodging, then times that with the number of campers in the group to set the budget to narrow down your options
    • Friendship is more important than saving a few bucks, be the bigger person and offer to pay for something.  It shouldn’t be an expectation but people will notice and follow suit.
    • Sign up for Venmo please if you haven’t…
  2. No more than 30 minutes from civilization
    • Even if you are with a group already, it’s still nice to be out and about, to see and to be seen.  Trust me, you don’t want to drive down the winding road with that “stomach in your mouth” feeling to your “happy hour” destination, and be on the lookout simultaneously for deer and pit-stop to puke on your way back to the cabin.
  3. Rent on trusted sites from real estate companies
    • Professional cleaning service and maintenance is what sets real estate companies apart, stay away from so-called second/vacation homes as they may not be kept up-to-date
    • If you do decide to rent from individuals, read ALL the reviews and ask questions before booking (how far away is the trash disposal/are accidental fees included?)
  4. Budget for accidental damages
    • Set the expectations with your group just in case something breaks.  With a big group, damages may just be inevitable.
  5. Read the house manual
    • It’s great to pocket some nice credit card points as the person who makes the reservation, but be prepare to answer ALL the questions from wifi password to locating salt from your peeps
  6. Decide on your non-negotiables
    • Expansive views, organic eggs, peaceful surroundings, patio, hot tub, wifi, multiple bathrooms, pet/child accommodations and etc
    • This reminder is mainly to help others to cope with being away from all the essentials from home.  You however, should embrace the trip as an opportunity to try to be a minimalist for a few days and care less.  You may have to share a bathroom after all.

Trustworthy Sites to Book Your Next Cabin Getaway:

Where have you rented vacation homes with a large group of friends? I would love to hear about your lessons-learned!


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