Savvy skiers know you often get better value -- and more room -- with a house or condo than a hotel. Here, two frequently overlooked rules to rent by:
Get a comprehensive contract. Rates, cleaning fees, and sales and lodging taxes should be itemized, and payment due dates should be spelled out, says William May, director of the Vacation Rental Association. Special arrangements, like late departure, should also be included.
Protect your money. Don't wire a payment; you should be able to secure phone or Internet reservations using a credit card. It's also a good idea to safeguard your deposit by taking photos of the property when you arrive so that you won't be charged for someone else's damage.