Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to the questions that we are asked most frequently. Can’t find the answer to your question? Call us at 269-469-1412 and we are happy to help!
Please make your check out to Yellow Bird Vacations and add your reservation number to the memo line. Our mailing address is:
Yellow Bird Vacations
PO Box 315
Union Pier, MI 49129
New Buffalo Office
19405 West US Highway 12
New Buffalo, MI 49117
Union Pier Office
16201 Red Arrow Highway
Union Pier, MI 49129
Summer: Monday - Sunday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Eastern
Off season: Monday - Friday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Eastern
Union Pier office (reservations, marketing, homeowner inquiries): 269-469-1412
New Buffalo office (bookkeeping, housekeeping, maintenance, human resources): 269-469-9048
911 for police, fire and medical emergencies and also for non-emergency police calls.
Yellow Bird After-hours Emergency Hotline: 269-426-5577 - This number sends a group text to the staff on call so please identify the property that you are staying at along with the nature of your emergency so we can follow up with you as quickly as possible.
Q. How do I reserve a property?
1. Place your own reservation online at www.yellowbirdvacations.com. Reservations placed online after hours will be approved by our reservations department during the morning of the following business day. Reservations are not official until payment is received and a rental agreement is signed.
2. Call us at 269-469-1412 - we love to get to know our guests!
3. Email at [email protected] and we will respond as soon as possible.
Q. What is your cancellation policy?
Our cancellation policy is simple, if you have made payment and need to cancel, we will attempt to re-book the house. If successful, we will retain a $300 re-booking fee and refund the remainder of your payment minus credit card fees (if applicable). Your deposit is forfeited if our attempts to re-book are unsuccessful. Yellow Bird partners with CSA Travel Insurance, who offers travel cancellation insurance policies that can be added to your reservation made through Yellow Bird.
Q. What forms of payment do you accept?
Credit Cards (Visa, Mastercard,and Discover) over the phone or on our secure online reservation system (credit card payments incur a 2.75% fee)
Personal check by mail (sorry but we no longer have eCheck capability)
Q. Payment terms
We ask for a 50% down payment to be paid within seven days of placing a reservation and your final payment is due 30 days prior to your stay.
Q. What time is check-in and check-out?
Check-in: 4:00 PM Eastern
Check-out: 10:00 AM Eastern
Please note that our summer arrivals and departures are tightly scheduled and we are unable to allow early check-in or late check-out between Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend. Please ask about flexibility if you are booking off-season weekends; however, as we always try to make your stay as long as possible. We shoot for 2:00 PM Eastern for check-in and 2:00 PM Eastern for check-out during the off-season when possible, so please ask us specifically about timing. It is very important to let us know if you plan to arrive later than 5:00 PM Eastern time so we can make alternate arrangements if needed.
Q. How do I go about checking into our property?
We will email and text detailed check-in information to you approximately one week before your arrival. We ask that our guests visit our closest office to pick up keys or property lock codes and other helpful information for the home and area.
Q. What do we do to officially check-out?
Our normal check-out time is 10:00 AM Eastern Time. We ask you kindly to abide by this in the Summer to help our housekeeping staff.
1. Leave the used beds unmade. Do NOT strip the linens.
2. Place used bath towels in a bathtub or shower.
3. Please start a load of beach towels.
4. All dishes should be washed. You may leave a load running in the dishwasher.
5. Return indoor & outdoor furniture to original positions.
6. Turn off all lights.
7. Summer: Air conditioning should be left at 74 degrees. Winter: Heat should be left at 68 degrees.
8. Lock all exterior doors and close and lock all windows.
9. Please bag your garbage place it in the garbage bins. If your property offers recycling it does not need to be bagged.
10. Please move garbage cans to the curb. If your can lids will not close, please contact us immediately.
11. Important - take a good look around for items you may have left behind. We seem to find a lot of tablets!
12. Lock the house behind you, and if you were given keys, please return them to our nearest office (this address will be provided).
If the office is not open, the keys should be placed in the key drop box (next to the side door of the building) marked Key Return. You are considered checked out officially once the keys are returned to our office.
Q. Can I see the property before making the reservation?
We are happy to show a house to guests booking week long stays. Please note that our houses are often in use during weekends and visits must generally be scheduled on a weekday. We need at least 24 hours notice to ensure that houses are available and weather must be cooperative for safety reasons (yours and ours).
Q. What can we expect at the property?
All properties have unique amenities. The most efficient way to research potential properties is to view each property's page on our website. We are happy to provide additional details by email or phone. Expect a Yellow Bird property to have either internet TV, cable TV or satellite TV, wireless internet, central air and heating, and laundry facilities (unless otherwise specified). Please ask in advance if you are interested in pay-per-view or specific sporting events. All kitchens are ready for everyday meal preparation.
All of our properties are registered and inspected by local authorities where required so you can be assured of safety.
Q. What is supplied at the property for our stay?
Bed linens and bath towels for the maximum number of occupants in the house
Starter supplies including:
Two rolls of toilet paper per bathroom
One roll of paper towel per kitchen
Kitchen garbage bags
Best practice is to inventory provisions upon arrival and purchase necessities from local grocery stores. We do not provide condiments and spices for health and safety reasons
Q. Can we have extra family or friends at the property?
The occupancy limit for each property is listed on each property's web page. This is a firm number in most cases, but does not include children in pack and plays or cribs. Please be considerate of the property, neighbors, and homeowner and do not exceed this number. Violation of occupancy will void the agreement and could result in expulsion. If staying in a neighborhood with community amenities, there will be association rules that apply and thus extra guests are not permitted to use the association beach, pool or facilities.
Q. Is smoking allowed at the property?
Smoking is not permitted inside any Yellow Bird property. Cigarette or cigar butts found at a property will incur an additional housekeeping and landscaping fee so please remove them when you depart. In rare instances, some properties may be deemed as completely smoke-free (which includes the exterior premises as well) so please ask us if you have questions in this regard.
Q. Are dogs allowed?
We represent many dog friendly houses. This is detailed on each property page and there are a small handful of houses that will make special exceptions, which will be noted on our site. You can search our website for Dog Friendly properties and our reservationists are always happy to help as well. Even though we really love cats, they are never allowed for a variety of reasons. Please note that while we may have houses with fenced in yard, we can never guarantee that they are completely fenced in a 100% fool-proof manner so please keep an eye on your beloved dogs.
Q. Is public transportation available?
Amtrak provides service from Chicago via Michigan City, IN to downtown New Buffalo. Information and schedules can be found at http://www.amtrak.com. We have several houses in downtown New Buffalo that are great for a car-free getaway and our reservationists can help you identify them.
Please note that there is still not a consistent Uber/Lyft type service in New Buffalo, so we recommend the local transportation services listed on our website.
Q. Are there any cabs or buses which service the local area?
Click here for a list. A Call Away Taxi (219-215-0890) is always very helpful. Harbor Country Transportation offers taxi service for your group and is great for winery tours as well. If departing from the Amtrak station in New Buffalo, the Four Winds bus will allow you to ride (for a nominal fee) to any New Buffalo hotels or Four Winds Casino. Please schedule your winery tours in advance and make sure you have transportation lined up for your safety.
Q. Are there any hospitals/ urgent care centers close by?
Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph, MI
St. Anthony Hospital in Michigan City, IN
Lakeland Hospital in Niles, MI
Franciscan Express Care in Michigan City
Southwestern Medical Clinic in Stevensville, MI
Q. If I leave an item at the property how would the return be handled?
Returned items will incur a $25 fee plus the cost of shipping and handling.