Renting your holiday home!
The DIY holiday property rental market has increased dramatically over the last few years. This is due to various factors including the explosion of the internet, a desire to cut out the commission charged by the high street travel agent, and the satisfaction of bringing one's own research to fruition.
So what makes a good holiday home?
Requirements from a holiday home will differ from group to group and as will indeed the reason for the holiday. It is best to make a list for both, so that when you do your research you cover all the bases.
Expanding this point. You know your family or friends who will be holidaying with you. Would they be content to be in a remote spot, or do they prefer to be within walking distance of bars and restaurants and of course the beach? Do they wish to be near leisure activities such as horse riding or golf? If you have grandparents with you do not forget that they may well want to be able to do there own thing. They will not want to be with you 24 x 7, they might wish to be able to walk into the village / town / resort to get trips for the kids, or just to have an hour on there own. Make sure you ask them what they want to get from the holiday. If you have teenagers / young adults with you, they may not thank you if there is nowhere to go 'clubbing'. The aim is to keep everyone happy.
Renting villas for holidays is very popular, they provide a general feeling of luxury. A villa sleeping traditionally 2-20 can often be cheaper than renting a room or rooms in an apartment or hotel. Most villas come complete with an outdoor pool. However wonderful it sounds you must consider Health and Safety issues. Not many pools will be fenced off so you will have to watch small children closely. If teenagers remember they might be able to swim, however consider the effects of alcohol. Even a glass of wine over the family lunch can take effect in the heat! The good thing about tents are that one is not tied to meal times and you can do just as you please, eat outdoors or in, on site or go out.
Apartments are one of the favorites with teens and families. The good thing about apartments is that they are normally grouped together around gardens / pools with a bar or and restaurant. If you have children or teenagers they can make new friends and to some extent amuse themselves. The owners may put on some entertainment. Check the advert for full details. The quality of apartments can vary so make sure you know what you are booking. There are varying types of rooms available changing form studio's, to 1, 2 or even 3 bedrooms. Fully consider your needs before make a booking. I always like to have more room than I need on holiday. So for example depending on price, for 2 persons, I tend to book a one bed room apartment rather than a studio. This provides that extra bit of space for your baggage.
Important points to consider when making your decision.
Cleaning: You will be expected to keep the villa / apartment reasonably clean and tidy. Check the detail on the website. One can sometimes arrange for someone to come and do the basics for you. This may be included in the price or incur an additional charge.
Linen change: Again check the detail regarding linen changes. Most adverts will offer a change on a 14 night holiday, however some will charge additional monies as well! If it is not clear on the advert ask! Also checking regarding the provision of towels. Some properties provide even the beach towels which will save you quite a bit of weight for a large family. More room for duty free goods!
Directions: When booking check how you will receive the address and directions from the airport. Often the website permits these to be down loaded once full payment is obtained. Ask where the keys are grouped from. It is not unusual to collect them form under the geranium pot outside, but you do need to know.
Terms and conditions: Make sure you fully read and understand these fully! These will inform you as the following: The time you can enter and must leave the concessions, (You can sometimes re-arrange this to fit in with flight times); Security Deposits (This is a refundable deposit. A claim can be made against by the owner / agent for loss or breaks); and cancellation charges.
Welcome packs: Welcome packs are often either provided for free or at a modest cost, (on a per person basis). A pack will see you through your drink and possibly light meal. That said I know some owners / agents who supply a feast fit for a king or queen. Again check the advert. If a pack is not free do consider your arrival time at your holiday home. Will the shops be open? If likely to be closed you will be grateful for the basics to be delivered for you.
Vehicle hire: Some companies will provide vehicle hire as part of the package. Check the details. Your own car is very useful for getting around and seeing the best area has to offer. Remember to take your driving license with you. If a vehicle is not provided shop around as prices do vary. But please be wary. Some companies abroad are as not health and safety conscious as others. Expect to pay for extras such as extended insurance cover, child seats or harnesses. When you collect the vehicle you will very likely be asked to hand over your credit card for details to be obtained. Make sure you fully check for dents and scratches when you collect it and when you drop if off. I know of several people who have been charged against there credit card for fresh scratches. They denied all knowledge but to no avail!
Travel Insurance: By law you are legally bound to have travel insurance. You will not even be prosecuted if you do not have it. It is simply your responsibility. Policies differ. Make sure you have full and financially adequate cover. Beware of cheap policies. They are not cheap if you end up not being covered. Do not put you or your family at risk. If you are holidaying in Europe make sure you also have a European Health Insurance Card. The card entitles you to free or reduced cost treatment in European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.
Finally enjoy your holiday it is what we all work for!