Monday, 29 August 2011

Villa Rental, The Do’s And Don’ts of booking a villa

Villa rental as opposed to hotel is a question that usually starts to be discussed as soon as the embers of Christmas and the effects festivities over indulgence are coming to an end.  But once you have decided on villa rental, what should be your criteria to find what you want?

The first thing to consider is whether to drive of fly.  If you fly then of course you are much more restricted in what you can take with you, whereas if you take the car there is any amount of extra stuff you can take with you, whether you need it or not.

First, if you are going somewhere exotic, although that is unlikely when you are driving, you need to check if any inoculations are required.  Booking the ferry or tunnel is also important to do reasonably soon after you have booked the property, as prices are lower in the winter even if booking for a peak week.

Once you have researched and booked the villa rental you want, the first thing to check is how to get there.  Satellite navigation is a boon, but some of the more obscure parts of Europe may not yet been on tom-tom or google maps, so ensure you have a decent paper map with you.

So all the preparation is done, and you are on your way. You need to check what time you can get in to the villa you have rented.  This is normally 4pm but can vary.  It is as well to ask if there is a welcome pack provided, or whether you need to schedule a stop at the nearest supermarket.  Checking where this is and opening times is also worthwhile, many a holiday maker has underestimated the time needed to get to somewhere on a Saturday afternoon, and then discover that all the shops are shut on a Sunday.

Once there, and settled, it is too late to decide that there are not enough bedrooms, or that granny has to go up three flights of stairs, so be sure of the configuration of the villa before you set out and that it conforms to the size of your family! Good Villa Rental Agencies generally have lots of photographs of each villa on their web site with details of each room of the villa you are renting. If they don’t, ask yourself why?

Research into the local area before departure is always worthwhile.   Knowing where the best beaches are, restaurants, places of interest and for the kids, the nearest amusement parks are all tasks that can be undertaken ahead of departure.

 Once in the villa, you need to know where the electricity switch is and read about the facilities provided.  Many don't bother and then when a fuse trips in the night are unable to fix the problem.

 Leave some time to clean up.  Most villa rental companies ask you to leave the property in the state that you found it. Normally a deposit will be taken to be held against damages and breakages that might occur, so don't mistreat the place and if you do break something expect to pay to replace it although most companies will not charge for the odd glass or plate.

This all comes down to choosing the right villa, which in most cases is down to talking directly to the owner or the agency looking after the house.  Most agencies know the houses that they are renting and can usually alert you to facts that you had not considered, such as wheelchair access or Granny upstairs as I have mentioned.  But discovering in advance what is around the house, is it on a main road for instance, and where are the nearest local shops and restaurants,  is all vital knowledge and the villa rental agency are usually only too happy to point out the pitfalls and suggest possible entertainments that you had not considered.

Overall then, it is best book a villa through an agent that speaks your language, better still if you are English, find an agent that is English, then nothing can get lost in translation.  But most of all enjoy your selves!