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10 Steps To Locating Your Ideal Vacation Rental

Jun 24, 2008
I once had a guest book a vacation apartment in the heart of Paris in a 17th century building and complain about the stairwell, the structure of the building and the street noise at two in the afternoon. This guest was relentless, our agency received a daily email about common living issues. Needless to say, our competitive agency commission can never justify the hand holding required for this type of guest.

The honest truth is that renting a vacation apartment is not for everyone.

If you feel that water continuously flowing from a 400 year fountain will disturb your beauty sleep or you have a notion that an air conditioner malfunction will destroy your vacation chances are you need to review these ten steps carefully before you blindly book a vacation rental.

Step 1:
With the ever increasing pound and fluctuating euro, select a rental in a region that the dollar has value. Now is the time to forgo Europe and consider your own backyard the good ole US of A, Belize, Mexico or Costa Rica.

Step 2:
If you have your heart set on a popular destination consider the season and book far in advance ( this means 6 months -12 months depending on the location and time of year) because the supply will NOT exceed the demand, unfortunately you are not the only one itching to visit Paris in June or hang with the fashionable set in St. Barts.

Step 3:
Know, understand and appreciate the local culture of your desired destination so you can prioritize your deal breaker list. Locating the perfect rental is almost as challenging as finding the ideal mate so mentally determine what you will live with and without. For example, air conditioning is a no-brainer in Hawaii yet it is not a coveted amenity in Paris or Umbria.

Step 4:
Is the rental, all inclusive and if so what does that exactly include? Will you get access to a private pool or beach? Does all inclusive include airport transfers, maid service, personal concierge service, local tax? If you do not ask you will never know and you maybe pleasantly surprised.

Step 5:
There is nothing better than having household staff ensuring that your every need is met.If you select a destinations such as Brazil or the Caribbean versus Provence or Tuscany, the cost for your household staff in the former will be considerably lower since the local labor costs are lower. The best value is always when the rental includes a butler or chef. If you do not want to share your vacation with household duties such as wrestling with unfamiliar appliances and making beds consider arranging a rental with staff.

Step 6:
Look for rentals that allow you to check in any day of the week. Try to avoid rentals that insist that you check in/check out Sunday-Sunday or Saturday-Saturday rentals. With these kind of restrictions it impedes on you securing the best possible airfares.

Step 7:
It is always best to work with rental agencies that directly represent the owners of the property. It is cumbersome when you have to go through agencies who then have to go through property management companies who then deal with the owners. Traditionally boutique agencies specializing in one location tend to deal directly with the owners. It is a sure sign that property managers are involved when an agency has a tremendous portfolio in many destinations.

Step 8:
Do you demand the creature comforts of home? If you are sensitive and picky maybe you are better off in a hotel since renting a vacation property does mean accepting it for better or worse. Have realistic expectations and do not glamorize renting a vacation property. You are moving into a villa or apartment which includes neighbors, street noise and other distractions.

Step 9:
The American notion of luxury and comfort varies from the rest of the world. Europeans can live very comfortably without air conditioning, a limited supply of hot water and no high speed Internet access. The word luxury can refer to the size or the location of the abode not necessarily the Frette linens.

Step 10:
If you are not staying at least a week than most rentals will not even consider renting to you. Let me rephrase that, the agents of course will rent to you but you will have to pay for 7 nights. There are some agencies that allow a 3 night rental with a penalty, ask and do not assume the booking policies are universal, they vary from agency to agency.
About the Author
Rita Borges, Managing Director, Paris Luxe Apartments
http://www.parisluxeapt.com, http://www.parishoneymoonrentals.com
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