Holiday Villas - A Spacious Alternative To Hotels

When planning a holiday, most people automatically assume a hotel is the best option for lodging. However, many alternate types of accommodations are available including villas. Also called condominiums or apartments, villas are available in all sizes and in choice locations throughout the world. Equipped with full-sized kitchens, separate bedrooms, living rooms and more, two of the primary advantages of renting a villa are additional freedom and added space, especially if traveling with small children.

Because villas have separate rooms, small children can nap undisturbed by the noise of others in the travel party. In addition, when awake, little ones have plenty of room to play. A child's gear (such as stroller, swing, travel bed and toys) is more easily accommodated in a villa than a standard hotel room. Likewise, large travel parties will find villas offer additional freedom and comfort.

Search for Villas Online

International Travel News states France has over 5,000 properties for rent with Italy falling only slightly behind. Although villas are more popular in Europe than in the United States, they can be found in virtually every country. How are villas located? The most common method is via the Internet.

Most villa rental organizations offer an on-site search engine that asks for travel dates, holiday destination, number of bedrooms required and the budget figures. Results are returned and offer detailed descriptions and photos of available properties. It is similar to the process used when searching for hotel accommodations.

Know What To Expect

When booking a villa, especially one in a country other than your own, Road and Travel Magazine suggests enquiring about the availability of domestic staff, any additional charges for domestic services, local contacts in case of emergency and if any local construction or other noisy or unsettling activities that may be taking place during your stay.

In addition, travel experts agree that finding out about the rental company itself is imperative. It is prudent to work with a property management company that has been in business several years. Ask for a local street address and telephone number if that information is not offered on the company's website.

Most management firms will require a deposit of 10%-25% at the time of booking. Another deposit (usually 25%) is due several weeks prior to your arrival. Security deposits are also common and should be included as an expected expense. When you check-in, the remaining balance for your accommodations will be remitted. Security deposits are normally refunded once the villa has been inspected after your departure. Never work with a property management company who requests full payment upfront or a company who requires payment in cash.

Location, Location, Location

As with any holiday accommodations, one of the top priorities is the facility's proximity to popular attractions. Depending on which landmarks or sights are interesting to vacationers, the location of the villa will be paramount.

Is walking the preferred mode of transportation? If so, the villa's location will be of utmost importance. Look for attractions, markets, shopping plazas and restaurants within a reasonable distance for walking.

Will a rental car be arranged? If so, the radius of acceptable distance between the villa and other needed businesses or attractions may be expanded.

Making the Right Decision

What is the best way to make a decision when it comes to villas? International Travel News, along with several other prominent websites, concur about the following list of questions:

  • Are there beds or do guests sleep on sleeper (convertible) sofas?
  • Is the villa in a heavily populated area or is it secluded?
  • How many bathrooms are in the villa and where are they located?
  • What is the age of the villa?
  • How current are the pictures featured on the website?
  • How many floors are in the building?
  • Is there an elevator?
  • What activities are nearby?
  • Is telephone service and/or Internet access available?
  • Are parking facilities available on-site?
  • What nearby markets or shopping plazas are close by?

Villas provide for an excellent, and oftentimes preferred, change from hotels. Knowing what to expect and how to effectively reserve villa accommodations means holidays have more excitement, more freedom and more fun.

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