If you’re looking for an unconventional international getaway, consider renting a vacation villa. Staying at these temporary homes away from home can give you and a true sense of a location’s culture — one that few travelers get to experience when staying at more formal digs, like hotels.
Although villas can potentially afford you the accouterments of home living, if not researched properly your vacation could be disastrous. Before renting a vacation villa, there are essential things you must consider.
Choose your villa wisely
There are tons of rental possibilities on websites advertised by rental agents, but it is likely that these agents may not even visit the villas.
Vacation villas often go by different names, as they are often represented by several agencies. Insist that your agent give you the real name of the villa so that you may research the best price possible.
Know exactly what you are paying for by asking about detailed amenities lists, staffing information and any taxes or surcharges.
Ask specific questions like whether a particular property’s style resonates the signature style of the area. Also, demand to know the good and the bad details.
Know your agent
Perhaps the most important thing of all is to know your villa rental agent. Should an unforeseen problem arise during your stay, how accessible will your agent be?
Oftentimes, the agent is not the owner of the property. In these cases, make sure that the agent and the owner have a sound and communicative relationship.
If your rental agent does not initially ask you specific questions concerning your rental expectations, that’s a very bad sign. It is to your benefit that your villa agent speaks the language of the area and is extremely familiar with his or her properties. Find a trustworthy broker who is willing to disclose the lowdown on the pitfalls.
Enjoy your stay
Once you finally arrive to your destination, expect to spend time learning basic living protocol if you are a stranger to the region. This cuts in on your vacation time, so try to do as much research on the area as possible before you arrive.
Your agent should serve as your information ambassador, making house books, Web resources and brochures readily available to you. This information should detail exactly what your travel package includes.
Expect the unexpected
Do not take expected luxuries for granted and have a firm idea of what to expect. Some properties come with animals, the owner or live-in employees.
There also may be basic things that you might expect but that are not readily available, like cleaning supplies and certain appliances. Additionally, common comforts may not be so accessible either. There may be a limited water supply, little to no Internet access or poor electricity (or none at all).
There is a possibility that not every bedroom will have a bathroom, and not every villa may have a bathroom. Outhouses are not all that rare in some areas of the world.
Plan in advance
You don’t want to travel halfway around the world to a place like Southeast Asia, for example, just to discover that you’ll need to hire out a philippines investigation unit to find the nearest market that sells your beloved hamburger meat.