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Vacation Rental Tips

Strategies to ensure your expectations are exceeded, and your experience maximized when renting condos, villas, and timeshares.

Weigh the pros and cons of renting  privately.
Independently renting a vacation may be slightly cheaper, since owners aren’t paying fees to real estate or property management firms. On the other hand, though, rental agencies pre-screen properties, have better access to unbiased information, provide alternative options, and can present you properties touting such concierge services local guides, housekeeping staff, chef, and other amenities.

Order your priorities
Decide on the kind of experience you want, location, time frame, and budget; create a short list of ordering them by priority. If you are working on your own with several agencies, note that availability calendars aren’t always current, and listings may not reflect the competition/ alternatives offered by another rental agency. Your best alternative may be to utilize the services of a travel professional specializing in villas, as they will have multiple sources and villa agencies available.

Ask for detailed information and multiple photos
Prior to renting any villas or condos, make sure you obtain detailed information about location, number of units and size, layout, facilities, age of furnishings or buildings, and location of nearby attractions or amenities. Additionally, villa listings should include several interior and exterior views specific to that unit. Be wary of fish-eye lenses designed to make rooms look bigger. If you are renting without the services of a travel professional, ask detailed questions about everything from sleeping arrangements and kitchen gear to location of the nearest grocery. Initial contact can be by e-mail, but, particularly if you’re renting from a private owner, phone conversations can give you a better sense of whether the property is a good match.

Get everything in writing
A detailed rental agreement should spell out payment and the responsibilities of both renter and owner, whether an individual or management company. In some instances, there may be multiple agreements when several agencies are involved.

Weigh payment options carefully
Never wire money through Western Union. Instead use a credit card; many villa or condo owners now accept them through PayPal.

Travel insurance is a must
Because they can’t rely on walk-up business the way hotels do, villa and condo vacation rentals have strict cancellation policies; most don’t allow refunds within 30 to 60 days of arrival. A good travel professional will recommend the best insurance policies providing trip cancelation coverage and trip interruption coverage. A great professional will also offer and recommend a “Cancel for Any Reason” option that provides coverage of up to the full amount cancellation penalties should you decide to cancel for any other non-covered reason, including “I changed my mind”.

Don’t sweat the small stuff
Should there be serious problems, you must bring this immediately to the attention of your local contact as well as your agency. However, keep in mind that these residences are sometimes historical buildings or conversions and as such, may have quirks and nuances of ‘character’ not often found in newer vacation accommodations. Although it may be a nuisance, for example, “traditional” plumbing should be forgiven in an Italian villa overlooking the rolling countryside with spectacular rooms, palatial salons, and plenty of gathering space. While a hotel may have all the modern amenities, it will certainly lack the villa’s unique charm, location, and grandeur.

Use the services of a professional
Pride Travel’s owners and founders have over two decades of combined experience in the vacation ownership and rental market. Collectively, they have bought and sold dozens of properties, held real estate licenses, managed their personally owned portfolio of properties, and rented through agencies and exchange companies. This brings a treasure trove of knowledge and experience to the table of every condo and villa vacation rental transaction on your behalf.