Holiday villa is the most popular type of self-catering holiday, in which holidaymakers are responsible to cater for their own needs. This type of holiday is increasing in popularity as more and more private landlords are flocking to the Internet to advertise their property and as a result, prices are on a par with traditional accommodation such as hotels. If you are thinking of lashing out on this type of holiday during 2014, we have put together a number of practical tips you must be made aware of.
Booking Methods – Holiday villas are available from travel agents who act as the middleman between yourself and the landlord. Alternatively, more and more properties are offered privately from the landlords themselves. To secure your booking and keep other holidaymakers at bay, a deposit of up to 30% might be required well before the holiday date. In such case, if you decide to use a travel agent ensure that the local tourist authority governs them so your money is guaranteed should the travel agent run into monetary difficulties. On the other hand, private landlords are not bound by the same standards and government legislation so you should attempt to reduce the deposit amount.
What To Look For – 99% of guests will start their research by looking into the interior of the villa, as opposed to the physical location of the property and its position within the local area. The trick to complete satisfaction when it comes to self-catering is to combine location and interior. In terms of interior spec, you should ensure that the villa includes items that you and your travel party will require from Wi-Fi to catch up on work (only if you must!) to white goods in the kitchen so you are able to cater for your party’s needs. In terms of location, head to Google Maps (here), type the address and look at the following as an example:
- How close are the neighboring properties. Privacy is often a highly sought-after feature of holiday villas.
- If the property is in metropolitan area, how close are you to the center and main attractions.
- What is the view likely to be, are you close the sea as promised or overlooking a wonderful lush mountain range.
You should also take a close look at the photos provided in the listing and do not shy from asking for additional photos such as images of the view.
When To Book – Unlike commercial size accommodation, a villa can only accommodate one party at a time. To refrain from limiting your options, it realty does make sense to book as far ahead as you can, even a year ahead. True that last minute type vacation will turn out to be more affordable, but you will likely have to compromise on area, interior and even country!
Where To Save – By no means are holiday villas cheaper then commercial accommodation, so when you can save, it makes sense to try. There are a number of oversights and mistakes that self-catering holidaymakers make:
- Booking a villa too large for their need is common. In many cases, guest tend to spend more time out and about than indoors, so it makes sense to limit the size to what you really need.
- Eating out and not using the kitchen area to prepare meals is heavy on the budget. Self-catering by nature will include facilities to cook and prepare meals and local produce can often offer a real treat for the palate. Not taking advantage of this is a shame and will quickly prove expense.
- Holidaymakers are often aware of the need to transfer them and their party from the port of call to the property. The most common but costly option is hiring a car. The car will often stand idle during the holiday until they have to go back home. It will prove more cost effective to hire a taxi or bus from the port of call to the property and within the local area to walk, cycle or use public transport.
If you are thinking of a holiday villa, we are confident these tips will help. As always, make sure to read local villa reviews from trusted sites such as Trip Advisor, get recommendations from family and friends and compare prices!
About Author: Information by Affair Travel, an ABTA and ATOL protected travel agent offering a range of holiday villas in 2014 across parts of Europe from France to Croatia.