Questions to ask before renting a holiday villa
Today most holidaymakers looking for a vacation rental for an upcoming holiday book via an on-line web portal. The property description and photographs are usually enough to get a good idea of what to expect once they arrive on location. However, sometimes the information supplied by websites is not sufficient, photographs do not tell the whole story, and expectations are not met as a result. Websites do not always provide enough information to go by and it’s not easy to know exactly what to expect. For this reason, it’s important to ask the right questions before booking a holiday property.
Here are a few key questions to ask before booking your holiday to avoid unpleasant surprises:
What is the exact location of the property?
Is it located in a rural area or in a town or city? Are there any shops, supermarkets and banks close by? Is it situated in a quiet area? How far is the nearest town? Sometimes the exact location of a property is kept secret for privacy reasons. Asking the right questions helps you get a good idea of what kind of surroundings your holiday villa is situated in.
When was the property last renovated?
Photographs can be deceiving. Ask when the photographs of the property were taken and when the villa was last renovated. Holiday villas should be regularly maintained so that a high standard of comfort is ensured. By asking when the property was last renovated, you’ll have an idea of whether the owners take good care of it.
Are there any additional fees to pay?
Sometimes the rates advertised do not include extra charges like tax, cleaning fees, a security deposit, and booking fees. If these are not clearly spelled out in the listing, do ask for details regarding extra fees.
What is the cancellation and refund policy?
This is a very important detail which shouldn’t be overlooked. Cancellation and refund policies can be flexible or very strict. Make note of any cut-off dates when a payment is required in case of cancellation and notify the home-owner immediately in case your holiday has to be cancelled or postponed. It could be a good idea to take travel insurance which covers the costs of cancellation in the event of an unexpected change of plans.
Where can I read reviews of the property?
Reading reviews written by other holidaymakers who stayed in the same property is an excellent way to find out what kind of experience and quality of comfort to expect. Check websites like Tripadvisor to see if the property has a listing, or ask the owner if reviews are available on an alternative site.
Which amenities are included?
Draw up a list of your needs and check the amenities list to see if everything is available in the vacation property. Is there a kettle? A washing machine? Do you need a microwave? Families with small children may require a high chair. Some homeowners may be happy to supply additional amenities. Just ask.
What services are offered?
Many luxury vacation rentals offer a variety of services which can include cleaning, a private cook, a personal masseur or physical therapist, concierge services, a travel guide, and the organisation of parties and events. If you have any special requirements, ask the homeowner or rental agency if these are available in the area.
Which payment options are available?
Make sure to find out the payment options available. Is there the possibility to pay by bank transfer or credit card? Are there any credit card fees? Is payment by Paypal an option? If your preferred mode of payment is not listed in the terms and conditions, ask if alternative payment methods are possible.
What are the arrival and departure times?
This is another important detail not to be overlooked. If you arrive via an early-morning flight, you would want to know if an early check-in is possible and if this incurs an extra fee. At the same time, confirm the check-out time and whether a late check-out fee would also apply.
What are the transportation options in the area?
If the holiday home is located in a rural area, you will require a car. Can the rental agency arrange for car rental? Is parking available at the property? What is the best way to get around? These are important questions to ask.
Are there any house rules?
Ask in advance if there any house rules. Are pets allowed? Is there a maximum number of guests which could be accommodated in the property?
Is a local manager available in case of any problems or questions?
Ask who the local contact person is in case you have any questions or requirements during your holiday.
By Isabel Putinja, Travel Writer