Travel slowly, staying in vacation rentals (villas, farms, cottages, apartments)
What Do You Want in a Vacation Rental?
Before you start your search, decide what you are looking for. That way, you will know it when you find it!
What Size of a Place do You Need?
Determine the size of place that you need. How many people are in your group and what type of accommodations does each person need? Does each person want their own bedroom and bathroom? How many couples are there? Would someone be just as happy sleeping on a fold-out couch?
Most vacation rentals are listed with both the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the number of people the place accommodates. Frequently you will find places with pullout sofas, so that one or two more people can sleep in the living room.
If you are traveling with a large group, it may be impossible to find a villa that offers several bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Keep in mind, that in Europe many of these wonderful old villas and houses were built before indoor plumbing was invented. You will have to make some compromises.
What Type of Place do You Want?
You must decide which type of place will suit you best. In the countryside, in the city or in a small town? An independent house or an apartment? An independent house for two people will be more expensive than an apartment for two on an estate, but the extra privacy may be worth it to you.
Do You Want a Quiet Place?
If you are looking for a vacation rental in a city or village, you may want to look for a quiet location. Some streets have motorcycles and cars on them day and night.
Do not assume that all places in the countryside are quiet. The vacation rental may be next to a busy road or in the middle of an agricultural area where the farmers start up their tractors early in the morning.
Do You Want Privacy?
If you are looking at an independent house because you want some privacy, be sure it is not next to another house. One Slow Traveler rented a luxury house only to find another smaller house just a few feet away. The privacy that he had counted on was not there.
Do You Like to Walk Out to a Cafe in the Morning?
Some vacation rentals are in or near villages where you can walk out to the local cafe or to the shops for your groceries. Others are miles from anything, remotely located in the country, and you will have to hop in the car to go anywhere. Decide which you prefer. Both types of places can make for a great vacation.
Do You Need a fireplace? or heating?
If you are going in the late fall, winter, or early spring, and plan to spend some evenings in your vacation rental, you may want a fireplace. Many vacation rentals have lovely old fireplaces. At these times of year, it can get cold. Make sure you look at places that offer heating.
Do You Need a Pool?
If you are going to Europe from June through September, you may find the weather hot and humid. Most vacation rentals do not have air conditioning. Many places do keep cool because they are built from stone, which works as natural air conditioning. It is nice (and more expensive) to have a pool. If you are traveling with children or teenagers, a pool can provide a good afternoon break for them.
It is easy to find apartments on estates or farms with pools. It is more difficult to find small independent houses with pools. Houses with pools are more expensive.
We have stayed on estates and in independent small houses with pools and have always used the pools, even during June and September.
Are you Traveling With Children?
Read more about Finding Family-Friendly Accommodations and Guide to Staying in Vacation Rentals with Children.
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