Tips To Promote Your Vacation Rental

In the past, promotion of the availability of a vacation home rental was limited to a few local avenues – print advertising, flyers handed out or hung up around town, postcards left in local establishments, and word of mouth. With the advent of the Internet, a new option has been created for marketing vacation rentals. You can now promote your rental home across the globe relatively inexpensively and easily. You can create your own website or you can take advantage of listing sites that draw the traffic in for you.

In this first part of a forthcoming series of articles, you will learn the basics of how to promote a vacation rental home. Each additional installment in this series will go into more detail about marketing vacation rentals in a variety of ways.

Marketing Vacation Rentals with Individual Websites

It has become very easy for anyone to buy a domain and hosting package and promote a vacation home rental online. Plus, you don’t have to know HTML or be an experienced web designer to take advantage of marketing vacation rentals in this way; there are many programs that have been created that make the creation of a slick-looking website easy. You want to make sure that your vacation home rental site looks as professional as possible and contains pictures of the inside and out as well as details about all of the amenities available. You can also include information about price and availability if you wish, or you can require that interested parties contact you for more information. And make sure that you have a way for visitors to contact you!

At its core, your vacation home rental site should serve as an online version of a glossy brochure that you might hand out to prospective renters. You will learn more about ways to create great sites for marketing vacation rentals and how to get them noticed in future articles in this series.

Vacation Home Rental Sites

Whether you want to create your own website for your vacation home rental property or just want an easy way to advertise your home, you may be interested in looking into the benefits of vacation rental websites. These sites make marketing vacation rentals easy by compiling listings of homes for rent by owners and/or companies to help bring the renters to your door. Many vacation home rental sites charge a small fee for your listing but allow you to incorporate photographs, text, and a link to your own site. These sites may also make it easy for renters to get in touch with the owners of homes. Future articles will teach you what to look for in a vacation home rental site and how to promote a vacation rental alongside the many listings that are available.

Marketing Vacation Rentals with Print Advertising – From Flyers to Newspaper Ads

While the Internet is an extremely important tool in marketing vacation rentals, traditional marketing venues still can make a difference if you are looking to attract renters. You can create flyers with pictures of your house, prices, and a list of amenities that you can post in the town where your vacation home rental is located. This is an extremely inexpensive way to get noticed, but it is important to design your flyers with eye-catching images and easy-to-read text. You can also create postcards with this information that can be mailed to local households or placed in local stores for visitors and residents to pick up.

Another option for marketing vacation rentals is to run advertisements in the classified section of any local newspaper. The downside to this is that you may wind up paying a lot for an ad that will only be seen by a limited number of people, but that same ad will be specifically targeted in the area for your vacation home rental and may get strong results.

Preparing Your Vacation Home Rental Property

No matter how you choose to go about marketing vacation rentals, you will need to have photographs of your home taken to put on the web, in the newspaper, or in a flyer. Make sure that you prepare your home so that it looks its best – that the lawn is trimmed, that the pool area is tidy, that the windows are clean, and so on. Then, take a series of pictures from several angles of the home so that a prospective renter knows exactly what he or she will find. If you can, add something to your home that will make it stand out. For example, use brightly colored curtains, or take your photograph at night. Above all, make sure to give people a reason to look more closely at what you have to offer in a vacation home rental.

Word of Mouth

The simplest and cheapest way for marketing vacation rentals is by word of mouth. Tell anyone and everyone that you have a home available. Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell the people at the bank and at the grocery store. While the person you tell may not be the next person to rent your home, he or she may have a friend or relative who is in the market for a vacation home rental.

Conclusion

Above is just a small sampling of options that you have for marketing vacation rentals so that they are booked around the year. Future articles will give you more in-depth information about these options as well as additional tips and ideas about how to promote a vacation rental successfully.

 

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How To Save Time And Money During Vacation

Vacation planning is fun and easy so you don’t need to get overwhelmed. The first thing I want you to do is to take a deep breath and don’t panic. If you’ve never done this before, relax. I am here to help you with some simple steps to plan a great vacation.

1. Determine Your Budget.

There are many ways to go about determining your budget, but I usually set a price of how much I want to spend (per person) and then go from there to determine how to find the best travel deals based on where I want to go on a cheap vacation. You need to be reasonable regarding what the budget will be for your vacation or getaway. A very realistic and reasonable budget for a cheap vacation is between $800-$1200 per person including airfare, hotel, car rental, food, tips, and airport parking. I’ve traveled all over the country on business and the average budget for a two-to-three day business trip is about the same amount so it’s a very reasonable for a cheap vacation for an entire week (especially when it involves air travel and a much longer stay).

2. Choose Your Destination.

Here’s a little insider travel secret. I’ve traveled to some amazing vacation destinations at amazing prices, but I don’t usually choose my destination. The destination chooses me. It can get a little frustrating but I can tell you that if destinations did not chose me, I would never have went to Jamaica and seen a live starfish swimming underwater when I was snorkeling off of a beach in Negril, climbed the Great Wall of China, traveled through the Panama Canal or met a baby sloth at a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica just for starters. I went to those vacation destinations not because I had a deep desire to travel to Montego Bay, Beijing, Panama City, or Puerto Limon, but because I was chasing a travel deal. Now, vacation planning via chasing a deal is a great way to get cheap vacations and save a lot of money. I have been on some incredible trips and gone to vacation destinations I never would have had at the top of my travel destinations “bucket list,” but I realize chasing the travel deal has prevented me so far from going to Tahiti’s island paradise of Bora, Bora (my life long travel dream) and I still want to do the “Sound of Music” tour in Salzburg, Austria. So you usually have a choice: chase the best travel deal or choose your travel dream.

3. Book Your Airfare, Hotel, and Car Rental.

When you’re vacation planning, the best way to save hundreds of dollars on your vacation is to book everything together as a complete travel package. I don’t have any technological reason as to why this saves you money, but it does. Feel free to experiment with your own online travel booking engine of choice with this concept by making queries separately and then as a package, but it’s been done before and proven to save you money. I do know that Rovia Travel has the best online price 68{3fab5ce553f3df00dd9ddd4b86559da508f9ecb2da5b69ef3e8917cf4ac10bcf} of the time as compared to Travelocity and Expedia according to a recent independent survey by Topaz International so you may want to check them out.

4. Research Your Vacation Destination & Plan Your Travel Itinerary.

Researching my vacation destination and planning great itineraries is one of the things that I sort of excel at in vacation planning because I love researching the hot tourist attractions of the vacation destination I’m visiting. I know some people just like to “wing it,” but that lack of vacation planning can really add hundreds of dollars to your trip. There are two great ways to do your research. First, there are so many online tools at the local tourism offices of the areas your visiting that have all the main information at your fingertips, plus many have coupons or travel deals you may not have been able to find in other ways. The second thing I like to do is pick up a great guide book for the destination I’m going to. Frommer’s Travel Guide Books and Rick Steves’ Travel Guide Books for Europe are very well researched and written and these authors update their books almost yearly so you know you have up-to-date information.

5. Make Two Checklists.

Now you need to make two checklists for your vacation planning. One is a list of things to do before you go on vacation. This includes finding a pet sitter, getting a neighbor to pick up the mail, calling your mobile phone service to arrange for a text/email package while you’re away if you’re traveling internationally, secure a passport or visa (if you need them), get medical vaccinations if necessary, call your credit card companies to let them know you’ll be traveling and what cities or countries to expect charges to come up on, and things like that. The second list for your vacation planning is a list of things to pack.

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it? Now you see how simple vacation planning is even for an inexperienced traveler. These are the basics of vacation planning and now that you know how to plan your vacation, we have a lot of extra bonus travel tips my travel website (see below) to help you discover a world of ways to see the world. Bon Voyage and have a fabulous vacation.

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Advice Vacation For Active Seniors

Seniors live healthier and more active lives than ever before, and travel more often. The vacation destination choices, and types of vacations available to active seniors are numerous and growing in number. The tourist industry recognizes that active seniors are not only a huge market, but represent a market able to travel anytime of the year. So it is no wonder the travel industry is investing significant effort into attracting, and then accommodating the needs and wishes of seniors.

All Inclusive Vacation Packages

All inclusive vacations are the most popular choice for active seniors. With everything rolled into an all inclusive package, including airfare, hotel accommodations and meals, it’s much easier for seniors to budget for a vacation while avoiding having to deal with vacation planning. There’s no planning involved in all inclusive vacation packages, unless other activities are desired.

Most all inclusive vacations allow vacationers to select from a wide array of extra curricular activities. The active senior can play tennis or golf, ride bicycles or horses, or even scuba dive. Vacationers can also choose more leisurely activities, such as a visit to a spa, sight seeing, gallery and museum hopping, or just spending the day shopping or on the beach. All inclusive vacation destinations now span the globe, and most welcome seniors with open arms.

Volunteer Vacations

Another type of vacation becoming increasingly popular with active seniors is the “volunteer vacation”. Volunteer vacation destinations span the globe, exposing participants to new cultures, as well as the rewarding experience of help others. Of course volunteer vacation organizers schedule time for relaxation and recreation.

Activities for volunteer vacations run the gamut from ecological interests, such as counting bird eggs or rescuing baby sea turtles, to humanitarian efforts such as helping children learn to read and write. Most volunteer vacations are of the, “no experience required” variety. However, some seek retired seniors with specific skill sets, such as English teachers, nurses and doctors, engineers, and even farmers depending on the nature of the project.

For seniors trying to decide on which is the right volunteer vacation, select one that will have you doing something you’re interested in. If you aren’t an animal lover, counting turtle eggs is probably not going to be any fun no matter how beautiful the beach is. The volunteer work is important, but it’s equally important to focus on the fact it’s your vacation.

Another important point to remember when deciding if a volunteer vacations is a good choice is that most offerings are in extremely poor areas with few, if any amenities. If you want assurances of a comfortable level of accommodation, or you have more refined food preferences, a volunteer vacation may not be for you.

Educational Vacations

Educational vacations are another popular choice for active seniors. These vacations are terrific for seniors who have always been intellectually stimulated, but since retiring from the workforce have found they’re missing mental challenges. Educational vacations devote part of each day to honing a particular skill, with the remainder sightseeing, enjoying spa treatments, or just relaxing.

What you can learn on these vacations varies widely. You can take French cooking classes in France, under the tutelage of a master French chef. Maybe you’d prefer horseback riding lessons taught by an authentic South American gaucho. Perhaps taking Spanish language lessons in Spain would tweak your fancy. If you can think of an enjoyable, and educational vacation, no matter where in the world you’d like to visit, there’s likely to be an educational vacation offer available.

These are only three of the more popular types of vacations available to active seniors. There are as many options as the imagination can conceive, and more being created all the time. Seniors are gold to the travel industry, so expect more vacation packages tailored to elderly travelers, and more tourist destinations gearing events towards attracting active seniors.

 

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Why Doctor Suggest Us To Go Vacation

Everyone enjoys taking a vacation and exploring new places, but you may have even more reason to take some time off. Vacations are the best way to reduce stress because they get you away from the everyday demands and the things that make you anxious. Dr. Tom Potisk says “I advocate frequent vacations as a vital component of wellness.” As the author of Whole Health Healing: the Budget-Friendly Natural Wellness Bible for All Ages and generally known as the “Down-to-Earth” Doctor he says that vacations can supply the two things that people need to thrive. People need to give their mind and body time to rest, and they also need to go out and experience new things. After a vacation people come back feeling more energized, their immune system has been boosted, and they are even more creative in some aspects. Dr. Potisk says that we all need vacations and he even teaches doctors around the country about the importance of vacations and emphasizes that they should be taking them as well.

There is even scientific data to back up his belief that vacations can help you better manage your stress. In an article published on September 17, 2008 in The Journal of the American Medical Association there is evidence to back up his claim. There was a study conducted in which the subjects were men ranging in age from 35 to 57. At the beginning of it none of the men had any signs of heart disease. The study lasted for nine years and at the end of it the men in the group who took the most vacations were 29 percent less likely to be diagnosed with heart disease and 17 percent less likely to die than those who did not take regular vacations. (The beneficial health effect of vacations remained valid after socioeconomic considerations and cardiovascular risk factors were taken into account.) There is also countless other research that points to the fact that our health deteriorates if we do not take time to take a break.

Dr. Lyengar of the Bradenton Cardiology Center in Florida breaks down the science behind stress so that we may better understand the effects of it on our bodies. He says that stress usually happens in an acute phase meaning that it happens for a brief time. As the doctor explains it “you’re about to avoid a traffic accident, for example. Stress response is the body’s way of telling an individual to do something drastic at that moment. Your body releases hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – that help in the acute phase. The ‘fight or flight response’ is the body’s response to some sort of stimulus: it goes into anxious or hyper-reactive mode. “You stand your ground and ‘fight’ (in a manner of speaking), or take flight to survive.”

Since it usually happens in short doses the body is not designed to handle chronic stress. When you are constantly anxious about your job or your boss the fight or flight hormones are exposed to your body more than they should be. The inflamed release of hormones causes long term damage to the blood vessels. This is evidence that stress is linked to heart disease and that if you are genetically inclined to heart disease this will only make it worse.

Women are especially in need of vacations as they constantly manage multiple responsibilities. Heart disease is known as the “silent killer” in women, so they need a break just as much as men do. Dr. Lyengar says that managing your stress can be a justifiable reason to take a vacation. Especially is you have previous medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, or high blood pressure stress will only make these worse so these people need to take even more care to take a vacation.

Certain personalities are also more in need of vacations than others because they are more at risk for stress related health problems. “Type A personalities” are people that are always working and are very intractable in what they do. These people find it hard to go on vacation and stay away as they are always trying to fit in some kind of work during their holiday. Working on vacation does not allow you to reap the full benefits of time away. In order to relieve your stress on a vacation you need to completely separate yourself from work or any other every day pressures that you encounter. A vacation is time for you to try something totally new, so take advantage of it.

A change of scenery is imperative for vacation benefits to have a full effect. If you stay in the same area where you are constantly exposed to the stress of everyday life you are not really taking a break. Also, you should not go from one demanding situation to another one on vacation. Do what is effective stress management for you, a vacation should not make you even more tense if that is the case then you should find a different destination.

The book “Stressed? Anxiety? Your Cure is in the Mirror” by Dr. Murray Grossan sheds light on the topic of stress and how people have dealt with it historically. Every culture during every time period has had a so called “vacation spot” according this book. Whether that meant heading out to get some clean fresh air somewhere, enjoying a hot spring, or traveling somewhere new to see the sights there was a place for people to go to take a break. Just 100 years ago they did not tell people to take a pill for any ills that they had instead they would go to a vacation “spa.”

Dr. Grossan says that a vacation can have you coming back with a “can do” attitude. The rest and relaxation frees you from negative thoughts and that feeling of “I can’t.” Feeling constant stress drains the body of good chemistry, but time away can allow this system to recover. He says that a vacation can both heal you and clear your head so that you can make better decisions. Some people think that a beach vacation is the perfect dream vacation, and others have a different idea of the best holiday. There really is not one that is better than the other as long as you remove yourself from your daily situations.

In order to provide for the best stress relief before your vacation be sure to tell people that you will be unavailable while on vacation unless it is an emergency. Also, be sure to leave your computer behind and distance yourself from using your phone. It is best to pack as light as possible, and leave a day to adjust when you get home before going back to work. In addition if you can try not to use clocks and just follow your body’s natural rhythm. One other important thing to consider is to stay within the budget that you set for your vacation so that you do not feel even more stressed about finances when you get home.

Nutritionist and registered dietitian Elaine Hastings offers some tips about what to eat while on vacation. You should try to avoid drinking a lot of alcohol or eating an excess of unhealthy food as this will leave you feeling sluggish and unhappy when you get home. You do not want to feel bad about gaining weight, so opt for the healthy food options instead. She says “try to balance your rest with some physical activity, and eat fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.” If you follow these tips then you will come home feeling rested, refreshed, and revitalized. So pick one of your favorite vacation spots and head there for some much needed rest and relaxation.

 

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Try To Rent Condo For The First Time

Perhaps some time on a lush beach where you can relax, or maybe a trip to the mountains with magnificent scenery and time to kick back and get away from the rest of the world. Well this all sounds great, until you check out the cost of booking a hotel. Once you realize that it’s going to cost you $120 to $200 a night, or more, your dreams of a great vacation seem to die. You don’t have to give up on that vacation. In fact, with a condo card, you can enjoy a vacation condo rental and have that vacation you’ve been dreaming of for a lot less money than you ever though.

Many people go on vacation and spend a huge amount of money on hotels, but you’ll actually find that a condo rental is a much better way to go. In fact, there are many excellent benefits to going with a condo on your vacation instead of a hotel. A bit skeptical? Well, here’s a look at the main benefits to be enjoyed when you choose a vacation condo rental.

Enjoy a Lower Cost for Your Dream Vacation
One of the main benefits of going with a vacation condo rental is that you’ll enjoy a lower cost for your dream vacation. When you consider the cost of a nice hotel room, you can expect to pay an average of about $150 a night, with some costing more. However, with a condo rental, usually you’ll pay less than $100 each night. This is a huge savings, but when you have a condo card as well, many times you’ll be able to book your condo rental for only about $40 or $50 each night, saving even more money. In tight economic times, you may think that a vacation is impossible, but with these great rates that are available when you choose a vacation condo rental, you’ll be able to afford that vacation that you so desperately need.

Better Availability
Better availability with condo rentals is another of the benefits you’ll enjoy when you choose them over a single hotel room. There are condos all around the world that are available and you won’t have to worry about blackout dates when you’re trying to get a vacation condo rental. Many times you’ll find that the hotel you wanted to stay in doesn’t have the dates available when you want to go on vacation. Well, why should you plan a vacation around what’s best for a hotel? You should be planning around your job and your life, and when you go with a vacation condo rental, you are able to do this because of the great availability you’ll find.

More Room for the Entire Family
When you consider the average size of a hotel room, you can figure that life is going to be a bit cramped for the whole family. Dealing with you and your kids all in the same room for a week is not quite the great vacation that you were probably looking for. With condo rentals, you’ll find that there is plenty of room for everyone in the family. Many of them have two and three bedrooms available, allowing everyone to have a bit more privacy so you can enjoy your vacation more thoroughly. So, this is definitely a huge benefit of going with a vacation condo rental instead of a cramped hotel when you are going on vacation.

Save on Meals Too
You’ll also find that going with condo rentals gives you the ability to save money on your meals too. When you rent a condo, you’ll have a kitchen at your disposal, which means that you won’t have to eat out for every single meal, which can get expensive fast. Most of the time, a vacation condo rental is equipped with a nice kitchen, including dishes and cookware, allowing you to cook for your family. You can spend some time cooking in the condo and then choose to go out when you can afford it if you want to. This is just another way that condo rentals can provide you with great savings.

It’s definitely easy to see that a vacation condo rental is a great choice when you’re longing for a relaxing vacation. So many benefits are available and with a condo card, you can save big time, allowing you to go on a nice vacation, even when your budget is a bit on the tight side. Why keep putting off that vacation? With condo rentals you can book a great vacation today without having to spend a huge amount of money.

Find out how you can use vacation condo rentals to receive discounts of 60{3fab5ce553f3df00dd9ddd4b86559da508f9ecb2da5b69ef3e8917cf4ac10bcf} of condo rentals worldwide.
Let’s face facts. It is hard to finance a vacation into the family budget in this day and age. Not only is money tight everywhere you look but it is getting harder to find affordable vacations. You need to have value and affordability to be able to have family vacations. Our condo rentals are less than $90 a night.

Condo Rental Pro offers the only affordable, value-packed condo rentals where a few dollars translates into a vacation experience of a lifetime.

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Why Summer Vacation Always Have Discount

Discount summer vacations do exist, but to many they are only a myth. There are just some individuals who believe that there is no such thing as a discount summer vacation and even if they do believe that discount vacations exist, many assume they are only to low-quality destinations. If you are interested in taking a summer vacation, you are encouraged not to believe this popular myth.

To find discounted summer vacations, all you have to do is a little bit of research, much of what is possible on the internet. Once you start looking, you will likely see that discount summer vacations are obtainable, for even the most popular summer vacation destinations, like Antigua, in the Caribbean. Discount summer vacations are obtainable thanks to vacation packages, online coupons, seasonal uneasiness (eg hurricane season in the Caribbean) and of course price reductions.

Vacation destination packages are one of the most popular ways that you or your family can save money when taking a summer vacation. These packages are most often available through a resort. Theme park resorts, golf resorts, and beach resorts, all around the world, are likely to offer summer vacation packages. These packages may be considered all-inclusive or they may just cover a number of vacation accommodations. Vacation packages can easily be found online or by speaking to a professional travel agent.

When it comes to discount vacations, most individuals receive a discount in the form of a price reduction. Price reductions are often used as a last attempt to increase the number of guests at popular hotels, restaurants, theme parks, or beaches. If you are searching for upfront discounts, in the form of price reductions, they can easily be found online or by directly contacting a hotel, restaurant, or theme park.

In addition to price reductions used to lure in additional guests, many popular vacation destinations offer price reductions to vacationing families. Instead of paying full price for your children, you may for example be able to receive a substantial discount for them. These discounts are often found at vacation resorts, hotels, and theme parks. The cost of a family discount will depend on the destination. However large or small the discount, many families enjoy saving the money.

Online coupons are a great way to obtain a discount on your next summer vacation. A large number of vacation destinations offer online coupons, as well as offline coupons. Most internet users have the option of requesting a coupon booklet or they can obtain printable vacation coupons. The only downside to using coupons is that you must remember to take them with you when you set off to reach your vacation destination. Without them, you may be required to pay full price for all of your used services.

While discount vacations are obtainable, it is important to note that NOT all destinations can be vacationed at for a low price. Despite what you may believe, many of the most popular vacation destinations offer valuable savings and discounts to travelers. Popular summer vacation destinations that can be visited for a low price include, but should not be limited to, the Caribbean, Mexico, Myrtle Beach, Bush Gardens, Six Flags, Disneyland, or Disney World. Many times, you will end up paying more to vacation at destination that is not as popular.

When searching for a low-cost summer vacation destination, you can search using a number of methods. If you already have a vacation destination in mind, you can search for discounts being offered in or around your intended vacation spot. If you have yet to select a destination, you can examine the discounts available and then make your decision. Whichever method you select, you are sure to find valuable discounts that can be used on your next vacation.

 

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All About Vacation Rentals

That time of the year is finally here. You know what I’m talking about, the one or two weeks you get every year to escape from “real life” and just be you. Relax, eat and drink well, enjoy your family, catch up on some much needed sleep. But, before you pack up and head out, rethink the all-too-normal hotel stay. Believe it or not, you have options, one of which is the vacation rental.

Wouldn’t it be nice to leave your own home, arrive in your destination city and settle into a “home away from home” for your next vacation? That’s what vacation rentals are all about. These are homes waiting to be rented out by people on vacation. Each vacation rental owner will have different criteria in what type of renter they are looking for, each vacation rental house will vary in amenities, and each price will be dependent on the time of year and the length of stay. So, it sounds like a great idea, but how do you figure out how to make it all happen? Not a problem. Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions regarding vacation rentals. Read on, my friend, your next “home away from home” vacation rental is right around the corner.

Frequently Asked Questions on Vacation Rentals

What are the advantages of a vacation rental?

Do you ever wish your hotel room had just a little more personality? Yeah, I thought so. Well, renting someone else’s home for your vacation might just be the thing you’re looking for. Usually offering larger living spaces than hotel rooms, these vacation rentals are all about living like you were in your own home. They offer greater privacy than hotel rooms and most rentals have a kitchen area for cooking, which in the end will save you money if you prepare some of your own meals.

You’ll enjoy several rooms, and maybe even different levels, instead of one big room where the whole family sleeps. Many owners will leave information on things to do and see in the local area. Vacation rental homes are clean, friendly, comfortable and inviting. This is because many of them aren’t just rental homes, but also function as the owner’s own residence for part of the year.

A majority of vacation rentals tend to be cheaper on a per night basis than their hotel counterpart. By renting directly from the owner you will avoid taxes, tips and other extraneous charges. However, there is a wide variation among costs based on a number of factors (see How Much Should I Expect to Pay below)

What are the drawbacks of a vacation rental?

Of course, there’s always the other side of the coin. As vacation rentals are not usually monitored by a central managing company, you’ll only know what you’re getting yourself into when you actually arrive to your rental. Many owners require pre-payment, or at least a large deposit fee, before arriving. Therefore, if things aren’t the way you anticipated after arriving, or if you find your dwelling unacceptable and decide to head to a local hotel, you may lose any money you prepaid. This is also true for last minute cancellations. There isn’t usually a refund. You always run the risk of getting less than you expected, but, it’s rare.

Most times, vacation rentals tend to be cheaper than an average hotel room per night. But, not always, so make sure you are comfortable with the price you will be asked to pay.

Another disadvantage to vacation rentals is the lack of a managing member on site to deal with any problems that you may encounter with the home or during your stay in general. Most owners get around this by having a list of emergency numbers, utility companies and other such items available to the renter should they need anything.

What amenities are included in a vacation rental?

Since every rental is owned by a different owner, each will include different amenities. Some come with swimming pools, hot tubs, others with golf packages, and horse stable privileges. In cities with tourist attractions, some owners include tickets to local attractions.

Most vacation rentals come with the essentials: TV, equipped kitchen, towels, linen, and everyday appliances, but it never hurts to ask these questions when searching for the perfect place. Be sure to understand exactly what you are paying for before sending in the payment.

What types of rentals are available?

Pretty much any type of dwelling that you would want to live in during your vacation is available somewhere. From studios in downtown Manhattan to a villa in the south of Spain, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for. The range of available options is mind boggling. Additionally, each week, month and year there are new possibilities as owners put their homes up for only certain weeks or months of the year, the choices are constantly changing.

Are vacation rentals only available in the US?

Vacation rentals are available worldwide. They can be found in every state of the US and almost every country in the world. Don’t be fooled by their different names, though. Vacation rentals are also known as holiday cottages, tourist rentals and holiday rentals. If you are looking for one in Europe, the Italians call them agriturismi, while the French say gites. If you are in Germany you will be looking for ferienwohnungen (yep, try to say that three times fast with a bratwurst in your mouth!)

Regardless of what you call it, though, a vacation rental is a great option for those getting ready to take a few weeks off from reality and enjoy the good life a bit.

How do I find a property?

There are several ways to go about finding the perfect vacation rental for your next trip. Check with your local travel agent to find someone in your area that specializes in finding owners and renters and getting them together. Another option is the yellow pages. Finally, there is a wealth of information on the Internet. Type in a search for “vacation rentals” and over 13,300,000 websites can be found just on http://www.google.com alone. Some websites only list vacation rentals in the United States while others specialize in vacation rentals worldwide. There are some sites that will allow the potential renter to look for a residence by specific search criteria such as a particular destination, certain number of bedrooms and types of amenities that are included in the property.

Most of the vacation rental services on the internet are only the “go-between” or the “classified” section of the newspaper. They take no responsibility for the truth or correctness of the ads that are listed on their sites. So, do your homework by making phone calls, speaking with the owner and asking specific questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the answers, if not, move on to the next rental, there are plenty.

If you’re not comfortable with the whole renter/owner thing, there is another way to rent a vacation home. Some companies exist that strictly buy and rent out homes to vacationers. They offer a bit more security so that you feel you are truly getting what you bargained for (although nothing is ever 100{3fab5ce553f3df00dd9ddd4b86559da508f9ecb2da5b69ef3e8917cf4ac10bcf} fool proof). Additionally, sometimes these agencies will give you cancellation insurance. In other words, if you cancel before arriving, they may be able to refund a portion of your deposit or payment instead of keeping it as most owners do if a cancellation occurs. With some agencies you’ll find that you pay a higher price than going directly to an owner. This is how the agencies make their profits. There are always pros and cons to each scenario. Ensure you know which one works best for you.

How much should I expect to pay?

This is a tough question to answer. The amount you pay will depend on what country or state you are visiting, number of days you are staying, and type of house you are renting. Some owners offer package deals including tickets or sightseeing events along with the rental, others include bonus days if you stay for a certain length of time. There are other owners who may offer free or add-on house cleaning service with your stay while some go to great efforts to ensure you have everything you need, even additional items such as a crib, highchair or wheelchair. Each vacation rental will be entirely different than the next. Your best bet after deciding on your destination is to review multiple rentals to determine which is better suited to your needs and overall budget.

Are there any hidden fees?

Hidden fees usually only emerge after you have arrived. These may include extra for phone calls, house cleaning service, extra person fees, excess heat and air-conditioning bills, pet deposit, computer access… etc. Again, be extremely thorough when interviewing the owner of your prospective vacation rental. Ask about any “extra” fees, or if the house is “all-inclusive”. Do you have free access to all the pantry and food items? How about the laundry supplies? All utilities? It never hurts to ask!

Vacation Rentals

In summary, cover all bases by asking lots of questions. Getting your agreement in writing is also a very smart idea. After these basics are out of the way you will be ready to take off for your home-away-from-home vacation rental. Try one this year and see for yourself that vacation rentals can be a fantastic means to really getting the full enjoyment out of your next vacation.

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Why You Should Try Cruise Trip

I will admit it, I love cruise vacations. I have been on several cruises including a cruise for my honeymoon, for New Years, and for multi-generational family vacations and I have loved each one.

More and more people are finding out about the pleasures of cruise vacations including singles, families, couples, honeymooners, second honeymooners and groups of friends or families. Last year alone approximately seven million people enjoyed a cruise vacation and here are some reasons why:

1) Cruise Vacations Are A Good Value

The price of your vacation includes all of your meals and in-between snacks on-board; your accommodation, activities, children programs and entertainment. Throw in the exciting journey to some of the most fascinating and charming places in the world and you have yourself a deal! You will also know what your vacation will end up costing you before you go. Typically, your only extra expenses are alcoholic drinks, specialty restaurants, optional shore excursions, and personal services such as a spa treatment.

2) Cruise Vacations Have Amazing Dining

You have so much choice and variety of cuisine on a cruise, you will not be disappointed. From gourmet meals that showcase renown chefs to pizza parlours and buffets. The choice is yours whether to sit down for an delectable five course feast or grab a hamburger at the bistro. The only thing that is guaranteed is that you will not go hungry on a cruise.

3) Cruise Vacations Will Pamper You

Regardless of which cruise you choose, all cruise lines pamper their guests with first-class service around the clock. Staff is there to make sure you needs are met. From chocolates on your pillow to your favourite drink waiting for you at your dinner table, you will feel like you are being spoiled day and night!

4) Cruise Vacations Have Tons of Variety

A cruise ship is a floating resort, with all the things a fine resort has to offer and more. You can go non-stop. Enjoy one great show after another, enjoy daily tour excursions, visit the spa, listen to a lecture, shop and then dance the night away. Or you can lie back and just read a book on deck and just let your cares float away…..do what you want to do.

5) Cruise Vacations Are For Everyone

There are over 150 different ships, dozens of cruise lines and over 1800 ports-of-call with hundreds of places to see and things to do. Small, large, formal, relaxed, budget, luxury, there is a perfect cruise out there for you.

6) Cruise Vacations Make Vacations Simple

The hassles of an ordinary vacation are completely eliminated because a cruise vacation is one convenient package. You don’t have to worry about making dinner or nightclub reservations, running to make flight connections as you travel from one destination to another, or packing and unpacking. Once you’re on board, nearly all expenses are pre-paid… it just does not get more carefree than that.

7) Cruise Vacations Are Great For Family Vacations

Families love cruising and often there is a reduced rate for children. Traveling with Grandparents? Even better, they will love it as much as the kids! With a variety of children’s programs geared from little ones to teens, kid-friendly menus, swimming, sports, games, movies, and exploring new places, your kids will not be bored for a second. The experienced child councillors will keep your children happy, while allowing you some time alone. And speaking of some adult alone time….

8) Cruise Vacations Are Great For Couples And Romance

During the day you can enjoy secluded beaches or romantic villages, enjoy en suite dining on a balcony overlooking the ocean or spa services for two. At night, enjoy dancing, musical shows, gaming or a quiet evening watching the moon bounce off the ocean as the warm breeze drifts over the two of you….do I need to say more?

9) Cruise Vacations Are The Most Satisfying

Cruises have a higher percentage of satisfied customers than any other vacation experience, once people try it, they come back again and again. It me 10 years to convince my brother and his wife to try a cruise vacation, they finally took one last year and they have already booked another one this year!

10) Cruise Vacations Are The Ultimate Vacations

You can see the world on a cruise. Feel free to completely unwind or take a walk on the wild side. If you want you can dance the night away or go up on deck and steal a kiss from your love. Make new friends, feast on sumptuous cuisine, learn something new, or just hang out and bond with your family.

Whatever your heart desires, it can be done on a cruise so be sure to “choose to cruise” for your next vacation.

 

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Vacation With Toddlers Yay or Nay

For parents of young children, thinking about taking a family vacation can bring on a whirlwind of emotions. Parents are scared their children will not enjoy themselves, whine too much or demand too much. Parents are also concerned that the money spent on a family vacation just won’t be worth it everyone enjoys themselves – including the parents being able to relax at some point. However, parents also have that hope that the whole family will enjoy themselves so much that they will bring back home, not only souvenirs, but happy memories that bring them closer together.

Ideally, this is what we all want. A family vacation with our young children that is not only a getaway, but a time to bond and strengthen the family unit. We long for the kind of family vacation that when our kids get home all they want to do is run to their friends house and tell them all about it and how cool it was. As parents we want fun stories of our trip to bring back to our adult friends as well. As you flip through vacation magazines you see pictures of smiling, satisfied families on vacation and wonder why that can’t be you too.

Yes, that can be you. You can have a satisfying family vacation with your young children that will build happy memories. What it takes is a lot of realistic expectations, finding the kind of vacation that works for your family and some planning.

Lets start with realistic expectations. This, above all, is key for all family vacations. I believe a lot of parents get discouraged from planning family vacations because they expect the world from them and therefore feel they can never achieve it. Realistic expectations begins with knowing your children and what they are capable of tolerating and handling. Sometimes we over plan our vacations and tire our children out to the point of irritability, day by day. Sometimes we even want to do so many big things everyday that it becomes an overload for their still developing senses.

I believe the root cause of “overloading” or “over planing” our vacations is the feeling that we absolutely must stuff our days with as much as possible in order to get the most out of our vacation. In reality, the opposite is true. The simpler we keep our vacation with young children, the more relaxed we will naturally be. Then, the more we are capable of enjoying the family we’re with.

Think about it; if we’ve packed our day full of things to do, then how much time is there to enjoy your family’s company? Did you talk or laugh together? Did you enjoy each event of the day to its fullest? If you answered “No” to these questions you most likely spent the day hurrying your family from event to event while they dragged behind. At the end of your day, few events stand out as truly enjoyable and your day instead becomes a crammed checklist of things you got done. Adjust your expectations and you will stand a great chance of having a memorable family vacation.

Find the kind of vacation that works for your family. Start by writing down on a piece of paper what kind of things you’d like to accomplish on a vacation. Let the whole family join in on this so you can get a clear perspective on what your family expects out of a vacation. Do you vacation to relax or to be entertained? Do you vacation to educate yourselves or to escape from the world? Once you’ve asked yourselves these questions and anymore you may think of, look at your budget. Then, given the goals of the vacation and your budget, move forward in choosing a vacation destination.

If your vacation goals are to educate yourselves further while enjoying each other’s company then maybe a sight seeing road trip or vacationing on a working farm is what you would enjoy. If your vacation goals are to escape and relax, but your children still want their own excitement, then maybe a family cruise is what you need. Many cruise lines offer “child camps” on board their ship. Most ships do an amazing job of entertaining your young children with shows, activities, and even talent nights. This is all while the parents relax in the hot tub or catch a dinner show without worry or guilt.

Last of all, don’t “over plan” as talked about earlier, but do plan a little. Once your vacation choice is made have your family write down a few events you would like to do on your vacation that everyone can enjoy. Don’t cram them all into one day, but spread them out over a few days and look forward to each event as they come day by day. This way you will have time to enjoy each event to its fullest while still being aware of enjoying it together as a family. This way, your memories are guaranteed to be more acute, memorable, and satisfying.

Family vacations are for everyone. Whether they are short, long, luxurious, or more affordable – what shapes the journey of the vacation and the consequent outcome is having realistic expectations for your young children, finding the right kind of vacation for your family, and planning a few events to truly enjoy. Bonn Voyage!

 

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Things You Should Know About Your Travel Agent

Booking air travel, making hotel reservations and arranging vacation travel in general has changed completely with the advent of the internet and many people try to be their own travel agents. While you can arrange seemingly most of your travel yourself, you can’t do as well as your travel agent in a long run!

Travel processionals, whether your local travel agent, tour operator or destination specialist still possess contacts that you as an industry outsider do not have. As in number of other professions, travel agents, whether in a shopping center near your home or an online agency, wherever they may be located, do know something you do not, have way to book and arrange travel for you in ways unavailable or unknown to you.

Traditionally you could contact a travel agent and ask for a quote, whether a price of an air ticket, hotel or a vacation package. For the most part travel agents still provide that kind of information, although there is a limit how much information they may disclose as not all information is readily available to them.

First of all, most travel agents indeed may have at their fingertips routine cost of air ticketing, hotel rates or certain vacation packages available and will be happy to provide the price information to you instantly when asked. But once your travel request will need to be somewhat customized, whether tailored to your dates of travel or your other travel preferences, to find a relevant answer will be time consuming. Because of this time element involved, do not automatically assume an agency is keen to spend the time to furnish the information you seek when there is no commitment you will travel at all.

Look at the situations from the following perspective. In the old days if you had a problem with your car, you’d drive it to your neighborhood car mechanic and asked him to see what was wrong with it. You would drop the car off at the garage, the mechanic would have a look and tell you what the problem was. He would also give you an estimate and it was up to you to decide if you wanted him to fix it right then and there, wait or seek another opinion and another quote. His services cost you nothing.

But not anymore. These days, no garage, no car repair mechanic is willing to spend time trying to find out what’s the problem with your vehicle without charging you at least one hour labor upfront. Pay and he will look and tell you. Up to you if you will decide to take your car to another shop or have him fix it, he has covered his time spent diagnosing what’s wrong with your car.

Similarly, many travel agencies and professional travel planners and tour operators will charge you an upfront travel planning fee if you are requesting travel arrangements that first of all are time consuming, or there is no guarantee you will book anything. All you are after are essentially private tailor-made travel arrangement s and there are no simple answers or options to give you, and the only way to find out will be for the agent to dig and consult all sorts of different sources he has at this disposal and then present the travel alternatives to you for you to decide upon.

When working with a travel agent, travel planner or any other travel professional such as a knowledgeable destination specialist, keep in mind that a certain protocol will assure you will get not only the kind of travel arrangements you want in general but also you’ll gain a true partner that will always work in your best interest whether you’ll travel away from home on business or for pleasure.

1. First of all, when contacting a travel agent, whether in person or online, don’t hesitate to give them your name – don’t worry, most agents won’t spam you back. Without your name when you’re asking for a valuable travel advice most agents won’t take your request too seriously. Call if you wish but most agents prefer not to take notes, email is a way to go and for an agent to look up a fare often a time means he has to plug in a name, so might as well that name will be your real name. If you decide not to accept the booking the reservation will expire and no harm done. If you decide later to purchase the reservation the agent does not have to rekey it into the system all over again.

2. If you’re trying to be you own travel agent, even in part, say you plan to book your own hotels online, disclose it to the agent your are contacting for assistance, he/she may still be interested to help you with the rest of your travel arrangements. Don’t hide your intentions from the agent as agents don’t like to be used for information gathering purposes only.

3. If at all possible, always contact your travel agent or destination specialist as soon as you know when and where you wish to travel, not last minute before your intended departure. That is even more important when you’re planning a trip to a lesser frequented destination.

4. Don’t book your flights and hotels online and ask a travel agent to do the rest, namely the difficult parts, such as complex transportation connections, travel arrangements in remote locations or to book segments that you just feel are not safe for you to book online yourself. Give your agent to design and book your entire trip for you. The worst you can do is design your own vacation package, then copy and email the same request to dozen different agents to see who may be the lowest bidder. Yes, the internet is perfect for that kind of information gathering but look at this from a perspective of a travel agent. If he/she knows you are sending the same request to dozen agents many of them will not be too interested in dealing with you. Then again, telling them the truth they will appreciate knowing what you are doing and approach the whole thing quite differently and in the end they just might offer you a deal.

5. If you’re after booking shoe-string cost of travel, for example wishing to book the lowest type of accommodations, best be your own travel agent. Do realize that agents can’t book services that are simply too cheap to begin with, not to mention that that kind of suppliers do not pay agent s any kind of commission. The agent may still help you but keep in mind he will be doing you a favor and will be working for you at no charge. If so, appreciate it, email your thank you.

Do realize that to ask an agent million questions, get all the answers, including time consuming quotes, only for you to never replay again is definitely rude and turns agents off completely. If you are polite and respectful many will often work without any commitment on your part, providing you with information you need, working for free. But because of those that just siphon info out of agents so they could possibly book travel on their own leaves not only a sour taste in agent’s mouth but certainly induces the decision to charge au upfront planning fees when a next inquiry comes.

6. On another hand, when it comes to upper end accommodations keep in mind these hotels routinely offer discounts to agents that agents can markup and still offer you room costs below hotel rack rates. Genuine agent is not interested in selling you a higher end hotel in order to make a higher commission but to tailor in a better trip experience for you where he deems it desirable.

7. Keep in mind that there is a difference between a travel agent and a so called Destination Specialist. Most travel agents use online reservation systems to book transportation, hotel and vacation packages. They essentially book or resell ready-to-sell travel offers from a variety of suppliers that do not require more than filling in your name and dates of travel. When it comes to you needing customized arrangements, they will need to contact tour operators and destination specialists that are either part of their consortium or a network they belong to. Depending on the connections they have they will or will not be able to help you.

8. Destination Specialists pride themselves in really knowing their destinations. Many of them have indeed not only traveled extensively but know a particular destination inside-out so they can arrange travel logistics for you based on knowing, rather than looking it up in a brochure or some kind of data base. Many Destination Specialists specialize in difficult, custom designed itineraries and do not sell travel packages. Often a time though not always that kind of service reflects higher markup.

9. Last, please note that many destination specialists as well as travel agents work 110 or more hours per week because especially custom-design travel is indeed very time consuming. Being good at travel logistics does take experience and while with the internet it seems second nature to be able to arrange travel on your own, many travel professional are indeed very good at what they do! They do know more about travel than you, give them a chance, they can save you not only money but also many headaches and above all, they can assure not only that you’ll travel worry-free but that you may have a trip of your life! Keep in mind, a good agent is not after selling you a single ticket or a package tour, they want you to become a repeat client, their go-to-travel processional for rest of your life.

 

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