Tips for Choosing A Vacation Rental Apartment or Home

Whenever we’ll be in the same city for more than a few days, we like to stay in a rental apartment. Not only does it often save money, but for families it is often more comfortable and convenient than staying in a hotel.

A rental is a good choice if:

  • You're interested in staying in a more residential area to get a flavor of life in your destination
  • You will need more than one room, or need a living room to spend time in while the kids are sleeping
  • You enjoy having a kitchen to prepare snacks and meals using local ingredients
  • Weekly maid service is sufficient
  • You are planning on an extended stay and want to save money
  • You want to be able to wash clothes yourself without going to a laundromat
  • You do not need room service

There are many different property rental agencies. In some cases the vacation rentals are private residences where the owners will vacate their apartment while you visit. In other cases, they are units designed for rental that are rented year round. Here are some questions to ask when choosing a rental apartment

  • Exactly where is the apartment located. How close is it to the nearest train station or other transit?
  • What is the reputation of the agency? Have they been recommended by any trusted publications? By other travelers on travel forums?
  • Is transport from the train station or airport to the property included?
  • How much deposit is required, and what is the refund policy if you need to cancel? Is the deposit paid by cash or credit card?
  • What is included in the rental fee? Many rental agencies charge extra for electricity, telephone, and internet service
  • Is a local cell phone included?
  • How often is the apartment cleaned, and what is included in the cleaning?
  • What appliances are included? Is there a microwave? stove? oven? clothes washer? What amenities are included (for instance is there a pool?)
  • How many people can the apartment accommodate? How many bedrooms/bathrooms? Do the bedrooms all have doors that close, or are they lofts? or some other arrangement?
  • If the rental is an apartment, what floor is it on & is there an elevator? (Remember that in Europe the first floor is what we would call the 2nd floor in the us)
  • Is the apartment reasonably child safe? For example, is there an open stairway in the apartment or a loft with inadequate railing?
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