Arriving at your holiday destination to find that it is less than you expected can be a disappointment and spoil the enjoyment of your whole holiday experience. Here are a few tips on finding the right accommodation so that your holiday experience lives up to your expectations.
The first thing to consider is that renting a villa is a bit like buying a home. Employ the three principles - location, location, location. Where do you want to be? Consider...
- What attractions do you want to be close to? If Disney or golf are not your ideal holiday destination then perhaps Kissimmee is not for you. It is, after all, an hour from the coast and not best placed for other natural attractions.
- Some resorts are not located close to restaurants or supermarkets. How important this is will of course depend on you, but unfortunately its usual in Florida to have to drive everywhere in any case.
- Is the resort right for you? Many resorts don’t have a clubhouse with an information centre and other facilities. Maybe a clubhouse is not your scene but younger members of the party might appreciate the social side.
- What outlook do you want your villa to have? Given a choice, you would rather wake up to a pleasant view in quiet surrounds or overlook walls (uninteresting) or the back of another villa (no privacy), or even a road (noisy). Even where there is a view of a lake or a woodland setting you want to make sure it will live up to your expectations - some villas set on small lakes can still be overlooked by other villas directly opposite and around. We chose our villa location because of the privacy and uninterrupted views that it offers - it did cost much more for the plot but we think its worth it. Villas with better outlooks are more expensive to buy and therefore to rent. If your not fussed about a private pool area and nice outlook then you should look within a resort or estate where the homes are therefore rentals will be cheaper.
- If sunshine is a must for your perfect vacation experience, and it is for us, then a southerly facing pool area that offers more direct sunshine is going to be advantageous. If you need shade ensure your pool deck faces north or has a porched shaded area - its always best to have a porched area to escape to from time to time.
Other things we have found out for ourselves to be aware of when renting are...
- Ensure that the bedrooms have the correct facilities for your requirements, ie: number of doubles and twin rooms
- If you are travelling with children (or even grown men!) then you may find that a games room will be of benefit.
- Most pool decks can often be small and not have enough room for furniture for all of your party. Its always worth enquiring to see if the pool deck is large enough to allow for this.
- Larger plots offer more privacy and quiet - in smaller plots it is possible to look out of a side window and into the house next door just a few feet away.
- When reserving your vacation home its advisable to deal with your flights at the same time, especially if travelling with larger parties. Renting a villa for a week or two and then having all or some of your party unable to get there (or back) on the specified dates is pointless and works out expensive.
- If there are any disabled members of your party ensure the villa is wheelchair accessible and has a downstairs bedroom suitable for their needs.
- Read the small print for extra charges - ie. pool heating is almost always extra as are welcome hampers and services such as daily maid cleaning. Tourist taxes are often charged as an extra, and sometimes even a weekly clean after you have left can be charged.
- Decide whether you want to deal direct with an owner like us or through an agent. Some people will prefer the security of dealing with an agent and others the security of dealing directly with a homeowner. This depends on what you are comfortable with.