Rent an Apartment in Europe
By Candyce H. Stapen
Traveling through Europe with your kids or friends can be cost effective if you stay in an apartment or home. While families and friends have always rented properties at the beach or in the mountains, these travelers are discovering the benefits of European rentals.
Homes away from home give you more space for your money than you get in a hotel. Instead of two double beds and a bathroom, your apartment or villa adds a living room often with a pull-out couch and a kitchen. Even the closest of families and friends need some breathing space, especially after touring the town together all day.
Plus, you save money. According to some rental agents, for similarly located hotels and lodgings, estimate that four nights in a hotel equals a week in an apartment or house. Stretch your budget by eating breakfast and some meals in.
Another advantage is that renting an apartment puts you in a neighborhood. “With a house or apartment rental, " says Michael Thiel, president, Hideaways International, a membership home rental service, "There's a psychic advantage. You get more of a feel that you've really been to a place. You are going to the local grocery, buying at the local bakery. You feel more of a native than a tourist."
Decide where you want to stay, whether in the city, or the countryside. Expect to pay a deposit of several hundred dollars upon arrival to cover any potential damage and find out as much as possible about the unit and the area before reserving.
*Receive a full description of the property.
*Find out about safety factors for kids: are there winding staircases, unrailed balconies or porches, etc.
* Find out about the sleeping arrangements, including the number of bedrooms, and whether beds are single or double.
* Ask who cleans the property between rentals.
* Find out about the type and condition of the furnishings.
* Ask if the lodging is equipped with a washer and dryer, and if not, where are the nearest facilities.
* Ask about the neighborhood, and how far is it to parks, shops, and public transportation.
* Find out if the apartment is air-conditioned. Many are not.
* Find out if you need to bring or rent linens. Many homes don't provide these.
* Ask about added fees for electricity (most apartments and homes tack this on).
Interhome and Hideaways International are among several companies offering a wide range of rental apartments and homes.