To Recap from the first part of our story, when you join friends or family to rent a luxurious vacation home, you can travel in a style that far outreaches your personal budget.
Rent a luxury villa in one of the more popular destinations, a you can expect to spend upwards from $8,000. Popular U.S. destinations like Lake Tahoe, Hilton Head or Martha’s Vineyard are snatched up quickly and returning families will often place a deposit on a home at the end of the summer. You will have to start now if you want to find a fairly good villa, condo or home to rent.
Good properties can still be found, however. The market is still a bit shaky with many people taking a wait and see approach before booking.
- The first thing you must decide is who’s going—and it bears repeating; if you don’t get along at home, you won’t get along on vacation.
- Next, you’ll want to decide the type of accommodations. Your budget will help narrow this choice quickly. Luxury properties and beach homes can be opulently furnished while other vacation homes or condominiums may be more Spartan offering the basic bedrooms and kitchenette. The convenience of your own kitchen and refrigerator can save money and the hassle of getting dressed in the morning to go out to eat breakfast. If you’re like most people, you don’t want to spend your vacation cooking, but it’s nice to have snacks and beverages at your ready without having to go out or call room service.
- Make sure there are enough double beds if your group consists of all couples and/or sufficient single beds and baths for single travelers and children. If everyone is paying the same price, you need to decide who’s going to sleep where before you arrive. Just because the brochure says, “sleeps 8” doesn’t necessarily mean the property sleeps 8 adults! Who wants to spend the “bae-cation on a sofa or single bed!
- Ask if the kitchen is stocked with groceries prior to your arrival. This can usually be arranged for an extra fee through the rental manager.
- Always ask to see the pictures. Pictures of most homes and villas and many allow a detailed look through virtual tours. SCAMS do happen. Do your research to insure you’re working with the real owner and person authorized to rent the property.
Remember, your rental agreement is a legal, binding contract. You will not always get your money back if you have to cancel your rental, so it’s important to make sure everyone in the group understands there are no refunds. Patty Leland of Martha’s Vineyard Vacations handles all aspects of the rental from beginning to end, including guiding guests on how to purchase ferry tickets to the island.
“We provide an arrival package which contains keys, maps, beach and emergency contact information,” said Leland. A 50% deposit, she explained, is required at the initial signing of the contract with the balance plus a security deposit generally in the range of 10% of the rental fee due 30 days prior to arrival.
Ask if there are restaurants nearby. How far are you really from the beach or the nearest town? While you may be quite content with simply relaxing, younger members of the group may want more activity. After traveling with a group of friends to Martha’s Vineyard last year, 30-year-old Casey decided to pass when the group began planning a return trip there next summer.
“There wasn’t enough to do. There was no nightlife and the beaches weren’t that great,” she said.
You should also determine if you want to be in a private, secluded location, or close to activities and towns. Consider the ages of the children when choosing which part of the island you will nest in for a while, and that includes the waters of the ocean. Make sure it’s mostly calm so the young ones can play comfortably in the surf.
Nadine Davison, author of Travel With Others without Wishing They’d Stayed Home, writes that people generally fall into several travel types—the comfort seeker, the adventurer, the beach bum and the cultural traveler among others. To determine if your travel personalities are compatible, ask your potential housemates where they’ve traveled before. This will usually provide a good idea of the type of travelers they are.
That’s probably one of the main reasons our ski housemates got along so well despite the large numbers of people in the house–they were all independent travelers. All of the women were accustomed to traveling solo and the entire group was adventuresome by nature.