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Top Vacation Rental Around the World
What are Vacation Rentals?
By definition the travel industry term "vacation rental" refers to a furnished house or apartment that is rented out on a short-term basis. A vacation rental serves as an alternative to traditional hotels and is typically occupied by vacationers or tourists. The use of vacation rentals is not uncommon in Canada and Europe, this trend is also gaining popularity in the United States and other key locations around the globe.

Vacation rentals are sometimes called holiday rentals, villa rentals, self-catering rentals, holiday villas, agriturism, gites, etc... In certain countries, including Spain, France, Ireland, and England, the government sponsors its own vacation rental programs. Other governments certify rental locations or promote properties to attract tourists.

Pros and Cons of Vacation Rentals
There are several reasons an individual or family would want to take advantage of a vacation rental. Most often, vacationers who utilize a villa rental find they save money and have more room to relax in. In addition to a low cost and more space, people who rent vacation rentals are not subject to traditional hotel fees including taxes, tips, and service charges. In addition, because a vacation rental is a dwelling, it comes with a formal living room, kitchen, and bedroom. In other words, a vacation rental provides all the luxuries of a conventional home.

Perhaps the biggest vacation rental disadvantage is, the booking process takes getting use to. Consumers who aren't familiar with renting holiday properties may find it difficult to adjust to the idea of booking an entire home versus a room at a hotel which is perceivably easier and faster. However, this process is equally simple and definitely worth trying.

Another common "disadvantage" to leasing a holiday rental is booking the property via the homeowner, no customer service representatives to assist the visitors, uncertainty regarding quality, and simply be unfamiliar with the location. However, these worries are often unfounded. Most vacation rentals are managed by an agency that provides quality service including housekeeping, 24-hour maintenance, check-in, and even concierge services.

Most often, the benefits of leasing a vacation rental far outweigh any disadvantages associated with the practice. Vacationers receive more space for less money, several bedrooms and often multiple bathrooms, a separate living area and an abundance of amenities including fireplaces, kitchens, and hot tubs. Villa rentals also tend to be located conveniently close to local attractions including the beach, city centers, or resort areas. As an added bonus, holiday rentals offer considerably more privacy than a hotel room.

One of the best attributes to vacation rentals is the diversity they represent. A traveler can rent a simple, one-bedroom apartment for a single night or splurge on a luxurious, well-situated home that boasts the best accommodations. Some vacation rentals offer exceptionally luxurious accommodations including private beaches, cooking lessons, on-staff chef, and fully staffed facility.

While vacation rentals are more prominent in Europe, it is quickly growing in the U.S. Currently major tourist destinations, including California, Florida, North Carolina, and Hawaii, have a wide selection of vacation rentals.

Vacation Rental Management
Many vacation rental owners contract a property management company to advertise and manage their vacation rentals. Vacation rental companies manage, promote, rent, and oversee all operations of the property. This means, renters work through the management company instead of the vacation rental owner.

Several vacation rental managers list their services with to showcase their business to both travelers and property owners.

Listing Services and Aggregators
The majority of prominent vacation rental agencies feature online booking services. Some agencies specialize specifically in villa vacation packages. When looking for a reputable management group, find an agency that markets its properties with high-quality information. Bookings should include an official rental agreement and the agency should practice standardized booking procedures.

It is recommended that because listing agents/services are not required to verify property information, potential renters request additional information, such as letters of reference, before signing a rental agreement. Furthermore, because homes found through a listing service are managed by an individual and not an agency, the vacationer is subject to that person's payment/deposit requirements, check-in procedure, cancellation policy, and so on. However, a vacationer can sometimes cut costs by utilizing listing services instead of an agency that typically tacks on additional fees to make the venture worthwhile.