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Your Best Apartment Rentals in Europe
Are you looking for apartment rentals rather than hotels for your vacation?
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Renting an apartment in Europe can be far less expensive than staying at a hotel, especially when you factor in the cost of eating out three times a day versus preparing some meals…in your own kitchen.
You can find apartment rentals in all categories from very basic to ultra deluxe.
In major cities like London and Paris you can often rent an apartment for a minimum of three days. In others you may have to stay for a minimum of one week but with the Internet that's changing more and more...
Remember that apartments can be the owner’s second home or part of a larger building with many units.
Asking the right questions before you pay the deposit is essential.
EuropeUpClose article:Hotel or Apartment? How to choose?
Your benefits of renting an apartment
- They are less expensive than hotels and you can prepare some of your own meals.
- Apartments are more spacious than a hotel room - and range from small studios to much larger one-, two- and three-bedroom units.
- They are more relaxing and more flexible than a hotel…it’s your own home for a few days.
But also think about the fact that…
- You need more time to research apartments rentals than you do finding a hotel…and they have to be booked and paid for in advance.
- Apartment rentals often start on a Saturday…except in major cities.
- You’re more on your own…you don’t have staff coming in to make your beds and clean the room every day except in the upscale apartments. See Apart-hotels and Citadines below.
Questions to ask in advance…and possible warning signs
The longer you plan to stay in an apartment the more questions you want to ask
- What amenities are included? If it’s not listed it probably is not included.
- What are the sleeping arrangements? Not how many can it accommodate.
- What appliances are in the kitchen? How many sets of dishes are there? (Once a year we rent an apartment in Nice, France. The first one did not have a dishwasher and oven. Now we know better what to ask for...note that many do have washing machines with a spin cycle but no dryers.)
- Are linens provided? What’s included in the bill?
- Are pets allowed? If you don’t like pet smell, you’d better look on…
- Is there a cleaning fee at the end of the stay? What other expenses can you expect?
- How do you get the keys? Who do you call when there’s a problem?
- Check references. If there are none be careful (Rental agencies can help you. They want your business again!)
Possible warning signs on web site pictures…
- Pictures are taken with a fish-eye lens…the rooms could be small.
- Does it show a box fan or ceiling fan…you probably won’t have A/C.
- Take a look at the kitchen…if you can’t imagine using it, look at others.
- Do you see a spiral staircase and many knickknacks? Think of your children first!
And please don’t forget when renting an apartment to...
- Read the contract carefully before you make your deposit. Make sure you rent the correct property. After searching so many listings you might be confused. (Many renters have made this error)
- Check your insurance policies or buy travel insurance. Most vacation rental cancellation policies are very strict.
- Prepare for your arrival. Know where to get the key or who to contact if you’re delayed.
- Call immediately if you have any problem with your apartment. Be cordial but firm.
- Bring your own laptop that plays DVD’s or portable DVD player.
- Bring pillows and bedding if you’re prone to allergies.
Do you like the idea of renting an apartment…but want more services?
You’re in luck because Europe now offers many hotel apartments or apart-hotels, especially in the larger cities.
They are very convenient. We use them while we are on business or vacation.
- Apart-hotels have reception desks that take your messages…apart-hotels offer breakfast if you don’t feel like making your own…and they provide cleaning service every few days or every day if you want to pay extra.
- You have the benefit of both a hotel and an apartment with your own kitchenette, dishes and appliances.
Citadines is a major company for apart-hotels in Europe.
Paris has about 20 Citadines. You can also find them in larger cities in France - plus London, Brussels, Barcelona and Berlin.
Citadines can be booked online. It’s simple…you pay by the day with no minimum number of nights. If you stay longer you get a discount, usually with 7 or 22 nights.
So…what’s the best and simplest way to book your apartment rentals in Europe?
- Your first option
The least expensive, but not necessarily the quickest way, is to search the Internet. Look for short term apartments and the name of the city you plan to visit.
You’ll get lots of results from both owners and rental agencies. And, you’ll be busy for a while going through all of them!
- Your second option
If you have special requests, it is a lot quicker and easier for you to go through rental agencies that specialize in the region or city you plan to visit.
They can be in Europe or in your home country.
The latter ones may be more expensive, but at least you can talk to them in your own language. They have seen most of the properties and they want you back in the future.
They will do everything possible to make sure you get the place you expected.
Yes, it may be more expensive, but with apartment rentals (or villas, cottages, etc.) remember the old motto: Better safe than sorry.
- Your third option
If you plan to rent an apartment for a longer period, it’s better to go to Europe and first stay at a hotel for a few nights. Then visit local rental agencies and see the place first before you decide.
The European Travel Resource Center provides the names for each option and direct links to their web sites by country.
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