Trip Coach: January 9, 2007
Christine Karpinski, author of "How To Rent Vacation Properties By Owner," answered your questions about vacation rentals.
Christine Karpinski: Hi everyone!
I'm Christine Karpinski, the author of "How To Rent Vacation Properties By Owner" as well as the Director of the Owner Community for HomeAway.com. I advise owners of second homes on how to rent their homes on a nightly, weekly or nightly basis without the use of a middleman (property manager) to vacationers like you. I have been renting out my own vacation homes in Destin, and Panama City Beach, Florida as well as Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN for nearly 10 years.
I'm here to answer your questions regarding renting a vacation home for your next vacation.
Happy Renting by Owner!
Melville, York: How would I go about renting an apartment in or near Charleston, SC for about one month during February '07? Do you recommend any resources? Thank you!
Christine Karpinski: If you're looking for a property in Charleston you have a couple of different options. You can rent a property directly from an owner or your can go through a property manager. You can find properties rented by both of these groups easily on the Internet.
If you're traveling in February, then you need to act quickly. Unfortunately, you may have a difficult time finding a property for this season because most vacation owners who rent by the month have already booked the upcoming season. The good news is there are about 800 properties for rent by owner on VRBO.com, 300 on HomeAway.com, and I've found several others by typing "Charleston vacation rentals" on Google.
Choose a specific area you wish to stay and then start searching. So you may want to also do a search on Google that's more specific, for example "Kiawah Island Vacation Rental", rather than "Charleston Vacation Rental."
Here are many of the Charleston areas:
Charleston, Awendaw, Dewees Island, Edisto Island, Edisto Beach, Folly Beach,Goat Island, Hanahan, Isle of Palms, Wild Dunes, Isle of Palms, James Island, Johns Island, Kiawah Island, Mount Pleasant, Seabrook Island, Sullivan's Island, Wadmalaw Island.
Happy Renting By Owner!
Humarock, MA: Hello, I have always wanted to rent a villa in the South of France. Can you recommend how to go about this? Where do I search, how do I know what I am truly getting? Would a home swap be better? Thank you!! Debbie
Christine Karpinski: The South of France is beautiful place to visit and there's no better way to experience Europe than to rent a home, where you can live like a local. Even though renting vacation home is gaining in popularity for Americans, renting vacation homes in Europe goes back centuries.
There are a few options that you can take when looking for homes to rent. You can look for properties that are directly rented by owner, through property owners, or through travel agents.
When looking for a property to rent on the Internet, substitute the word "holiday" for "vacation" because Europeans refer to "vacation homes" as "holiday homes" or "holiday rentals."
I would look atabritel.com. It looks as though this site has properties rented by owner and through property managers. It is by far the largest site that has homes available to rent in France; they have over 20,000 properties in France alone. Holiday-Rentals.co.uk is another good site, it has more than 5000 properties in France.
Just as if you were renting a home in Florida, likely you'd search on a specific area of Florida, the same is true when searching for properties in the South of France. Because there are so many homes to choose from, you first step would be to figure out exactly where you want to go. Nice? Marseille? Montpellier? Once you hone in on an area your searching will be much easier.
A few hints for Americans traveling to Europe: Amenities that are standard in the US are not necessarily standard in Europe. For example, many homes don't have air conditioning. Most don't come with clothes dryers and some don't even have a washing machine. Dishwashers are virtually non-existent. Some homes include a cook (usually depicted in the ads as "catered") and others do not ("self-catered"). And many homes don't have showers, only bathtubs.
If you prefer all of the luxuries and amenities "American-style hotels", you may be better off in a hotel.
As far as knowing what you're getting, it's very important to ask many questions. Choose a property that has many photographs. But also be sure to ask specific questions about the photos such as when were they taken. If you see a photo of a "view" ask if that photo was taken from the home. You should have a minimum of 2-3 conversations prior to setting up any reservations. I also recommend that you have at least one phone conversation.
To your question about home-swaps, that's entirely up to you. For some it's very uncomfortable, for others it's fine. Would you be ok with someone opening your dresser drawers? Sleeping your bed? Showering in your bathroom? If your answer is yes, then you'd be fine with a home swap. Going with a Home swap also means a lot of extra work before you leave for your vacation. You'd have to make sure that you home is ready to be the host home for the family that you're swapping with. I personally prefer to rent.
Happy Renting By Owner!
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