Advice Before Booking Holiday Rentals Online

Booking self catering apartments or villa rentals is often a cheaper and more flexible way of enjoying a holiday in comparison to hotels. Unfortunately, there are some potential issues and scams that you should be aware of when booking holiday rentals online.

No matter how hard travel companies and authorities try to prevent scams, there will always be fraudsters who will try and make money illegally. Unfortunately, this often results in innocent people having their holiday dreams shattered.

How To Avoid Holiday Rental Scams

1. Finding the right holiday rental company
Finding the right holiday rentals website for booking apartments, villas and other forms of holiday accommodation online is extremely difficult. Your first piece of advice is to find a trustworthy website. To trust a company or website, you could check the age of the website using a domain age checker tool such as ‘seologs’. This is a neat little tool that allows you to input the website’s name and you will immediately be given the date that the website was first registered. Online holiday businesses come and go, and if the website name appears to have been registered within the last year or two, then it is probably best avoiding. Another way to check the credibility of a company is to visit your favourite search engine and search using the full holiday website domain name followed by ‘scam’. This search should return all results that relate to the rental company and scams, if any exist. Do a quick check on the first two pages of results to see if your chosen company appears in the results and whether any negative stories about them exist.

2. Advertising and Links
Holiday Rental websites that display lots of adverts, banners or links to other sites are also best avoided. Website owners who place advertising on their site do this purely to generate revenue through third party companies (against Google’s guidelines) or use a system in place where the owner makes money each time their advert or link is clicked by visitors. You need to ask yourself the question, if you visit a site which you believe is a holiday rentals site, will you really benefit in any way from seeing or clicking on lots of adverts or links that lead to third party sites? Many of these links can be quite discrete and may fool, and if you click on what you believe is a genuine link or use a link to search for accommodation in a particular destination, you could be taken to an alternative website. The only purpose of this is to generate some revenue for the website owner, which means they do not care where you click on the site and will certainly not be bothered about you booking a genuine holiday. Another method of advertising is the use of pop-up adverts, these can be rather annoying and deceptive by placing information in front of you when you have not requested it. Do yourself a favour; don’t waste your time and avoid these types of sites.

3. Contact Details
When you have found a Holiday rental website that advertises a choice of properties, before you make any enquiries to property owners, have a quick check to see if the holiday rentals website displays their contact details. If the site does not display a phone number, address or email address then it means this website does not want to be contactable. If you ever have a problem or a query, how can you contact the site? Do yourself a favour and avoid sites that offer no support or a means to contact them.

4. Be Realistic
If a website is displaying holiday accommodation with exceptionally low prices or huge discounts, be wary. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

5. Remain Vigilant
If you find a property advert but it displays minimal information, this suggests that the owner has not been willing to make much effort to promote their own personal property. Holiday homes are an investment, and most genuine owners want a return on their investment and will therefore market their property accordingly, which involves spending some time and effort to create an attractive looking property advert online. The owners advert may well be genuine, but adverts like this often lack information for a reason. Be wary, and if you are in any doubt you should request further details from the owner such as more photos, to help you visualize the property.

6. Research the Property
Before you part with any money for deposits you should obtain the owners full contact details including their home address, the holiday home address, phone numbers and email address. Once you have received the address for the holiday home, it is worth checking that the property address actually exists, using Google maps. It is also worth doing some searches using the owners name and email address, in case this returns some negative PR or bad experiences from previous guests. Request to see some references from previous guests, and contacting them directly should give you some added comfort.

7. Keep Records
Keep a copy of all email and telephone correspondence with the owner before your booking, including statements for any payment made to the owner. You should also request a receipt from the owner for any payment made to them, and keep copies for your records.

8. Travel Insurance
Most travel insurance companies do not cover fraud, so if you have been caught out by a bogus scam then it is likely that you will be left on your own to retrieve the money. To safe-guard yourself, check with your current insurance provider what your policy covers. There are some travel insurance companies that do cover fraud, especially in situations where visitors have booked a property that is wrongly described or does not actually exist. It is well worth taking time to find an insurance company that covers this before you book your holiday.

9. Payment
It is advisable to pay your transaction by credit card, as many card companies do provide some form of protection. Check what your card provider actually covers.

10. Refundable Deposits
Many owners request a deposit to cover damage or breakages should they occur during the holiday. The deposit should be a refundable deposit and returned to the visitor upon satisfactory inspection and exit of property. When booking the property, make sure you are comfortable with the amount of deposit being requested, and have an agreement on how soon the money will be returned. It is also a good idea to take some photos before you exit the property, and request that the owners agent checks and agrees with you in writing that the property has been left in a good condition with no breakages.

Most people have been booking holiday rentals for many years and experience no problems whatsoever. Just be a little cautious and don’t leave your brains on the plane.

Vacation Villas in Spain in the Balearics – Can You Cut Costs by Booking Direct?

The Balearic Islands off the coast of Spain are always popular with visitors from the United Kingdom who like to book vacation villas in Spain or apartment holiday accommodation in Spain there. In the current economic climate a holiday rental apartment booked direct with the owner may well be a cheaper alternative to a package holiday. Happily, there is a considerable selection of vacation homes available to rent direct if you know where to start searching. Try researching on the internet using search words and phrases like ‘holiday rental apartment Balearic Islands’ or even ‘vacation villas in Spain’. You will certainly discover that there are a lot of online websites which list private holiday homes to let on each of the Balearic Islands – the only dilemma is which one to go for?

The group of islands is an independent community and a province of Spain. The Balearic Islands have two recognized languages which are Spanish and Catalan. The four main islands of the Balearics are (smallest first) Formentera, Ibiza, Menorca (also known as Minorca) and Mallorca (also known as Majorca). All of the islands are favourite summertime holiday destinations for many European and overseas visitors who want to book apartment or villa holiday accommodation in Spain directly from the proprietors of holiday homes.

Of all the Balearic Islands, Menorca is the least commercial and has done the best job of preserving the striking natural beauty for which the islands are known. It benefits from fabulous Mediterranean weather conditions with hot, sun-filled summers and nice, mild winters. It has retained a lot of its Spanish customs and is generally preferred by family groups or those who want a restful, sunny break. It has a significantly larger number of beaches than the other Balearic Islands and is a favourite option for families who want to book vacation villas in Spain or apartment rentals for a relaxing seaside break.

In direct contrast to Menorca is Ibiza which is famous for its party atmosphere and attracts huge numbers of tourists year after year. Holidaymakers are drawn to the island by the infamous nightlife, excellent beaches and clear azure sea, the great scenery and the variety of vacation villas in Spain and holiday rental apartments which are available to book direct. Notwithstanding its fame for attracting parties of young adults who come for the night club scene, Ibiza does in reality have a wide range of holiday destinations which are ideal for all sorts of tourists including quite a lot of family-orientated resorts.

Mallorca is popular with holidaymakers who want vacation villas in Spain to make the most of the sunshine, the seaside and the night-time entertainment. Palma is the capital of the island as well as being capital of the Balearics and is an exciting city packed with culture, heritage and fantastic places to eat with plenty of night-time entertainment. Magaluf in the south is an ever popular place to stay with its wide, sweeping beaches and its exciting, vibrant nightlife with hundreds of clubs and discos to suit all tastes. However if you were searching for a quieter resort you should try Alcudia in the north which is more family-friendly.

Formentera is the smallest of the four main islands at barely 12 miles long from one end to the other. Holidaymakers and visitors to Formentera are enticed by its amazing beauty and tranquil, relaxed ambiance. Formentera’s major resort is Es Pujols, which has a nice assortment of retail stores, bars and eating places. However, there are only a limited amount of hotels and vacation villas in Spain on the market, so if you wish to holiday on this fantastic island during the high season you will need to reserve your hotel or apartment holiday accommodation Spain as early as you can.

Apartments to Rent on the Costa Blanca Spain – Is Benidorm the Best Place to Stay?

Ever considered booking apartments to rent on the Costa Blanca Spain direct from the holiday apartment owner? Many people have and it is an increasingly popular method of saving cash not only on Spanish apartments to rent, but also for airline flights and for car hire in Benidorm Spain. To be frank it is pretty easy to do yourself and you save cash by cutting out the tour operator or holiday company and dealing with the property owner directly through a dedicated website. You can find websites, that don’t charge a fee, by looking on your p.c. using search phrases like ‘holiday-villa-select’, ‘owners-direct Spain’ or even ‘apartments to rent on the Costa Blanca Spain’. When you’ve located a good quality luxury villa rental in Spain, be sure to speak to the private owner directly and don’t go through an agent or intermediary.

Whenever the topic of package-holidays in Spain is mentioned, the resort that would readily spring to mind would be Benidorm. Nevertheless, things are changing and this terrific town is now becoming an ideal location to find apartments to rent on the Costa Blanca Spain which can be reserved directly with the apartment owners. Many holidaymakers now want to rent villas with a pool in Spain or are after Spanish apartments to rent outside the busy tourist areas. This is one of the advantages of booking accommodation from a private owner as there is a far more extensive selection of apartments to rent on the Costa Blanca Spain for a beach-based holiday or even a golf holiday in Spain than the package tour firms can make available.

Alicante is the airport of choice for most people holidaying in Benidorm. Car hire in Benidorm, Spain is a matter of choice and many people don’t bother as there is plenty going on to amuse them in the town. On the other hand a car may be essential for those with the more outlying apartments to rent on the Costa Blanca Spain – you would need to check before travelling. A hire-car is definitely essential if you want to explore the local historical sights, visit the water sports centres or enjoy a round of golf at one of the excellent local golf courses.

In Benidorm, the sun is at its hottest during the summer months, with temperatures rarely falling below 28°C. Winters are typically very mild with averages hovering around 15°C-18°C. All this makes Benidorm weather an all year round attraction so you should always ensure your Spanish apartments to rent and your car hire in Benidorm Spain comes with air-conditioning.

Last but not least, while we at all times advise you to book direct with the proprietor for your apartments to rent on the Costa Blanca Spain, we propose that you also reserve your car hire rentals and flights well ahead so you can get the best price, but most importantly don’t neglect to book suitable travel insurance.