Let me introduce you to Leanne. This woman of awesomeness and all-round lovely lady runs Getaway Guru, an online agency offering a large and VERY tempting range of Australian- and NZ-owned holiday rentals in France and Italy (I’m dreaming of this one!). She is my go-to gal for advice and hand-holding for holiday rental accommodation anywhere in this wonderful world. This type of accom is super family friendly and I’m keen to use it more often, but I’m never quite sure where to start. Between her business and her own experience travelling the world with her now teenage boys, she knows all the ins and outs and is helping us with step 1 today – how to find holiday rental accommodation you can trust.
Over recent years, more and more travellers have begun to turn to holiday rental sites to find accommodation, giving the hotel industry some serious competition. If you’re travelling as a family, considerations such as more space at less cost can make a holiday rental an appealing option for your holiday accommodation. But searching for holiday rentals is not easy. Doing a Google search will return you hundreds of thousands of links and you will very quickly become overwhelmed reviewing the search results.
The secret to success is actually taking some time to plan before you even start the search.
Why choose a holiday rental?
Holiday rentals are private homes and apartments that owners rent out to travellers when they are not being used by the owner or because it is a 2nd home. As you’re renting someone’s home, you’ll find that holiday rentals offer more space, privacy and amenities than a traditional hotel room.
Holiday rentals are typically self-contained apartments or houses. This means you are likely to get better amenities and space including –
- Multiple bedrooms
- Separate lounge
- A fully equipped kitchen
- Laundry facilities
- Accommodation with a local feel and sometimes unique features instead of a cookie-cutter style hotel room
- And, depending on your needs, even a private pool, off-street parking or an outdoor area/terrace to further enjoy your surroundings
They are generally not serviced during your stay, nor do they have a reception, concierge, restaurants or room service. For the family who prefers to be independent, it is a great opportunity to save money on these unwanted services.
Work out what you need before you start searching
It is important to define your search criteria to help you filter out those properties that are not what you’re looking for. Consider points like –
- Bedding Configurations – How many beds and bedrooms do you need? Knowing how many people a property sleeps is not always the question to ask (as a property that ‘sleeps 6’ may do so via sofa beds). Be specific on both the bedding configurations and number of bedrooms that you need.
- Amenities – Think about what you need (parking; washing machine) and what you’d like (pool; heating/air-conditioning)– and what you’re willing to compromise on for the right property.
- Location – narrow down the location for your search. For city stays, think about the specific neighbourhood/s you’d prefer to be located in (for example if you’re going to Paris, which arrondissement do you want to base yourself in?). If you’ll be based in regional areas (e.g. Tuscany, South of France) think about the village/town you want to be near or in.
- Price – not many of us have an unlimited budget so be clear about what you can afford and are willing to spend.
Defining these criteria means you can then fine-tune the search results to only show those properties that best meet your needs.
Now, let the searching commence.
Where to search for holiday rental accommodation in Australia
Whether you want a beach house, a city apartment or some country seclusion, check out these sites –
- Stayz offers over 45,000 holiday rentals
- Airbnb has upwards of 35,000 listings across Australia
- Or google “[your destination] holiday rental” e.g. “Byron Bay holiday rental” to find local representatives (usually real estate agents who list and manage holiday rentals on behalf of owners)
Where to search for holiday rental accommodation overseas
Some of the sites I use and recommend for searching and booking overseas holiday rentals (aka vacation rentals) include:
- Airbnb has properties across over 190 countries so you’re sure to find something for your destination.
- Homeaway is one of the biggest competitors of Airbnb and promotes itself as having over 1 million listings.
- Holidaylettings, owned by TripAdvisor, has the added advantage of integrated TripAdvisor reviews of the listed properties.
- Housetrip entered the market in 2010 and is positioning itself as another strong Airbnb competitor.
Outside of these large holiday rental sites, there are many other specialist or niche sites that cater to a specific market (eg Paris apartments or Tuscan villas), so if you have specific destination criteria, sites like these can also be useful.
Leanne is an enthusiastic lover of life, coffee, beaches, champagne and travel. She is Chief Travel Chick at Getaway Guru and is always planning or dreaming of her next getaway.
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Have you ever stayed in a holiday rental rather than a hotel?