If, like us, you have started thinking about your next family getaway, a beautiful villa somewhere nice and hot with plenty of activities to keep the kids busy and with enough equipment included to ensure you don’t risk going over your luggage allowance is probably top of your wish list. A villa holiday means you can set your own pace, ensure afternoon naps aren’t disturbed and everyone has their favourite snacks on hand. Make sure you book the perfect rental with our top tips for choosing a holiday villa.
Location, location, location!
Where you end up will depend on what time of year it is, whether you want a city break or to relax around a pool and who you are taking with you. Its easier to have a location in mind before you start looking for that perfect villa, you will often have to book flights separately so see if you can find some good value travel options before your head gets turned by a gorgeous, great value property. http://www.skyscanner.net lets you pick a month if your dates are flexible or try typing “everywhere” into the destination box to see the best deals from your local airport.
Make sure you check the weather. When travelling with kids you want to be able to enjoy a trip to the beach or the local park without worrying about packing the waterproofs. But also consider whether the temperature will be too hot. Being stuck inside for a week for fear of the baby getting sunstroke is no fun however beautiful the villa.
If you want a break from driving for your holiday then it’s probably best to stick close to the airport in a resort, large town or city. But if at least one of you is happy to drive then factor in the cost of hiring a car. Or even book a ferry and drive the whole way.
Size does matter
Somewhere small and cosy can be perfect if it’s just three or four of you. Or if you don’t want to spend much time inside. But if you plan on going away with another family or grandparents, it is important to ensure everyone has enough space to take themselves off for some quiet time. Make sure you know what everyone’s expectations are before you book. Are ensuite bathrooms in each room essential? Do you need somewhere quiet for Grandad to snooze while the kids run around?
Double-check the specifics
If you will you be taking tablets to entertain the kids if you need some time out then check that the villa has wifi. Also if it’s free or there are any limits you need to keep an eye on.
If you are taking kids with you, a villa with a pool will probably be top of your list. But check if it’s heated or if you need to pay to have it heated. There is nothing worse than imagining relaxing on a sunlounger with the kids burning off some energy daily practicing their swimming. Then them refusing to try it out because it’s too cold when you arrive! Check if you have to pay a fee to use the BBQ. If so, how often will you actually use it or do you plan to have several meals out. Also check what equipment is available for the kids and is it age appropriate. Do you need a high chair, a microwave for sterilizing, will you need a cot to be set up? Are any of the beds sofa beds and if so will someone have to sleep in the lounge? It’s also worth checking if towels, bedding and beach towels are included in the price? Choosing a holiday villa doesn’t have to be complicated but it does take a little focus.
Again this is really dependent on the ages of your party. If you’re traveling with toddlers then a villa on one level or with stair gates is going to be a deal breaker for you. The same with the pool. Is there a gate you can shut to ensure no one accidentally wanders too close to the edge? Is there a shallow end for less confident swimmers to splash about in? Also check that the garden area is fully enclosed and any ponds or streams are gated off.
Reviews make research easy
Read any reviews you can find on your shortlist of villas. These can give you an honest account of the property and its location. Also any extras not included in the marketing, like the quality of the kitchen equipment or bedding. These will also often include tips on the local area. For instance, where is the closest shop to stock up on nappies, is there a fab little restaurant in walking distance, any child friendly activities for days when you want to explore.
Most importantly enjoy your planning. Start early to get the best deals and try to get the whole family to input ideas for choosing a holiday villa.