Tips To Help You Choose A Vacation Rental

Are you putting together a travel plan? Since there are so many options, it may hard for you to opt for a vacation rental home. In this article, we have given 5 tips to help you choose a vacation rental home with ease. Hope these tips will make your next trip just amazing.

Pay Attention To The Pictures

The importance of taking a look at the pictures of the home can’t be denied. In fact, you should review each picture with great attention. During your review, if you don’t find a lot of clear, well-lit, most recent pictures of house, just keep digging deeper. Keep in mind that a reputable rental property will offer a lot of brilliant photos.

Make sure you can find photos taken from different angles, such as the outside, the inside, and the street view, to name a few.

Consider The Amount of Space

Although square footage is important, this doesn’t tell the whole story about a house. For instance, if a house has high ceilings, the home will look spacious. On the other hand, low ceilings will make a house look confined. Make sure the place is not teaming with lots of unnecessary furniture. But it should have the required furniture. After all, you can’t take chairs and tables with you on your trip.

The Home Should Be Well-stocked

Before you go on a trip, make sure you don’t pack too much stuff. Actually, what you need to do is opt for a vacation rental home that is stocked with all the stuff that tourists usually need. The house should be able to meet your day-to-day household needs.

Apart from the sheets, extra pillows, towels, and the toilet paper, the place should also offer necessary kitchen stuff, such as serving trays, utensils, cups and plates, to name a few. Apart from this, make sure the place provides routinely used appliances, such as microwave, toaster, and office maker.

Reputable vacation rentals also keep their properties stocked with family-friendly stuff, such as magazines, books and board games. Some also provide video game consoles, yard games and football tables.

Family-Friendly Activities

You should look for a place that offers tons of fun activities in the neighborhood. It can be a museum or a zoo, for instance, where you can have fun with your family. If the fun activities are at a walking distance from the rental home, that is even better.

Customer Service

Lastly, it’s important that you search for a vacation rental that offers the top-notch customer service. In fact, the way they will deal with you even before you have chosen them will give you a better idea of their customer service. It will help you find out more about the type of house you are going to rent and the type of experience you will enjoy.

Finding Vacation Rentals

Are you planning to spend your vacation with your friends or family members in a memorable way? You want to spend a week or more. Getting a private accommodation would be more profitable than staying in a hotel room. You can save your extra expenses. However, choosing a right vacation rental is not a cakewalk. It is tough enough. A vast majority of seekers does not know where to find vacation rentals. There are many things to find and consider.

Given below are some important tips:

Google search

Google search is the best way to find vacation rentals. If you follow this method, you will come across many options with an opportunity of filtering these in your own ways. The option to filter the results for vacation rentals will help you reach the right destination. Long before it was reported that Google was testing a vacation-rental filter. We can find this now available in certain cities.

Therefore, the question comes- “how does this work?”

You just type “hotels in London, the UK” in the search bar. It will fetch a Google map along with a list of hotels, amenities and prices. Now you can filter the search for your specific travel dates. There is a drop-down menu under the map to tell you “Accommodation type.” This helps you choose either “any” or “vacation rentals”. Now if you click on vacation rentals, you will get to see a list of options and prices and the map will be changed to show you only rentals.

Dedicated websites

There are many dedicated websites helping you find vacation homes in your desired ways by going directly to those sites. Even you can book a rental if you find anything matching your needs and budgets. Some of these include a brief description of it and the reviews posted by many users.

When you do a Google search to book one, the search engine giant Google redirects you to a travel website offering this booking facility. Sometimes, it links the filter to a website that facilities you to browse photos and read descriptions. Besides, it can tell about the amenities.

Websites offering travel news

There are many websites dedicated to offering travel news. These websites are good. They include many vacation homes along with the latest news and detail analysis of these places along with their pros and cons. These websites are very useful to tell you all in details. It helps you take a better decision and get ready accordingly.

Is Your Hotel Ready for the Millennial Traveler?

Before I continue, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page about who were referring to when we use the expression ‘millennial traveler’.

Millennial, also more commonly referred to as Generation Y or Generation Next, are people who were born between the early 1980s and early 2000s. They make up about 20% of international travelers and it is estimated that by 2020, they will account for more than 320 million international trips.

Phew. Those are some staggering numbers right there! It’s no wonder that hotels are wooing them with everything they have. But for all the effort they’re making, do hotels really have what Millennial want? Do they even know what Millennial are looking for?

If you’re not quite sure, let me drop a few hints your way

Hint No.1: Technology is their life force

Technology is to Millennial what water is to fish – life itself. The perks that most of us consider good to have – Internet, WiFi, hi-speed mobile data – are essential to their way of living.

What this means for hotels

According to a report, almost 71% of Millennial travelers considered free WiFi an important factor when choosing a hotel. So hotels, pull up your socks and put the technology in place for them. Or they’re likely to walk up to your competitor and book a room with them.

Hint No.2: Millennial love their smartphones

‘Technology at your fingertips’ is an expression that’s taken very seriously by the Millennial. He is likely to go for hours without food and water, but not without checking his smartphone. He works, plays, chats, networks, writes emails, watches videos, and stays up to date on news using his phone. Other more complicated actions like booking tickets, making hotel arrangements, and paying bills can also be competently handled by his handset.

What this means for hotels

It’s absolutely imperative that hotels invest in superior mobile technology, starting with a website that adapts to different screen sizes and resolutions. With more than half of millennial travelers using mobile devices to discover and book hotels, the hospitality industry is paying a heavy price for not investing in a mobile responsive website. You might also want to consider getting an app for your hotel, to facilitate functions like mobile check in, check out, payments, and en-cashing loyalty points.

Hint No.3: Millennial are ‘social’ creatures

Generation Y is often criticized for shirking the forms of social interaction that their parents were fond of. They’re considered aloof, standoffish, and a little bit asocial. But the truth is that Millennial do tend to connect to each other, just not in ways that are familiar to us. The online world, especially social media, takes precedence in their social life. Facebook, Twitter, What’sApp, GChat, and Snapchat is where they hang out, check in, upload pictures, start conversations, and share details of their life.

What this means for hotels

Given that social media is one of the biggest influencing factors in the life of a Millennial, hotels must make a concerted effort to have a presence on various platforms. In fact, they must go beyond the token Facebook and Instagram page and build a community online. Reach out to your audience, engage them, solve their problems, and invite them to leave reviews. An active social media profile inspires confidence among Millennial and is likely to win you brownie points in the long run.

Hint No.4: Millennial place great faith in peer reviews

Generation Y is a suspicious lot and they can recognize a marketing gimmick from a mile away. For this reason, they rely heavily on ‘peer review’ to gather information about a place. Whether they’re buying a new gadget or trying out a restaurant in the neighborhood, you’ll see them pouring over reviews before deciding to do anything. They consider it a more authentic and ‘real’ source of information. And you can be 100 per cent sure that they’ll be reading up about your hotel before deciding to stay there.

What this means for hotels

Do not try to patronize or trick the Millennial traveler. All your online properties (website, blog, social media profiles) should display accurate information, accompanied by up-to-date pictures. If you’re offering a deal or discount, lay out the terms in black and white. Encourage your visitors to leave you a review on platforms like Trip-advisor or your Facebook page; incentivize the process, if you have to. Should you receive a negative review, take steps to address it and resolve the situation.

Millennial don’t expect you to be flawless. However, they do expect you to be transparent and sincere. Mistakes are an inevitable part of your industry and if you’ve taken every possible step to rectify the problem, you will be forgiven. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself at the receiving end of a nasty review posted for the entire world to see.

Hint No.5: Millennial are into Bleisure

Generation Y is relatively unencumbered by responsibilities at home and are more open to taking business trips. However, unlike the previous generation, almost 62% of millennial travelers will extend their business vacation to explore the place and gain cultural experiences.

What this means for hotels

Gone are the days when that solitary desk in the hotel room took care of any ‘business needs’ that travelers had. Millennial do not like working inside their rooms. This is the generation that steps out to a coffee shop to sit with their laptops and work for hours. The concept of the ‘third space’, independent of home and office, has been popularized by them. Design hotel lobbies to cater to this demand, so that when they step out in search for a place to work, they don’t have to go very far.

Hint No.6: Millennial look for authentic experiences

Despite what might look like their preoccupation with the cyber world, Millennial are always looking for unique and meaningful travel experiences. They want their stay personalized and won’t pass up an opportunity to learn something valuable. Not content with hitting the high spots of a tourist destination, they crave interaction with locals and enjoy immersing themselves in a variety of cultural experiences.

What this means for hotels

Reject the cookie cutter approach to the services you offer your guests. Offer them a genuine travel experience, one that is immersive, interactive and hands on. Don’t just take them on a regular sightseeing tour that showcases the city from behind the panes of a bus or car window. Take them to meet local artisans, show them the way to the hip and happening underground bar, and expose them to interesting customs and traditions. That’s the only way to add true value to their life and create an experience they will cherish for life.

There’s no denying that Millennial are driving the hospitality industry with full force. They already account for a third of the hotel guests in the world, and by 2020, the figure is expected to climb to 50 per cent.

To keep pace with growing demands, hotels must show a willingness to evolve and reinvent themselves. They have to put aside traditional methods of functioning, revisit their marketing strategy, and curate unique experiences for Generation Y.

Besides, it is in their best interest that hotels up their game. By updating their offers, hotels stay relevant within the industry and equipped to deal with the demands of changing times. Millennial travelers are the cash cow that every industry dreams of, and by catering to them, hotels are ensuring themselves a solid revenue stream for the next few decades, at least.

Expat Clubs Groups and Associations

Expat Groups are a way for those living abroad to meet and make new friends with like minded people who are living in a country other than their own. Whether you are traveling the world for leisure or working for large or small global corporation, when you first arrive at a new country you can be ‘lost at sea’ and not having any friends can be both daunting and lonely. The challenge is to find and join expat groups, clubs and association to help you adjust to a new way of life, in what may be an exciting move, yet alien and strange at first. Expats, Travel, Food and Hospitality go hand in hand and many expats living abroad crave for their home grown foods and beverages whilst being away from home. Fortunately due to the world of online shopping and web surfing expats can order food and beverage, gift packages, fine wine, premium beers and ales and all kinds of alcoholic beverages and have them shipped directly to their door without having to leave their living room.

Additionally they can search for and find catering companies for their corporate function of social event. Whilst playing tennis and going to movies and enjoying many of the wonders of a new country may be fun, expats often still feel the loneliness, especially when they come to make friends only to find their friends have moved on to work in another county. And so the wheels of the merry go rounds continues to turn and the need for companionship and familiarity can be so powerful that it can often leave you sad depressed and totally alone. This is where familiar food and beverages from home can help to ease that void and Expats from around the world can now find many of the foods from their country of origin here at the worlds first and only dedicated directory for fine food and premium beverages.

Expats can buy directly from global specialty food stores and they can even find local and international logistics companies for all their logistics and transport needs. Be it the need to ship a case of wine from one Australia to China or a whole container load of personal effects. Be sure to visit our logistics platform to search our detailed list of the world’s most reputable and experienced freight forwarders, airlines, shipping lines, customs agents and global removals companies for all your transport needs.

Last-Minute Hotel Deals Will Make a Procrastinator Out of You

Last-minute hotel deals were once looked at as being able to get what you could at a price higher than you really wanted to pay. In other words, the idea of a ‘deal’ was relative and was non-existent. Sure, there were times you could score some cheap travel lodging, but it was rare & had a slew of hidden issues attached.

Nowadays, the notion of planning ahead for any type of travel seems almost crazy. What’s more, this applies to travel in-state, state-to-state-, and even international travel. No longer are borders problematic, and considering how finicky lodging can be for some travelers, this is especially welcome & also perplexing.

How is the ease of making last-minute hotel plans possible? One word – Internet. The fact remains that the Internet has revolutionized the travel industry, and you are in the driver’s seat for the entire travel booking process. Never in the history of the world has it been easier to be so involved in all facets of travel, and the truly mesmerizing thing that it just keeps getting better.

Websites all over the world for everything from the most basic motor lodge to the best five-star hotel offer user-friendly websites that allow customers the chance to even be able to see what rooms may be available. Some offer live chats with prospective travelers, and even more profound are the hotels that offer a 360° view of available rooms so that when you book, you know exactly what you’ll be seeing when you arrive. The advancement of technology is just astounding.

21st century technology has now spawned the dawn of the mobile app, which connects prospective hotel visitors to the entire world by way of a little application. On these apps, you can explore rooms, reviews, prices, and even proximity to locals attractions. Even more crucial is that these apps often have four to five-star ratings for their accuracy & ease of use, essentially silencing the critics who believe that such ‘flash-in-the-pan’ tech is limited.

A last-minute hotel room is made even easier because there is so much competition between competing hotels for your business, you can almost list your own terms, including price. There was a time when you were stuck with one option for a hotel stay, and since everyone was vying for the same rooms (i.e., Spring Break, Memorial Day/Labor weekends), you really had to plan far in advance to make sure you had somewhere to stay. While this may still be the case in more rural areas, more often than not, you really have a tremendous amount of choice when it comes to the hotel you want with the type of room you want, and you can wait until even the same day to book.

As a final note, though, travel experts do advise travelers to use common sense when booking their lodging & urge them to understand that waiting too long for last-minute hotel deals can result in having no lodging available all together, so be mindful of your plans & book accordingly.

5 Ways to Travel Solo Without Going It Alone

Solo travel has become a hot topic. Unlike “single(s)” travel, it is a broader group. It can include those who are single, married or have a partner/significant other. It may be a business person looking to add a leisure weekend or extension to a trip for work. Two stumbling blocks to solo travel can be: I. whether it is lonely to vacation as a “party of one” and ii.whether eating alone, especially dinner, is really uncomfortable.

Now having visited 68 countries and all 50 states, I have found 5 good ways to go alone without feeling you are “going it alone”.

1. River Cruise and Small Ship Cruises

I highly recommend river cruises and small ships. They are especially a good fit for a first time solo traveler. However, they are also great for well-traveled solos in two cases. That is where destinations like Cambodian boat villages are not otherwise easy to reach. Secondly, they work well in places where security is an issue.

Here are the key advantages of such river and small ships for solo travelers, they:

  • Give you time alone but a group for tours and meals
  • Can be competitively priced when compared to a piecemeal approach
  • Make unpacking a one-time chore
  • Work well with land packages
  • Often have discounted package pricing including flights

2. Select your own lodging, and take day trips.

Here are the key advantages of this independent approach:

  • Affords you the opportunity to select your own interests and travel style.
  • Provides more opportunity to interact with local residents.
  • Gives you a “day-off” when you need it.
  • Works with a range of budgets.

3. Combine both of the above approaches.

I really favor this approach when I travel. On solo travel for 17 days at New Year’s, I toured Southeast Asia. I started with a private taxi tour in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I then joined a top Mekong River Cruise on to Vietnam. On the last leg, I had five days in a 5-star hotel in Bangkok. In my last stop, I tried all 3 ways of sightseeing: 1. A large bus tour 2. A private guide and 3. Self-directed subway tour.

This blended approach puts you in the driver’s seat and:

  • Will let you set your own course while being free to pick and choose
  • Gives you a part-time group of travel mates but also time alone
  • Makes it possible to follow a budget (or splurges) tailored to what works for you

4. Sign up ahead for a class abroad.

This has become very popular now for cooking classes in France and Italy. However, for decades, language classes abroad have lured students for short-term or full summer programs. Add to that options for photography classes, skiing and scuba diving.

Here are the key benefits to this approach:

  • Provides you with a ready-made group
  • Gives you a local contact to hear what not to miss off the tourist path
  • Make it possible to connect with classmates for meals or sightseeing
  • Results in providing local contacts in an emergency

5. Join a volunteer group or exchange program.

I have done this twice. My first trip out of the US was at 18 joining 5 other girls on a summer YMCA project in Trinidad and Tobago. It was the best way to learn about day-to-day life in another country and participate in community activities.

The benefits were endless. They included:

  • Meeting local residents outside of the typical tourist path
  • Seeing distant and often more unusual destinations
  • Providing volunteer efforts to communities than may have experienced natural disasters or other hardships.

If you are new to solo travel, take a look at each of these options. You will be surprised how fast solo travel gives you the chance to make new life-long friends from around the world so that you feel you are solo to more.

Travel to Costa Rica: Hotel Reviews

The Best Western, Costa Rica
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

It was only 15 minutes away from the airport and right in the middle of the city. I felt as though it was a nice transition from being in the U.S. to being in a different country since it is a big, international hotel chain. Everyone we spoke with spoke perfect English but they were also locals so they were open to sharing any advice you might need. The rooms were pretty average and clean with a great view of the courtyard and pool area at the center of the hotel. We swam in the pool during the day (very clean and well kept) and the hot tub was located to the side, a little more private, with an ‘infinity pool’ kind of feel. Overall, it was a simple hotel that offered just enough for us.

Lomas del Volcan, San Carlos
Rating: 4/5 Stars

To this day, it has been one of the most unique and memorable places I have ever stayed. It might seem sketchy when you have to go off the main road and drive up this dirt trail on an incline for a bit, but then you reach a normal road and it takes you right to the main hotel site to check in. The staff was attentive and welcoming. It was a simple dining center, both indoor and outdoor with a terrific buffet. From there, we had to keep going up the incline and walked with our luggage to our own huts. (unfortunate downside: no one carting you around the resort) Towels shaped into flamingos were propped up on each bed accompanied by rose pedals. The bathroom was very large and open which was nice when sharing with others. We had a little front porch and a back porch opening up to all the beautiful surrounding nature. When we would head out in the mornings there would be monkeys swinging around the trees, right outside our hut!! It is also very close to all the near by activities, right off the Arenal Volcano!

Condovac la Costa, Playa Hermosa
Rating: 4/5 Stars

We stayed at this large resort right off the sandy beaches. There is constant uphill and downhill traveling so you’re in for a good work out but luckily there were golf carts roaming around to help guests get around. The welcome desk was very pleasant, with tons of people around to assist you. The rooms were okay, not completely 4 star worthy, but it was everything else that made me give it this rating. They had a tennis court, game room, pool area, karaoke, infinity pool, zumba lessons, salsa lessons, a great restaurant, gift shop and most importantly: their private beach entrance which only lead you to do more! We barely even stayed in the hotel room the amenities kept us so busy. We had no problems with anything here! Highly recommend.

Finding a Hotel Tonight Is Easier Than You Think

Finding a hotel tonight, or any night for that matter, is much easier than you think. In fact, the travel industries are such that the consumer is no longer working on the whim of an outside agent working in semi-secrecy. Consumer protection progress in the industry, as well as streamlined planning tools, have made it so that anyone can jump online & find what they need.

In this case, we’re focusing on the ease with which someone can plan a stay at a hotel as soon as tonight. Perhaps the single greatest reason that planning a quick hotel stay has become so simple is the advent of the World Wide Web – the Internet. The Internet has allowed us to have a wealth of information at our fingertips for a few decades now, and with that knowledge comes some serious power. For example, there was once a time when knowing what hotels were nearby was the only real way you could choose a hotel. You subsequently had to look them up in the phone book (barring you didn’t make a mistake in their name), and you really had to hope that there was something available at the very last-minute. The number of variables was through the roof, and in many ways, consumers were operating at the discretion of the hotels.

This would be enough to convince even a hardened traveler to cry, “Uncle”, but the real struggle to book a room came when you had to travel out-of-town. Imagine being on a road you’re following on a physical map, and inevitably you’d end up somewhere whose geography you didn’t know, and you certainly didn’t know of any hotels, motels, or motorways you could bank on for a last-minute room. Today, however, you can know your way around town by way of your phone’s Internet access.

Perhaps the other most significant reason for being able to book a hotel room with ease comes by way of competition in the industry. There was once a time when you had a limited amount of choices for hotel stays. Regardless of whether you were traveling & moving about due to vacation or work, you were in a position where your lodging money went one of only a couple of places. Nowadays, you’re able to do quick online searches as to the quality (star rating) of you proposed lodging, amenities, as well as proximity to & involvement with your destination. Moreover, there are a number of hotels vying for your business, which means they are willing to work with prospective customers on pricing & flexible booking simply because they want your booking in a major way. With so much choice & with an added boost in saving on your booking, you as the consumer are the big winner.

When it comes to finding a hotel room tonight, you should set your mind at ease. A little common sense, some quick wit with online searches, and a comfort in knowing that you as the customer have some serious booking power should be your guides to hotel booking nirvana.

How to Choose From the Best Hotels in Dubai Within Budget

Time has changed a lot especially for Dubai which has transformed itself into the most sought after commercial destination in the world. Once a lonely desert, this gulf region has become a heaven for commercial people and all leading brands. A large number of people come to Dubai to give wings to their dreams. And this city never disappoints them with its magnificent charm that is truly distinctive in its own sense.

For visitors, staying at a good hotel is not big deal but they need to do a bit of research to get the best offers on the budget hotels in Dubai. From budget hotels, to 5-star & 7-star hotels, Dubai boasts of an extensive range of options that meet the specific accommodation needs of people coming to the region. Whether for business purpose or entertainment, these hotels offer superb amenities to travelers at economical rates.

Being one of the seven United Arab Emirates, Dubai enjoys comfortable location that makes it a great place for trading purpose. With its ever-developing trade scenario, it has become a center of trading, drawing tourists from all across the world. Dubai is recently in news for its hi-tech architecture of high-end construction projects and sports. A major part of its foreign cash flow emerges through tourism. With around 70 shopping malls and Dubai Mall, one of the biggest in the world, it is widely regard as the 8th most visited place in the world.

Among various big cities in the world, Dubai has some of the most magnificent hotels, resorts and apartments for rent. Most of the best hotels in Dubai are rated high on global hotel standards. Some of the best & luxurious accommodation options are Al Bustan Centre Residence, Al Bustan Rotana, Al Maha Desert Resort and others.

Anyone who is coming to Dubai and wants comfy and affordable accommodation, it is strongly suggested to do a thorough research on all leading budget hotels in Dubai that provide world-class hospitality experiences in a budgetary way. The deeper your research is the better outcome you can expect to get.

It is not just the city which offers an unforgettable experience to visitors, the hotels there also provide the similar level of experience to travelers. So, next time you think of visiting Dubai, make sure you get the most out of your time, efforts and investment. This way you can choose to enjoy a pleasant and remarkable accommodation experience.

The Beginners Guide To Finding A Luxury Condominium For Your Next Vacation

Perusing and choosing from a variety of luxury condominiums can be overwhelming, particularly if you are next to the scene. Condos can be a particularly tricky type of accommodation, but they can be some of the most rewarding choices if you know what to look for. Fortunately, there are some standard guidelines to follow and things to watch for when choosing a hotel. Take a look at some of the following tips to help you make the most of your accommodation choice:

1. Be mindful of your price range.

This is an important tip! Make yourself a budget for your travels and then stick to it. If you must go over, then be sure you have a concrete reason for exceeding your initial estimate. The beauty of condominium-style hotels is that you have a range of options with different prices. With luxury condominiums, you should be able to specifically see the amenities for which you are spending your budget. Searching online for special deals and promotions and traveling during the off-season are all good tips to help save you some money. Join a mailing (or emailing) list for even more specials and promos.

2. Determine which amenities are important to you.

Different people will have different expectations of their hotel choice. If you are traveling with your family, you will probably be interested in a different set of amenities than if you were traveling by yourself or with adults only. Ask about swimming pools, hot tubs and saunas. Some people really enjoy having large, community spaces for everyone to lounge in after the day’s activities. Campfires and grills are also things to consider if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors. The sky is the limit when you are discussing luxury condominiums, so make sure you keep your options open and your expectations defined.

3. Ask for a variety of room options.

For some hotel-style condos, you can expect privately owned rooms within a hotel setting. This means that a large condo building is generally under group management, but each unit is individually owned. Look for photos online to peruse your options. Checking out online reviews is also an excellent method for checking on the status of a particular condo. Keep this in mind when you are attempting to book with a company. Also, consider what would be best for your travel group. If you are going with just one person, you may want something completely different than if you were hosting children or extended family members.

4. Think about the activities in which you want to participate.

The activities in which you will participate while on vacation should influence your choice in luxury condominiums. If you are booking a ski trip, then check the access to ski lifts, ski lessons, and ski-lodge type of accommodations. If you will be in the mountains, then inquire after relaxing spa options. Adjust your sleeping accommodations to your vacation choices in order to maximize your vacation experience. Call ahead of time to see how the hotel management can accommodate you.