A Guide to Vacation Rentals

The term “vacation rental,” which is more common in the U.S., refers to the process of temporarily renting out either houses or furnished apartments to tourists. The practice was formerly prevalent in Canada and Europe where it was popularly known as “villa holiday” or “villa rental.”

Types of Accommodation

Since vacation rentals are usually found in privately-owned holiday homes, they include many types of accommodation, such as:

• Cottage
• Townhome
• Apartment
• Condominium
• Villa

The common denominator in all types of accommodation is the fact that they are all fully furnished. Farm stay may involve a conventional rental that is co-located on a farm. Alternatively, the term may involve taking part on a working farm.

The types of accommodation range widely, from economy-class studio apartments to some of the most luxury villas where visitors pay thousands of dollars a night. Such private villas usually have more amenities than you would find in a conventional hotel, including boats, private beaches and even cooking lessons. They are fully staffed, complete with chefs.


Apartments and condominiums provide many services offered in hotels such as front desk check-in, in-house housekeeping and 24-hour maintenance.

Vacation Rentals Locations

Renting of holiday homes is popular in Europe, particularly in France, Spain, Turkey and Greece. The trend is also fast catching on in the U.S. where it is already practiced in most states. It is more common in major tourist destinations like Hawaii, California and Florida. The rentals are also available in different coastal areas where beaches are found, which is why they are commonly known as beach houses in these places.

The villa holidays are more prevalent in Europe, and it is the Europeans who are popularizing it in Florida.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Holiday Homes

These types of rentals offer several advantages over conventional hotels. While hostels and hotels are purpose-built for tourists and other visitors, they do not provide full stand-alone apartments or homes. The rentals provide:

• More privacy
• Ability to cook what you want how you like it
• Extra space
• Comforts of home

vacation_rentals_apartmentThe main concern that visitors interested in taking a vacation rental have is what is known as SNAD. This is an acronym for “significantly not as described.” This means advertisements provide glossy pictures of homes that resemble paradises while the actual homes have different problems. They may have blocked views or leaky roofs that quickly drain the joy of a vacation.

Different regulations have been imposed on the rentals in many cities, towns and counties following complaints from competing lodging businesses or local residents. For example, there are restrictions on short-term rentals in Chicago and New York among other places.

Companies Providing Vacation Rental Services

Many companies provide holiday villas. Based in Mexico, Acapulco Vacation Villas is one of the largest companies with more than a thousand villa rentals in many beach destinations in different parts of the world. The company was established in 1975.

Others include:

• Vacation Rentals By Owner
• VacationRentals
• CyberRentals
• HomeAway
• AlwaysOnVacation
• Zonder
• Vacation-Renter
• Rentalo
• FlipKey

How to Book a Vacation Rental

Visitors can make their bookings either via an agency or in direct contact with the owners. Many people advertise their homes on their own websites.

Villa rental agencies handle booking and billing on behalf of interested homeowners. The fees required on these homes tend to be higher because the agencies charge commissions.

Since reservations are made months in advance, it is a good idea to read customers reviews before making contact and signing rental agreements.