Frequently Asked Questions
1. Have we seen these properties? Yes! Our apartments, cottages, villas, manor houses and castles are all personally inspected properties for short or long-term rental. We never accept properties that we cannot inspect on our trips to Europe and that our European colleagues cannot inspect on a regular basis. In addition to personal inspections, we speak with all of our guests upon their return and take note of comments and suggestions for improving our quality and service. A number of our regular clients are eager to stay in properties that are new to us (but not to our European colleagues) and bring back the first reports! Sometimes, we add these properties to the website and will advise you of our clients' esperiences.
2. What's included in a rental property? Every property, from a studio for 1-2 people, to a fully staffed luxury villa or castle, includes a fully equipped kitchen with china, cutlery and pans and at least one private bathroom, a living/dining area and bed(s) as described in the individual listing. Bed linens, towels, TV, telephone, utilities such as heat, water and electricity are usually includedin the rental price; we advise you if there will be an additional charge. Additional amenities such as dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, cable service, VCR/video/DVD player, air-conditioning, domestic help, swimming pool, are all listed in the property's description.
3. What's included in the price of a rental property? The property as described, taxes, bed linens, towels, local line telephone, and utilities such as heat, water and electricity unless otherwise advised in the description and/or at the time of booking. Local line telephones in London and Dublin are metered at a few cents per unit for a local call. Some owners charge for utilities; these are usually small charges as European appliances and heating systems are energy efficient. Some countryside owners charge for linens and towels. Some houses include domestic help. You will be advised for each booking; there are no hidden costs!
4. Is there a security deposit? Yes, there is a security or damage deposit at all rentals. This deposit may be paid by check or sometimes by credit card, either to Vacation Homes Abroad, one of our European colleagues or directly to the owner. You will be advised of the security deposit requirements for your rental when you book.
5. How will I find the property? You will be mailed/emailed/handed an information packet with complete directions to the property three weeks before your travel date. This information packet will include all the information you'll need: the address, telephone number, driving or public transportation directions, owner's or property manager's telephone number and our European colleagues' telephone number. Usually, the owner or property manager meets you to show you around, answer any questions, and give you the keys. This person is also available should you require assistance or advice during your stay.
6. What if I have problems? Please call the owner or property manager immediately if you experience any problems or require any assistance. We want you to enjoy your stay! In the unlikely event that you cannot reach the owner or property manager, please call our European colleague. You may also call us in the USA at 978.462.0368. You will have all of these telephone numbers, in your information packet.
7. When can I arrive at the rental? Generally, 2 p.m. for city apartments and 4 p.m. for country properties. Especially when there are outgoing guests in the morning, the cleaners, owners and property managers require adequate time to carefully clean, make the beds and do everything possible to ensure that you will have a comfortable stay. However, we make every effort to accommodate earlier arrivals and this is often possible in city apartments. Luggage can be often be left in city apartments after 10:30 a.m.
8. Why is payment in full required before arrival? Properties are individually owned; if an owner has committed a cottage or apartment to you, then he or she must turn down all other requests for your dates. This is a completely different situation from a hotel that can sustain a cancellation or two per night and still bring in revenue.
9. What happens if I have to cancel? Rental payments are non-refundable; owners do not refund in the event of cancellation. However, Vacation Homes Abroad will make every effort to rent some or all of your dates to another party. If this happens, you will get a refund. Vacation Homes Abroad is one of the few companies who take this extra step for you! We also recommend that you purchase trip cancellation/interruption insurance.
10. What are the benefits of trip cancellation/interruption insurance? This insurance will refund your non-refundable trip costs if you have to cancel because of illness or one of the other covered reasons.
11. What additional services can you provide? Among the services we are pleased to arrange for you are car rentals, hotel and train reservations, transfers to and from your city apartment, and guided day trips. We also offer a complete itinerary service for truly memorable trips to Ireland, Italy and the South of France.
12. How long do we have to stay? This depends upon the property and the time of year. Minimum stay requirements are from 2-7 nights, depending on the property, and are stated in the individual listings. One property in Florence will accept a reservation for 2 nights, several properties in Rome, Paris and London will accept reservation for 3 nights, many Paris apartments and Dublin apartments will accept 4 or 5 nights whereas country properties and private London apartments/flats, require 7 nights. From mid-October until April 1, many country properties will accept shorter stays of 3 or 4 nights. (Please ALWAYS ASK us! Sometimes there is a gap in reservations and the owner accepts a shorter stay.)