Checklist for happy holiday renting

If you’re thinking of renting a holiday home this summer, there are certain essentials you should check out to ensure that you get value for money and a carefree break.
The first thing to consider, says Harcourts Africa CEO Richard Gray, is of course location, as that depends largely on what you plan to do on holiday. “Many people away from home enjoy taking part in activities they can’t do or don’t have time for during the rest of the year – from golfing and playing tennis to skiing and skydiving, deep-sea fishing and snorkelling – so it makes sense to ask your rental agent to find you a holiday home as close as possible to your preferred ‘playground’.  
“Similarly, while many holidaymakers like to be within walking distance of shops and restaurants, they don’t want their sleep disturbed. So if you’re renting a unit in a holiday resort, you should make sure it is not too close to the communal clubhouse, pool or beach-bar.
“On the other hand, many people just want lots of peace and quiet on holiday and will seek to rent units that offer tranquility and perhaps some lovely views. However, if this is your sort of place, you do need to make sure that it is not too isolated and that it is safe and secure.”
Secondly, if you are taking your family on holiday, you must be sure to rent in a “kid-friendly” resort or area, with plenty to keep youngsters safely occupied even on rainy days. Depending on the age of your children, features you should look for include a playground, mini-golf, tennis courts, a pool with lifeguard, pool tables, a mall with movie theatres nearby and in the unit itself, a good-size TV and a DVD player.
The third thing to think about is where you will eat while on holiday. “It’s great to eat out some of the time, but most families would find dining in restaurants every day too expensive, and you can only eat so many take-aways,” says Gray. “So check with the rental agent whether the unit you want has good quality kitchen appliances and equipment (not just a microwave, toaster and kettle), and that there is a dining table and chairs.”
And finally, he says, if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to be out of touch for even a few days and feels lost without electronics, make sure your rental unit has good cell phone reception and if possible a high-speed Internet connection. “It’s not going to be much of a holiday for you or your family if you’re stuck in the local Internet café all day.”
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