title:Vacation Rentals: The Personal Option
Wherever you stay, traveling abroad can be a wondrous adventure. New sights, new sounds, new people, and perhaps even a new language add sparks to your vacation and provide you with experiences and memories that can last a lifetime.
Although many people choose to travel abroad with group tours or book hotels through a travel agency, others are increasingly choosing a more personal option: vacation rentals. Homeowners in places ranging from Europe to the Caribbean are offering either their primary or secondary residences as vacation rentals. Nestled within small towns or at the center of bustling metropolises, vacation rentals can provide a unique and more personal vacation experience.
When you book holiday homes in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, or the Caribbean, you spend your vacation surrounded by locals and immersed in the culture. Vacation rentals provide a refreshing contrast to more impersonal hotels, and give you more options for your holiday experience. With a vacation rental, you can buy your own groceries and cook at “home,” which will save money and give you greater flexibility. Vacation rentals can also serve as a “home base,” from which you can travel to outlying areas.
Vacation rentals also provide a broader range of options than more traditional accommodations. You can rent a house, a flat, a room, or even a castle or a barge! You can select from among vacation rentals with two bedrooms to more than nine bedrooms. You can also find accommodations with private pools or those that are wheelchair accessible.
Whether you choose holiday homes in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, or the Caribbean, it’s important to be prepared for traveling abroad. The U.S. Department of State offers these ten tips to U.S. citizens traveling abroad:
1. Make sure you have a signed, valid passport and visas, if required. Also, before you go, fill in the emergency information page of your passport.
2. Read the U.S. Department of State Consular Information Sheets (and Public Announcements or Travel Warnings, if applicable) for the countries you plan to visit.
3. Familiarize yourself with local laws and customs of the countries to which you are traveling. Remember, while in a foreign country, you are subject to its laws.
4. Make two copies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home with friends or relatives. Carry the other with you in a place separate from your passport.
5. Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home so that you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
6. Do not leave your luggage unattended in public areas. Do not accept packages from strangers.
7. Prior to your departure, you should register with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website. Registration will make your presence and whereabouts known in case it is necessary to contact you in an emergency.
8. To avoid being a target of crime, try not to wear conspicuous clothing and expensive jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money or unnecessary credit cards.
9. In order to avoid violating local laws, deal only with authorized agents when you exchange money or purchase art or antiques.
10. If you get into trouble, contact the nearest U.S. embassy.