An excellent way to save money on vacation is to get a bunch of friends and rent a vacation home together. The idea of renting a home in Europe –Greece included- for a week or more is catching on. Self catering will save you money especially if you eat some meals in –yes, that means you have to do the shopping and cooking! But it also allows you to explore the area where you stay to its full potential because you are not stuck in a hotel. You can experience the local culture when going to the open air market and you can play your trips exactly the way you like it.
What to Rent?
Good question, isn’t it? When you are new to vacation renting you might not know what to rent. Many offers come from direct owners who restored traditional old houses and now they are rented to tourists. Some are beach villas or apartments.
Villas, vacation home and apartments are much cheaper to rent on the islands, rather than in the capital. Although during peak tourist season –June to September- even a 1 bedroom villa in the middle of a resort can cost up to $600/week. However, if you spend some time searching you can find affordable villas and with some planning done, traveling to the major hot spots on the islands is not a problem. A villa able to sleep up to 9 persons and which costs $200 per night during peak season can be a perfect choice for a small group of people.
If you prefer to rent in Athens, look for homes located near the airport or far from the center of the town. The public transportation system is well organized and allows you to plan your day easily.
Pay attention to the terms which describe the kitchen. You can find anything from fully equipped kitchens to “corner kitchens”, which represent a small area in the room with a microwave and some burners. For someone who is used to frozen dinners or eats out, that’s just perfect, but if you need to cook for more than two persons you might want a fully equipped kitchen.
Most houses include the towels and the sheets so you shouldn’t have to bring your own. However, do ask in advance. Few houses offer internet connection and international phones but don’t count on that. Better use your roaming facilities. And if you have to use your laptop on line look for the wireless hotspots in cafes or open spaces.
You can rent over the web either directly from an owner or via an agency. Most, if not all, Greek owners will require you to provide a deposit of about 10% of the total value. It can be quite expensive because making a bank deposit overseas costs a lot, considering both the commissions to be paid and the exchange rate.
A lot of websites offer easy ways to pay the deposit by using your credit card. Dealing with a renting company means that you have to pay a premium but generally that ends up to be less expensive than dealing directly with the owners.