I always encourage slow travel when it comes to Italy. Staying in one place longer is more sustainable, allows for a more immersive experience, and alleviates many travel burdens like over-packing. With longer stays in one place comes the subject of renting your accommodation versus staying in a hotel.
If you chose the rental option, here are some best practices for renting a villa, farmhouse, apartment, etc. in Italy:
Research the Location
Before booking a villa, research the area to make sure it's a good fit for your needs. Consider factors such as proximity to attractions, restaurants, and public transportation. If you can mark, it on a map and see how close it actually is to a city center or public transportation. Don't just take their word for it. My mother's friend thought she was within walking distance to the closest town when she booked her villa on her own, but once they got there they had to rent not one but two vans to accommodate transferring their large party wherever they went. That was a pretty pricey mistake.
Go with Recommendations
Ask for recommendations from locals, community boards, and friends who may have rented a place before you.
Enlist a Travel Agent
Enlist a travel agent to consult with before, during, and after the booking process. You can use your travel advisor to professionally “vet” properties on your behalf. Some agents do not include this in their services, but I do.
Look for reviews from previous guests to get an idea of the property's condition, cleanliness, and overall satisfaction. This will help you avoid unpleasant surprises upon arrival. But, do not solely judge a rental on its reviews.
Know Your Budget
Set a budget for your rental and stick to it. Keep in mind that high season rates can be significantly higher than low season rates. Check the going rates by searching comparable accommodations and their rates in that area on a monthly bases (if time allows).
Rental units like hotels in Italy can book up quickly, especially during peak season. To ensure availability and the best rates, book your rental as early as possible.
Use a Reputable Rental Agency
Use a reputable third-party rental agency that has experience with villa rentals in Italy. This will help ensure that the rental process goes smoothly and that you have a point of contact should any issues arise. Most are now high-end luxury villa rentals and/or their services come at a price. You have to weigh if that price is worth the peace of mind you get that everything is guaranteed.
Understand the Rental Agreement
Carefully read and understand the rental agreement before signing. Pay attention to details such as cancellation policies, security deposit requirements, and any additional fees. If you don’t understand the terms or you are uncertain about any aspect of the rental, ask for an explanation in writing as this way you have a record of it in case you need it later.
Consider Purchasing Travel Insurance
Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment in case of unexpected events. Check with your travel advisor or the insurance policy to make sure property rentals are included and/or they have an add-on for rentals.
Pack appropriately for your trip, including any necessary travel documents, adapters, and clothing for the season. We used to bring individual laundry detergent packs so we didn't have to shop for more than we needed when we got to our destination.
By following these best practices, you can have a wonderful and stress-free rental experience in Italy.
Have you rented in Italy before? Do you have any tips to share? Post in the comments section below.