Perfect for families, friends and lovers, a villa vacation is a unique and wonderful experience that will give you an intimate view of an island of your choice. After all it is hard to beat a holiday spent in a luxury villa, tucked away in a picturesque tropical setting, while having your every need attended to by the villa's staff. If you are like so many modern travelers and prefer to plan and book your Vacation with the help of the internet, here are a few tips to GET you started:
BEFORE YOU GO ON-LINE
1. Plan Early: Set your dates and book your villa as soon as possible. You should try to reserve 6-8 months in advance, especially if you are planning for a winter season (December 15-April 15) is also called the "high season" as prices are higher and it is when most tourist flock to the Caribbean's sunny islands in search of refuge from the cool northern climes. If you plan your vacation in advance it will ensure that you have a wide range of villas and prices from which to choose.
2. Settle on a budget: Villa prices range depending on the standard and size of the house as well as your length of stay. Prices are generally quoted per day or per week. However, keep in mind most villas have a minimum stay of at least four days and sometimes as much as a week. Generally over the Christmas period prices are higher and the minimum stay is longer than a one week.
When planning your budget, you should know that a 25-50% deposit is usually required to hold your reservation, and the full payment must be made 45-60 days before your arrival date. Credit cards, money orders, bank wire transfers are the widely accepted forms of payment.
In addition to the cost of renting the villa you should also factor in extra expenses such as taxes, food and tipping. A villa rental is subject to the tax system of the country in which it is located. So depending on the island, there may a tax of about 7-8% added to the cost of the villa.
Most villas offer several meal options: you may shop for and plan meals for yourself, the staff may buy items you request, or you may ask for an all-inclusive set menu.
Depending on your personal preferences, plan to spend between $30 and $120 per person per day on food alone. Tipping, of course is up to your discretion, but it is suggested to tip the staff about 10% of the rental price.
Finally as with any vacation, you should also plan to spend money on activities and incidentals.
3. Agree on the size of your group: The number of people in your group will dictate the size of the house you need. Almost every villa has a quota for the amount of guests allowed. Generally, the maximum occupancy of a villa is determined by allowing two people per room.
For example a two bedroom villa would have a max occupancy of four guests. however, some villas are more flexible with this rule and in these cases the occupancy is established by the number of beds available in the house. Also in the case of children the max occupancy is often overlooked.
4. Think about your ideal location: Ask yourself these important questions - would you like your villa to be on the water, in the mountains, near a resort town, or in a remote area? Once you have decided on those general locale questions, ask yourself the bigger question of which Caribbean island you would like to visit. Each island has its own flavour, look and feel. so it is up to you to do some research into the different islands and decide which one appeals to you.
if during surfing the web you have ever wondered about the safety or reliability of a site, here are a few signs that will help you tell that a site is trustworthy:
1. It has a mailing address and telephone number, usually listed under the "Contact/About Us" sections.
2. It has logos of well-known industry partners or an official government endorsement. Some key logos you may see on villa rental site include ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), CTO (Caribbean Tourist Organization), Caribbean Villa Owners Association, VRMA (Vacation Rental Managers Association). Look out also for brand name partners that you recognize such as American Express, Expedia and etc.
3. It lists press releases or customer testimonials, which may provide useful insights about the company/villa vacation.
4. It has an up-to-date copyright, which usually means the content on the site is current.
5. If paying online, make sure the website has Secure Socket layer technology, usually indicated by a padlock icon at the bottom of your payment screen. This technology scrambles your credit card details, address and etc.
READY TO BOOK AND PAY
When making online reservations it is good to get into the habit of:
1. Comparing the online prices to those offered by a travel agent.
2.Printing a copy of your reservation details.
3.Call the number listed on the site, should you experience any problems.