Insta Q&A: It Takes a Villa in Tuscany
Hi folks, and welcome to Insta Q&A, the midweek edition of the Post's Travel Q&A column. This is where we'll continue our Q&A dialogue, and where you get a crack at being the expert. That's right. If you think you've got the answer to your fellow travelers' questions, we want you to jump in.
Here's how it works. If you have a travel question, send it in to email@example.com, as usual. We'll continue to answer as many of your questions as we can in the weekly column, which runs online and in the print edition. But each Wednesday, starting today, we'll publish an additional question right here. I'll take a whack at it, and then, if you know something about the subject, feel free to chime in yourself -- just hit the "Comments" button at the end of the entry.
Got all that? Okay, so this week's question is from B. Potter of Raleigh. B. writes:
"We are planning to rent a Tuscany villa for five adults and three children next fall. Could you advise us on the most economical and safe way to organize the trip? I have seen villas advertised on the Internet but am worried about deposits, authenticity of pictures and information."
There a few things you can do to minimize potential problems, B. Here are a few pointers:
* As a rule, rent from an established company, not an individual. Insist on a contract. Ask the company how long it's been in business. Check it out with the Better Business Bureau, in this country, or run its name by the tourism office of the country you're visiting.
* Use only agencies that publish photos of their properties. Yes, photos can be misleading, but at least you'll have some idea what the place looks like.
* Ask for references from past customers, and check them. Don't rent from a company that refuses to put you in touch with its previous clients.
* When calculating the cost, remember it's not just about the rent. Ask about extra charges like agency fees, cleaning fees, electricity bills and security deposit.
Okay, now it's your turn. Who's rented a villa in Tuscany (or elsewhere in Europe) and has tips for B.? What did you learn the hard way? If certain towns or villages are better (or worse) than others, do tell.
-- K.C. Summers
By Christina Talcott |
November 12, 2008; 7:39 AM ET
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