Imagine visiting Barbados and staying in a holiday rental with two – let’s make that three – bedrooms, two large bathrooms, a complete kitchen, and a spacious living room with a fabulous flat-screen TV. Not that you’d spend a lot of time looking at TV when you also have a balcony where you dine al fresco and enjoy views of the Caribbean Sea.
If you think this is a fancy villa for the rich and famous, think again. It’s an apartment or home you’ve rented direct from the owner. At a price that rivals a good hotel.
If you are not a believer in the old advertisement, “the best surprise is no surprise,” then look outside the box of a hotel room for your next vacation accommodation.
How do you find such places? It’s easy!
1. Go to your favorite search engine and type in “Barbados vacation rentals by owner.”
2. Click on sites that look interesting. Most offer accommodations at all price points all over the world, and many in the paradise that is Barbados.
3. Narrow your search by number of bedrooms, type of accommodation (apartment, villa, etc.), price, or area of the island you wish to stay.
4. Read the descriptions of the different possibilities and look at the photos and prices. Be sure to check out reviews from previous guests. You might also visit TripAdvisor (http://TripAdvisor.com) to see if anyone’s commented on this accommodation. Guest reviews are your best guide to knowing if the place is as described.
5. Check the availability calendar; if you fall in love with a particular place, you might inquire even if it appears to be booked; you never know when there might be a cancellation.
6. Write the owner. These sites make it very easy to make contact by e-mail and/or phone. It’s okay to inquire whether he or she will consider a discount for a stay longer than a week or for a booking during low season in a slow economy. Many owners will work with you on price; after all, they want to keep their place rented. Owners will also help with recommendations on activities, restaurants, where you can find a grocery store, whether you’ll need a rental car, and so on.
7. Payment is usually due before your arrival and you can almost always pay using a credit card. The downside of this is that you haven’t even seen the place before you’re asked to pay. The upside is that you have no surprises about your bill, surely one of the best surprises not to have on a fabulous Barbados holiday.
Once you’ve stayed in the comfort of a private apartment or villa where you’ve been able to cook if you want, spread out, and enjoy the peace of the stunning aqua Caribbean Sea, you’ll wonder how you took a vacation any other way.