A Temporary Paris Coup

by : Rita Borges

It's know fact that Europeans have been avid vacation apartment dwellers for decades. This craze is now hitting American eventhough it's very common to rent a summer home in the Hamptons and Cape Cod. The difference is that these homes are usually rented for the summer not for a week.

Traditionally when most Americans travel abroad especially to Paris, a hotel is the first thing that comes to mind. There are fabulous hotels in Paris but most standard rooms are under 150 sq ft. And with the declining dollar, breakfast in Paris can be as high as $10.00.

The solution is renting your own vacation apartment. Some vacation owners allow you to rent their Paris vacation apartment rentals for less htan 7 nights, with a three night minimum. The first thing that a savvy vacation apartment prospect does is to review the website carefully. If the website looks homespun, go with your intuition. It's pretty obvious that if they don't have the energy to make a presentable site, how can you expect the apartments to be any better.

I know many foreigners will hate me for saying this but book American. It's almost impossible to have any legal recourse or the type of customer service that you are use to when you buy foreign. There are loads of US based agencies and it's best to pay the extra dollars to bee on the same time zone and clearly understand the English that is being spoken to you.

Only do business with a company that accepts credit cards. Usually security deposits are not done on credit since the funds will have to be returned to you. But your credit card company acts as a security blanket, they will side with you if things go wrong. Make sure you keep all of your email correspondence and review your contract very carefully.

It's shocking to me how many prospective guests book vacation apartments without ever speaking to someone. Do yourself a favor and chat with your agency. Don't assume anything, take out the time to call them even if you decide to use a foreign based agency.

Find out if your agent has seen the apartment and most importantly when they last visited the apartment.
If the agent is viewing the apartments via the online photos as you, than you might want to continue your search until you find an agent who has seen the apartment and can give you details. There are no perfect apartments so be wary if your agent is only saying positive things. Always try to get your expectation in line, unfortunately many agents operate on commission and are short-sighted looking for the immediate booking and not the longterm referral relationship.

Finally book early, I know it seems absurb to ask someone to book for New Year's in February but this will guarantee you availability for the apartments that you desire. It's a naive vacationer that contacts the agency or apartment owner, one month before the anticipated arrival date especially in tourist heavy cities such as Paris, London and Rome.