Words by Anna Tobin, European Correspondent, Ciao Bambino, as part of our #housetripping series.
The prospect of unearthing the perfect family holiday rental might seem as daunting as finding a treasured sticker in a ball pool, but with a comprehensive check-list to tick off and a targeted list of leading questions at the ready it should be relatively simple. Oh and fun too, it’s always good to have a virtual nose around someone else’s home. Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing the perfect holiday rental for your next getaway:
Firstly, children happen to grow and prosper all over the world, so it’s nonsense when someone says to you, ‘it’s not really a place to visit with kids.’
Image by chericbaker.
I’ve just come back from a wonderful weekend in Marrakech with my husband and two children aged five and eight. Quite a few people thought we were mad to be taking two little ones with us, ‘it’s more of a place for romance,’ they smirked. Which is really an insult to the city.
It happens to be a fantastic place for children. There is no way that snakes being charmed, monkeys doing tricks, camel rides and wild tortoises – all of which you are never very far from in this city – won’t delight anyone who has left their first decade more than someone still in it.
Marrakech also lets children experience a very different culture. They will be dazzled by the colours, the exotic scents and the hustle and bustle of the souks and discover as they wander around the narrow streets that donkeys pulling carts are still the most efficient mode of parcel delivery in this part of the world.
Image by ale donat.
You have to know where to stay of course and if visiting Marrakech with young children, I’d always recommend that you stay in the more European style new city, outside of the Medina, the old city, rather than within it.
This property on a ‘Spanish style’ villa resort complex, a paper-aeroplane ride away from the Medina walls, is ideal http://www.housetrip.com/en/rentals/15272. The apartment is arranged over three floors with a roof terrace complete with BBQ, in the style of a typical Moroccan riad, and there is a pool in the grounds. For those with crawling babies a low-lying villa in the Beverley Hills of Marrakech, Le Palmeraie will be more suitable. And, if you’re with more adventurous teens then this luxury riad in the heart of the Medina will be a treat http://www.housetrip.com/en/rentals/60866.
Luxury riad. By uliengel.
Location is key when holiday property hunting. If you know of someone from the region you are planning to visit, sound them out on which area would be best for families. And don’t be afraid to grill the host of any property you are interested in too. You want somewhere within walking distance of a few restaurants and local shops so that you don’t have to rely on four wheels to get everywhere. If you’re planning on site-seeing good public transport links are a must, whilst, if the idea is just to relax, a beach and a pool are probably all you need. And with regard to that pool check the depth, how regularly it’s cleaned, and if the temperature falls below 25 degrees C at night it should really be heated or it will be admired rather than used.
When it comes to the property itself, the more stuff it has for kids, particularly if you are travelling with a baby, the better as it means you have to pack less. But, babies and toddlers don’t need that much. You can bathe a baby in a sink if there is no baby bath and you can take a few sterilising tablets with if there is no steriliser and a towel can turn the top of a chest of drawers into a changing mat. It’s nice to have a washing machine though and I always look for a bath, as little kids don’t like showers. Remember if it doesn’t specify any of this on the facility list, ask if they are available. HouseTrip makes it easy for you to find the amenities you need. Simply use the tick-boxes at the side of the webpage after you do your initial date and location search to drill down to properties that offer required extras.
Image by ale donat.
Once you have found your ideal pad it is best to do a full check of the property with the owner present within 24 hours of your arrival. HouseTrip holds on to funds until 48 hours into your stay – so if you have any issues, make sure to take advantage of the 24-hour window after check in and report discrepancies to the customer care team either by calling them or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, a change in paint colour or a sofa with a print you don’t like shouldn’t be cause for complaint. You should limit calls or emails only to when there are serious problems, such as a faulty bathroom, missing bedroom or other issue that would affect the quality and enjoyment of your stay. HouseTrip boasts that less than 1% of bookings results in a complaint, so this shouldn’t be an issue – but it’s good to know you have backup when you need it.
Finally if you did end up discovering a real gem, don’t keep it to yourselves. Find the time to give it an honest review to help the next potential residents in their quest for the ultimate holiday rental. Holiday rental owners are individuals – not bland corporations. A good review will help them get more bookings into their homes and assist them in making a bit of income. I know they appreciate it – just as I would if I were in their shoes.
Image by presta.
Featured image by Kalid Albaih.